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)


    Friday, March 02, 2018

    Sarah Wimperis explains how to paint like Van Gogh for 'Loving Vincent'

    It's not often I use one of my blog posts to highlight an article on another website but I'm making an exception for this interview with Sarah Wimperis - one of the painters of painted animated film called "Loving Vincent"

    The significance is the film is up for an Oscar on Sunday!
    Across the globe, the movie has secured 11 wins and over 48 nominations, including Best Animated Motion Picture at the 2018 Golden Globes, held Jan. 7, and Best Animated Feature Film at this year’s Academy Awards, taking place March 4 in Los Angeles.
    Here's the interview Meet the Artists Behind the Oscar-Nominated ‘Loving Vincent’ on Artists Network. It's very good at telling
    • what life was like for the artists working on the film
    • how personal style had to be subjugated to the needs of the film
    • how the artists worked in Gdansk
    • what the process was for creating paintings for the animation
    • how many paintings were needed to get half a minute of film (take a guess before you read the answer!)
    • the benefits of copying painting style of an past master
    • what Saeah has been doing since she finished painting
    Sarah is offering some "Paint like Van Gogh" painting workshops later this month in Stroud and Bath for those who have always wanted to have a go!

    Below are some pics taken by Sarah while she was painting for the film.

    One of Sarah's Paintings
    Sequences within the film were created from individual paintings. These were then adjusted to make the next image in the sequence - and the next and the next. Read the article to learn more about the process

    Four frames from the wheatfield conversation - painted by Sarah
    See the first painting fits into this series of four paintings for a sequence

    Sarah looking at her paintings
    If you look very carefully I think you can work out which way round the paintings below were painted.
    A complete four frame section - from the Cafe Interior - painted by Sarah

    I'm not sure I've ever seen a more extensive palette. Learn how one of the secrets to effective transitions was making sure you'd mixed enough paint!

    Sarah's palette supplies
    and finally some finished frames.

    Finished frames in the Gdansk studio - with film markers for lining up attached

    You can see Sarah bouncing up and down if the film wins an Oscar on Sunday

    Thursday, March 01, 2018

    Review: Episode 7 of Portrait Artist of the Year 2018

    Interestingly the social media coverage of this series of the Portrait Artist of the Year programmes seems to