Friday, March 23, 2018

Got the GDPR Jitters? 10 things you need to know as an artist / art society / art gallery

The law on data protection says what you should do when you collect, use, store or do anything else with people’s personal data. This law changes on 25 May 2018. Making data protection your business | ICO

The NEW & MANDATORY General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) takes effect on 25th May 2018. 

I was not surprised that my inbox yesterday contained an email from the Treasurer of an Art Society about GDPR - which I've provided edited highlights of below
Please forgive me disturbing you, I am the Treasurer of (an art society). We are a small society based in (a county). We are a mixture of Amateur and Professional Artists, and I have been getting the "jitters" regarding GDPR and our mailing list that we use to invite prospective clients to our Annual Exhibition in July.
In my opinion the Treasurer is quite right to be getting "jitters" if they have done nothing yet to make sure they are going to be compliant.  On the other hand, with good organisation, a calm approach and some sensible actions I think it's entirely possible they can be compliant in a pretty short space of time.

The main challenge is in educating people and maintaining that compliance over time - and NOT lapsing back into bad habits.

Frankly the GDPR thing is so enormous, that initial attempts to explain it while well-meaning have tended towards a "one size fits all" approach and forgotten to tailor it more specifically to sole traders as well as very large organisation (and everybody inbetween!)

Fortunately, progress has been made since my last post on this topic Is your art organisation or business ready for GDPR - the replacement of the Data Protection Act? and there's now some much better information and guidance around - including some specifically for the small trader and smaller organisation or charity.

Bottom line - Governments are getting VERY serious about the protection of breaches of regulations that protect people's personal data.
  • mistakes are no longer acceptable
  • unwillingness to change is NOT acceptable
  • regulations make change mandatory
  • financial penalties mean people are paying attention.
Many members of the public are demanding higher standards from organisations – large and small – that collect and use their personal information.

10 things you need to know about GDPR
- as an artist / art society / art gallery

Before you start reading, I want to emphasise that I still haven't got my head around all of the published information on GDPR - by a long way - so any information below is given without any liability to the reader.

You need to do your reading just as much as me!

ONE - just to get your attention....

Breaches of GDPR can lead to FINES of up to 4% of annual global turnover or €20 Million (whichever is greater).

Just think - that could be 4% of Facebook Income or 4% of Google Income - or 4% of your turnover - BEFORE expenses!  Which is why they are taking this seriously!

Now I've got your attention I can tell you that the Information Commissioner's Office in the UK have also said
Monetary penalties have been and will continue to be a last resort of our regulatory action – our primary aim is to support businesses to get things right and improve their practices where required.

TWO - this one concentrates the mind wonderfully!

There are just 62 days left until the new Regulation (that means NOT OPTIONAL) becomes operational.

THREE - why this applies to YOU

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) applies to applies to every person and every organisation processing personal data about anybody living in the EU.

That means for those in the art world, it's anybody who collects personal data about other individuals who live and/or work in the EU.

This includes:
  • ALL sole traders (i.e. artists who sell their work to people; art tutors who educate people), 
  • ALL Charities and not-for-profit organisations - such as Art Societies that have marketing email lists and membership lists
  • ALL Art Schools - which maintain personal information on their students
  • ALL Art Galleries - which maintain personal information about buyers and artists
Basically it means ANYBODY who records and processes personal data MUST comply with the regulation.

FOUR - Help is available for sole traders and micro businesses

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Review: The Final of Portrait Artist of the Year 2018

Last night was The Final of Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year 2018 - and this is a review of the programme and the decision.

The Final Portraits painted in 4 hours.
My guess as to who would win proved correct. The question up for discussion - in this post and any comments you might like to add - is whether or not the decision was justified.

What follows is my response to what we saw in the episode - in terms of
  • the painting of Emili Sande, 
  • the three portrait commissions - and finally
  • what happened in terms of the decision-making.
Before the start - the set-ups for
(left to right) Danny Howes, Samira Addo and Hetty Lawlor

The Final Portraits - at the National Portrait Gallery

I think the three finalists were incredibly fortunate in having Emili Sande as their subject. She's got a "good head" and was incredibly still for four hours.

I made notes while watching.
  • they all took photos as reference
  • both Danny and Samira gridded up - the latter for the first time. 
  • Hetty just stuck to her routine of starting with the eyes and getting those right and working out from there, measuring by eye as she went.
  • Danny used a grid because he upped his normal size and used the photo and the grid to get the drawing placed on the canvas - and then painted from life
  • Samira worried about using the grid as it seemed to throw out her timings. She looked quite tense and troubled by time.

In terms of who produced the best portrait - in Emili Sande's view it was Hetty.

I liked the portraits produced by both Hetty (best likeness) and Danny - some lovely painting of skin tones, which is clearly something he is very good at.

For me Samira seemed somewhat stressed having changed her normal way of working and while she definitely pulled it back towards the end, for me it wasn't one of her better paintings - although better than the one she produced for the semi-final where it was absolutely impossible to tell who the sitters actually were.

Hetty's drawing (in coloured pencils and acrylic) of Emili Sande

Danny Howes painting of Emili - the largest painting and 'head'

Samira's painting of Emili

The other artists

There were a dozen artists working from a video of Emili Sande in a nearby room - with the winner promised a pass to the next series. To be honest, I wasn't impressed by most of what I saw. It occurred to me that these might be the reserve painters who could fill in at the last minute at a Heat if somebody dropped out or got sick. I could be wrong....

The winner in the sideshow turned out to be a female Army helicopter pilot called Hannah Shergold who produced a large and very colourful painting using palette knives (and has an interesting website! Turns out she is a a fully qualified Lynx helicopter commander who has served all over the world including Canada, Kenya, Germany and Afghanistan.)

The Commissions

I wish they'd given more time to the Commissions. If the decision is supposed to be based on both why not give them equal time?

Monday, March 19, 2018

Video: Fred Cuming RA

I've just spent a blissful 10 minutes watching a video about one Fred Cuming of my favourite artists.

The video is called 'Fred Cuming RA: Portrait of an Artist' and was made in 2015 when he was 85.  It was shot in and around his home and studio between Rye and Hastings in East Sussex.

Screenshot from the video 'Fred Cuming RA: Portrait of an Artist'- on Camber Sands near where he lives
It's one of the more visually and orally articulate videos about an artist's work that I've seen in some time.

Almost poetic.

He's now in his late 80s and has been painting for over 60 years. He paints real landscapes in an abstracted way with superb tonal control and fabulous colour sense.  I love his cloudscapes, seascapes and snowscapes.

See recent works
Fred has devoted his life to expressing the fleeting impressions of his surroundings, often painting the South Coast of England around Hastings and Rye where he lives.

Screenshot from the video 'Fred Cuming RA: Portrait of an Artist' - inside the studio
This is the video. I highly recommend you view the video in HD mode on full screen.

Fred Cuming painting in his studio shed.
He was elected a Royal Academician in 1974 - this is his profile on the RA website

Fred Cuming RA will be exhibiting work with four other artists in 'The Alchemy of Paint' opening at Gallery 8, Duke Street, St James's on 21 May.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

The Travels of Atlantis Art Materials - on the move again!

The largest art shop in London has moved again! 

I regard Atlantis Art Materials as one of my local art materials shops. It's had lots of locations around the East End of London since I first encountered it just off Devons Road in E3 more years ago than I can accurately remember.

I've bought masses of art materials and supplies "stuff" from Atlantis in my time. They were my supplier of choice for paper, foam core, mat board when I could access them easily by car - because you could buy masses and just load it straight on to the back seat.  Plus I've been known to acquire an awful lots of bits and bobs having to walk past shelves to get to the foam core!  I can visualise all the pastels and pencils racks still because I used to spend so long in front of them....

I was idling trying to work out how many locations it has had since I've known them - and in the end came up with six - but I have only visited four of them.

There again they've only been in the latest one in Hackney since 5th March 2018.

1. Original Location: Devons Road, London E3 (mid/late 1980s?)

I'm sure this is the first place that I first I came across Atlantis Art Materials. I don';t think they'd been going for very long when I first came across them.

It was a typical location for a company looking for a large building and not wanting to pay lots of rent! They inhabited a very modern techie type building next to where the Devons Road DLR Station (opened 1987) is now. This was by far the smallest of the stores. They got a lot bigger when they moved on from here.  I don't think the DLR was open when I first visited it - but I could be wrong.

The original Devons Road location. 
I seem to recall the building they were in looked different so it might have changed or it might just be so many years ago I can't actually remember.

I do remember going there to review watercolour paint after reading Michael Wilcox's book The Wilcox Guide to the Best Watercolor Paints (published 1993) because this was the first time I'd taken a good long hard look at Old Holland Paint - which I never ever saw in any other art suppliers. (Note: this book is now way out of date - but did trigger a bit of a revolution if testing watercolours!)

2. The Huge Warehouse in Brick Lane (Early - Late 90s?)

I can't remember the precise address but it was right opposite the Old Truman Brewery - in an HUGE warehouse with great parking. It was absolutely cavernous and one of the stores I liked the best.

They were here for ages and I made lots of early purchases here.

Many is the time I've climbed that little flight of stairs
and entered the cathedral of art materials

a very small entrance
- which led to an enormous space behind

3. Whitechapel - early 2000s - 2009

7-9 Plumber's Row London E1 1EQ (just behind the Mosque on Whitechapel Road - as was)

This was one of the best locations and was also very accessible whether visiting using public transport or by car. I could normally guarantee I could park the car either in their car park or on the street - which meant I could take my time and spend lots of money I hadn't planned to.

Plus I really liked the layout and the paper desk - which was away from everything else.

I have some very pleasant memories of having a wind down from work wander around on Saturday afternoons.

They had to move on when plans for the area were developed and the site is now home to student accommodation.

4. Hanbury Street - August 2009- 2015

Disabled unfriendly entrance
- especially when carrying stuff!
Britannia House, 68-80 Hanbury Street, London E1 5JL

This was a large bright space once you got inside and lots of space to display the products well. However the access was a total nightmare (particularly for those with mobility challenges) in terms of both stairs at the entrance, the store on the second floor and a lift that took forever - plus never enough parking spaces outside - plus controlled parking zone. Luckily I could park locally being a resident of Tower Hamlets - however I still had to time visits for when it was more likely there would be spaces!

My shopping at Atlantis dropped off after they moved here - largely because of the accessibility reasons. It more or less became an emergency visits only - and I took to ordering online for larger stock supplies.

I'm guessing this is what finally stimulated the eternal "mail order" firm into finally getting its act together and generating an internet ordering service

The building is now a  refurbished very modern and"funky" apartment block.

5. Old Street 2015 - 25 February 2018

Basement, 16-28 Tabernacle Street, EC2A 4DD

The 2015 Invite to New Premises
I've never visited this venue as I'd stopped being a regular customer after the parking problems associated with Hanbury Street. It never struck me as being particularly easy to visit - being in the middle of a gigantic one way system.

NEW / Current Location - Hackney E8 - from 5th March 2018

Unit 1/Unit 7 Bayford Street Industrial Centre, London E8 3SE

This is their announcement.  They've got two units in a business centre - Unit 1 for main art supplies and Unit 7 just for paper.
  • The plus points: 
    • London Fields overground is within 200m
    • It's near the main bus routes via Mare Street
    • will be great for Hackney based artists
  • The negatives: 
    • double yellow lines everywhere - if you're not a Hackney resident don't even think about taking a car! 
    • no information on the website about parking - it's as if nobody ever has to move large or heavy items!
    • Atlantis have left Tower Hamlets - it's not local any more!

They're not a very internet savvy firm however you can follow them on:

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Rejection from the RA Summer Exhibition

This week lots of people got their notification about their entry to this year's Royal Academy of Art Summer Exhibition.

More than 95+% of them will have got a rejection email/letter.

You are in very good company if one of those was you.

Just to give you some perspective if you were rejected, this painting by Peter Brown NEAC ROI PS BSA was also rejected....
"Dear Peter Brown, Thank you for submitting your artwork: NED READING ON THE STUDIO FLOOR. The Members of the Summer Exhibition Committee...regret that they will not be able to include your artwork..."

Ned lying on the Studio Floor
Peter Brown
There have been HOWLS of disbelief on Facebook at this decision - 72 shares (and mine was one such) - and and very many comments - which I have idly wondered about analysing!

Last year I wrote a post called Does the RA Summer Exhibition still have the WOW factor?

#7 of the 10 reasons I gave for why the Summer Exhibition had lost its "WOW" was
7. too few good figurative paintings - by which I mean of the relatively realistic variety. There were any number of the more fantasy oriented or "I can't draw" variety. I see a lot more paintings I like better on a regular basis in the open exhibitions and art competitions exhibiting at the Mall Galleries.
I'm pleased to say that those of you who would like to see it in person will be able to do so at the Annual Exhibition of the New English Art Club which will be at the Mall Galleries between 15 Jun 2018 to 23 Jun 2018

It's worth remembering that NEAC was originally set up by those who were disgruntled by the decisions of those running the RA!
Historically, the New English was founded by a group of artists dissatisfied with the entrenched attitudes of the Royal Academy. They mounted their first show in 1886 including paintings by Clausen, Sickert and Stanhope Forbes. The club increasingly attracted younger artists, bringing with them the influence of Impressionism and Post-Impressionism. Many diverse styles of art have developed since its founding, adding richness and variety.

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Previous reviews of the Summer Exhibition

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Review: Semi Finals of Portrait Artist of the Year 2018

The Semi Finals (Episode 9) of Portrait Artist of the Year was broadcast on Tuesday evening. I was able to catch up on the programme, make my notes and review social media comments this morning - and what follows is my review.

The Semi Finals of  Portrait Artist of the Year 2018

I'll see if I can make sense of what happened.

The Semi Finalists

The Semi Finalists
(Left to right: Leanne, Samira, Danny, Hetty, Brid, Lisa, Corinne and Jonathan)

The semi finals comprised four professional artists (links in the Heat Numbers are to my review of that Episode):
and four amateur artists
In terms of looking back at the series as a whole it's interesting to see whether the choices made in the Heats survived the challenges associated with the Semi Final.

What was different

First of all they changed the location. Using the Cafe de Paris was suggested to be a good way "taking them out of a safe environment" - although why an environment in which each artist probably had one of the more stressful experiences of their lives should be regarded by artists as "safe" is beyond me!

It was also suggested that the nature of the environment would be something the artists could capture in their portraits. There are some very obvious reasons - see below why this was something of a ridiculous hope!  Quite apart from the fact that most artists had stuck to head and shoulders portraits in their heats!

However the location did mean that they could control the light better - no "plein air" challenges from the overhead lighting to challenge them - because there was no natural light and they could make sure lighting was equally good for all artists (at least I assume they did this!)

Instead of one, the finalists had to paint TWO sitters within four hours.

Personally, given that this strategy favours some artists over others in terms of painting technique and speed of painting, IMO it was a bit much:
  • NOT to notify them in advance - so they had a chance to practice doing two portraits in four hours (ie effectively halving the time they had previously).
  • NOT to extend the amount of time available for painting - An extra hour or two could have made a very big difference to the outcome of this part of the competition - and the painters would still have had less time to paint a portrait than they had previously
Bottom line I think that while it is perfectly fair to make the challenge more difficult at this stage in order to the traditional "sort them out", this needs to be done in such a way as to
  • maintain a level playing field and 
  • avoid any context or tactics which favours one artist over another.
Could they have raised the stakes and been fair to all artists? Of course they could.   I'd suggest this is something for the company making the programme to reflect on for the future.

The models

Lily Cole and Simon Callow

The models were:


This is a slightly different review in the sense that we've already seen all the painters paint at least once. 

Performance Anxiety

This week I got the impression that the major challenge for most people - besides two sitters in a new context - was the FACT it was the semi-final. The atmosphere was more intense and was commented on as such by more the one painter while others just looked more worried.

I think a bit of performance anxiety crept in to some people's paintings. Certainly some painters paintings just fell away as the session progressed. They actually didn't look like they'd been painted by the same person who had painted in the Heats. 

Timing out the window

For those focusing on keeping their cool and just working steadily - in order to keep a lid on nerves - there was the contrary issue of needing to remember all the time that they were painting two people and had to create a unity and balance between the two individuals - but in the same amount of time they had to do one person in the Heat!

I thought Jonathan summed it up rather aptly "Why didn't I start panicking sooner?" - because at the end of the day there is always only a limited amount of time to get the painting done.

The painters arranged around the sitters

The Double Sitter Challenge

Now this is a subject I know something about. My Drawing the Head class at the (what was then) Prince's Drawing School always had two sitters - and if you made sure to sit in a particular place it was perfectly possible to draw two models within the time allowed - which was 2 hours actual drawing time.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Work-Life-Artist #1: Catherine Ingleby

This is the first in what I hope will become a series of interviews with professional artists about the reality of their working lives.

The aim is to build up a series of reference points for those who contemplate a career as a professional artist - and need to know more about what life as a professional artist is really like.

I'm developing a page on my Art Business Info. for Artists About the Working Lives of Professional Artists and these interviews will also be listed on that page as a resource.

If you're interested in participating in the exercise see my note at the end about what to do.

Below my questions are in bold and Catherine's answers are not!

About the working life of Catherine Ingleby

Catherine Ingleby in her studio

A really useful exercise to do, I keep being asked similar questions so great to formulate ideas into some form of clarity! Hope this is ok.
You can:

What is reality for a working professional artist?

What does the "real life" of being an artist actually involve?

The reality is, and perhaps partly because I have children, that it is a structured job, I have a strict weekly routine and generally take weekends off.

Is it like what you expected?

I have found I spend much more time dealing with business aspect of my art than I perhaps would have predicted. I employ someone to do some of my invoicing, accounts, and liaising with galleries and clients, but at the end of the day probably spend as much time in the office as I do in the studio. I also pay an accountant and lawyer for financial support and advice - something I wish I’d started a lot earlier!

Where/who did you get your ideas of what "real life as an artist" was going to be like from? Were they right?

I envisaged a much more sociable, interactive (fun?!) lifestyle whereas the reality of life as an artist is that is largely quite solitary.

I think that art school created a false impression that working life would be much the same as school studio life, just better funded!

Kwande Quartet by Catherine Ingleby

Making a living

How do you actually "make a living" (e.g. keep a roof over your head / pay the bills / have a studio / plan for retirement)?

I paint full time, and the income divides roughly into thirds between original sales, commissioned work and reproductions sales.

What percentage of your income (roughly) do you generate from making art? 


What percentage of your income (roughly) derives from being involved with art? 

10% from teaching/lecturing

(Catherine lectures at schools and colleges on developing a theme for a series and a career in the arts; and to adults on the business of selling art.)

How do you aim to be making a living in future?

I enjoy the lectures as they provide a break from the solitary studio, and also give me the opportunity to build my client list, but I do not want to do more than I am doing now.

At the moment I am restricted by school age children, however I can see in the future I may wish to expand in that area. I also plan to increase my sales of prints, and related merchandising.

Time allocation

What percentage of time do you have each week for actually making art? (Is this more or less than you expected?)

I work approximately 6-8 hours a day, and occasional weekends when under deadline. It is a lot less than I would like, but I found that having restricted hours makes me far more focused and productive than pre children. I probably spend two or three evenings working too.

How do you typically spend your time each day or week or month?

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Review: Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize 2018

I went to see the Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize 2018 Exhibition at the Mall Galleries yesterday. I always like it because of its emphasis on draughtsmanship which can sometimes be in short supply in other exhibitions.

Lynn Painter-Stainer Prizes - Left to right:
Young Artist Prize | Second Prize | First prize

It's also an exhibition I've been visiting every year since its third year (in 2007) when Ben Sullivan won (Ben is last year's BP Portrait Award Winner).  This year he selected artwork as a Judge along with Artist and Educator - Robin Mason - Head of Fine Art at the City & Guilds London Art School; Art Gallery Owner - Johnny Messum - Founder and Director of Messums, Wiltshire and Daphne Todd OBE PPRP NEAC - Past President of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters, BP Portrait Award winner in 2010 (and second prize winner in 1983) and latterly a television celebrity as a judge in the BBC's The Big Painting Challenge.

So 2018 starts the second decade of visits to this exhibition! If you can't visit the Mall Galleries to see it you can view all the selected artworks online - in a rather curious slideshow.

It got me reflecting on how the exhibition has changed.

View of the Lynn Painter-Stainer Exhibition 2018
The most obvious change is the move from the Painter-Stainers' Hall in the City of London to the Mall Galleries.  

I think I preferred the earlier exhibitions more - which is in no way a reflection on the Mall Galleries (the lighting is much better at the Mall even if they can't compete on the chadelier front!)

I decided in the end that I think it's because I maybe liked the art more in the earlier exhibitions - and you can see the artwork from 10 years ago in the 2008 exhibition in my post Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize 2008 and Exhibition (with others listed at the end of this post - all of which come with images of artwork in the exhibitions.

Some of the better representational paintings with an emphasis on draughtsmanship in the show
For example, this is supposed to be an exhibition which is supposed to represent
the best of contemporary representational painting and drawing
and yet two other major changes I noticed are that:
  • There is no drawing in the exhibition. At least no drawings in the conventional sense. There are one or two paintings where the painter has drawn...  
  • Not all the artwork is representational. For me representational painting is supposed to be painting which relates to and represents a real object. As opposed to painting which represents a fantasy of objects which exist only within the artist's imagination. Yet a number of the paintings were quite clearly fantastical and/or included representations of real objects but that these had been distorted in a fantastical way
A prime example of the fantasy present in the exhibition is the artwork which won the First Prize - which is both real and not real. I think it was the innovation in painting which won it the first prize - it certainly wasn't innovation in the subject matter (see below to see what I mean).

Sunday, March 11, 2018

About the reality of working lives of professional artists

I'm trying to develop a page about the REALITY of working life for professional artists for my website.

The purpose of Art Business Info for Artists is to provide - for free - information of relevance to artists beyond the technical and creative aspects of making art. (See the Index of what's on the site). 

In other words, all that other 'art business' stuff you have to deal with!

I'd very much like to
  • link to anything anybody has written in the past with a view to providing an insight into what life is really like for you.
  • highlight any books you have found particularly useful in dealing with real challenges of "being an artist" beyond the art-making.
  • highlight any web pages or online articles / blog posts you have found useful
The idea is to provide a compendium on one page of resources which would-be professional artists might find useful

For example, you might find this interesting Researching Artists' Working Lives - IFACCA

So any suggestions for contributions that you have found helpful are most welcome!
You can:
Maybe you'd like to write something to help other artists

If you would like to write something as a contribution.....

For anybody who would like to write something going forward I've jotted down some questions below of the sort of things I'd like to know about

  • If you'd like to be anonymous - that's absolutely fine by me and I will respect that - just so long as I know who you are and that you are a real artist. 
  • Your contribution can be as short or as long as you like
  • You can answer as many or as few question as you like
  • It can be published on your website or blog - or sent to me for anonymous publication on my website.

What I'd like to know

Please touch on and/or answer as many or as few of the following as you are comfortable writing about.

What is reality for a working professional artist?
  • What does the "real life" of being an artist actually involve?
  • Is it like what you expected?
  • Where/who did you get your ideas of what "real life as an artist" was going to be like from? Were they right?
Making a living
  • How do you actually "make a living" (e.g. keep a roof over your head / pay the bills / have  a studio / plan for retirement)? 
  • What percentage of your income (roughly) do you generate from making art?
  • What percentage of your income (roughly) derives from being involved with art?
  • How do you aim to be making a living in future?
Time allocation
  • What percentage of time do you have each week for actually making art? (Is this more or less than you expected?)
  • How do you typically spend your time each  day or week or month?
Challenges and surprises
  • How difficult is the real life of "being an artist"?
  • In terms of the reality of working as a professional artist:
    • What do you find your biggest challenge?
    • What has been your biggest surprise?
    • What are you much better at doing that you expected to be?
Improving and succeeding
    • Do you work on yourself to improve or do you work at your job to improve?
    • Beyond the art, what do you think makes an artist successful today?
    • What do you wish you had known at the beginning of becoming a professional artist that nobody told you about?
    • What was the best bit of advice that anybody ever gave you about  "real life" as a working artist?

    and finally......

    What do you think of the idea of trying to create a free resource online?

    Wednesday, March 07, 2018

    Review: Episode 8 of Portrait Artist of the Year 2018

    At last we've got to Heat 8 of The Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year 2018 - which I watched during the afternoon at the Wallace Collection!

    This is a long one. You'll need a comfy seat and a hot drink!

    Portrait Artist of the Year 2018 - Entrance to the Wallace Collection
    I've been sitting on lots and lots of photos for the last 11 months!. I've now released most of them in an album on Flickr - essentially for the benefit of all those contemplating having a go at applying for 2019 - see Call for Entries - Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year 2019

    They include
    • photos of ALL the art materials and palettes that each artist was working with - which is interesting of itself!
    • plus what it really looks like when everything is 'happening'.
    My photos of the Heat - see the link to it above if you want to view them

    Plus you get to see what the environment is really like - once you take into account all the cameramen and the production team. (They're mostly people dressed in black!)

    Tom surrounded by cameras and sound mikes
    - not a lot of space should you want to stand back from your portrait!

    The Artists, Self-portraits and Sitters

    This Heat included six professional artists and three amateur artists (for a discussion of 'professional;' and 'amateur' see my last blog post about this series Review: Episode 7 of Portrait Artist of the Year 2018)

    In the listing below:
    • a link to the the artist's website is embedded in their name - for those wanting to know the standard of work by artists who get selected
    • links to their social media follows - should you wish to follow them

    Professional Artists

    The six professional artists were - in alphabetical order:
    • Frances Bell (Facebook Instagram) - Trained in a traditional sight size drawing (no painting for a year while you learn to draw ) and painting from life in Florence at the Charles H Cecil School. Frances has been a regular exhibitor at the annual exhibitions of a number of the national art societies and she has also won a number of awards. The judges very much liked her self-portrait because it did NOT look like a typical traditional pose. She'd in effect painted herself from head to toe sat on the ground with an element of foreshortening - and on top of a rather nice carpet. It took 20 hours. 
    • Christabel Blackburn (private Instagram | Twitter) - She originally studied the foundations of figurative drawing and sculpture - also at Charles Cecil Studios in Florence - but just for one year. She then completed her training in figurative drawing, painting and sculpting at The London Atelier of Representational Art. This is her profile on LARA's website
    • Tom Croft (Instagram) - professional portrait painter who works in oils from his garden studio based in Wolvercote, Oxford. He spent three years producing work for Manchester Football Club and has painted footballers Wayne Rooney, David Beckham and Ryan Giggs. He's also a a member of the Oxford Art Society and opens his studio to the public during Oxfordshire Artweeks. He kept us biting our nails until the end - and pulled it out of the bag!  
    • Beverley Fry - professional artist from Shropshire who has sold and exhibited for 35 years, with over 10 solo exhibitions and also ran a studio gallery for 13 years. This was the self-portrait she painted - the judges liked the composition.
    • Michelle Ives (Instagram) - a professional n artist and illustrator living and working in Glasgow, Scotland. Originally from South Africa, she trained in graphic design and illustration before moving to the UK and gaining further qualifications in the field of animation.  She mostly paints landscapes and has also been in “Sky Landscape Artist of the Year” competition 2016. Very fond of green!
    • Jonathan Luxon (Facebook) Based in North East Scotland. Former music teacher who did a Joint Honours degree in Fine Art and Music at Canterbury Christ Church University. He has been been working as a professional artist in North East Scotland since 2009.  He started painting landscapes at the start of 2016, exploring his local area of Findhorn Bay and the Highlands. His self portrait was 'eyeballed' from life and painted in 35 hours and the inclusion of himself in the mirror was an afterthought. He paints with an acrylic underpainting - and then oils on top and he had a planned timeline - but didn't quite manage to keep to it.

    Jonathan Luxon - with a few other subjects in his eyeline

    Amateur Artists

    The three amateur artists were:
    • Rebecca Bright (Instagram) - Graduated from Cambridge with a degree in medieval and modern languages and last April was an Account Director working in Advertising. She takes on commissions in her spare time and would like to become a professional artist - and it looks as if she might have taken the plunge!
    • Alastair Faulkner (FacebookInstagram | Twitter)- I don't think Alastair will mind if I say he looked to me like he might be very young. Then we found out he is training as an orthopaedic surgeon in Dundee! He graduated with a degree in Medicine from The University of Edinburgh in 2012 and currently works for NHS Highland. He paints in his spare time as a hobby. He was also taught drawing by a plastic surgeon in Cambridge re. how to draw anatomically. He  is very much a self-taught artist and painted his large self-portrait "Self Portrait in Green Scrubs" over several months. He has a blog called Bones and Brushes.
    • Pal Kumar (Instagram | Twitter) Grew up in India and is now an 18 year old A Level Student who lives in London. He like drawing in a mix of graphite and charcoal and had a drawing in Wildlife Artist of the Year 2017
    Pal - totally unfazed by the cameraman and sound man!

    Survey of the Self Portraits

    Tuesday, March 06, 2018

    San Geremia by John Singer Sargent

    This is a painting of Venice by John Singer Sargent which I saw at the preview exhibition of the Rockefeller Collection Auction at Christies in London (until 8 March). I highly recommend a visit!

    It's worth taking a close look at how Singer Sargent conveys people in this paintings of Venice.

    So here's the painting - and the details.

    San Geremia (1913) by John Singer Sargent
    Details of the painting
    This is a side long look at the bottom left corner where the three gondolas are the foreground one is moving away from our view towards the left. The two behind are moving parallel towards the right.

    The painting photographed from the side - focusing on the gondolas

    Then close ups of what the brush work is actually doing to convey both gondola and the people in it

    This is the left hand gondola which we see moving away from our perspective

    just a very few strokes to indicate both gondola and gondalier
    ....and these are two parallel running gondolas moving left to right

    suddenly the gondolas which are so clear at 3-4 feet have started to disappear at 3-4 inches
    Interesting isn't it?

    Monday, March 05, 2018

    Lynn Painter-Stainer Exhibition 2018 opens today - plus events and demos

    The Lynn Painter-Stainer Exhibition 2018 opens today.  
    • A record 2,194 entries were received for the 2018 Prize. Of these 92 drawings and paintings (4.2% of the submission) by 83 artists were selected for the exhibition.
    • The prizewinners will be announced at the Private View later today.
    Venue: Main Gallery at the Mall Galleries, London SW1
    Dates: Monday 5th until Saturday 17th March 2018.
    Hours: open every day from 10am to 5pm
    Admission: FREE
    “The Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize celebrates the very best of British representational art and acts as a show case to the rest of the world. It’s all about the way in which our artists see the real world and capture it." Daphne Todd - one of this year's Judges
    One of two artist painting the artist paintings in the show.
    This one is by my ex-tutor James Lloyd (former BP Portrait Award and Ondaatje Prizewinner)
    If you can't get to the exhibition, you can also view all the selected artworks online - in a rather curious slideshow.

    I was going to do a post about the Selected Artists but that may come later this week now.

    Below are details of the events being held during the course of the exhibition and pics of some of the paintings selected for exhibition.

    Events - Panel Discussion, Masterclasses and Demonstrations

    There's also a panel discussion this afternoon between 2-3pm at the Mall Galleries. Panel members include
    • Jason Brooks - internationally renowned artist whose work intensifies the photographic process more than any photographic medium and whose previous exhibitions include a solo show at the National Portrait Gallery.
    • Richard Cork - award-winning art critic, historian, broadcaster and curator.
    • Daphne Todd OBE, first female President of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters, winner of the BP Portrait Award 2010 and one of the Selectors for this year’s Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize.
    • Anna McNeil - Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize exhibitor 2017 and recently profiled in Aesthetica Magazine.

    The discussion will be chaired by Laura Gasgoigne, art critic, columnist for The Jackdaw, contributor to The Tablet, and regular reviewer for The Spectator, Apollo and Country Life.

    There are also:
    • Life Drawing Masterclasses with Henry Gibbons Guy on 8 March and 15 March, both 12 – 2pm
    • Artist Demonstrations | 7 March, 10 March and 14 March, all from 1 – 4pm

    Some of the Paintings

    Below are some of the paintings that have been selected for the exhibition. Why do so few artists tweet about their success in getting selected?

    Artwork was selected by
    • Artist and Educator - Robin Mason - Head of Fine Art at the City & Guilds London Art School
    • Art Gallery Owner - Johnny Messum - Founder and Director of Messums, Wiltshire
    • Artist and prizewinner - Benjamin Sullivan RP NEAC - Artist and Winner of the 2017 BP Portrait Award and winner of the Lynn Painter-Stainer Prize in 2007
    • Artists, prizewinner and experienced Judge - Daphne Todd OBE PPRP NEAC - Past President of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters, BP Portrait Award winner in 2010 (and second prize winner in 1983) and latterly a television celebrity as a judge in the BBC's The Big Painting Challenge. She also exhibits at Messums and is an .Honorary Liveryman, Worshipful Company of Painter-Stainers.

    More about the Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize (2008-2018)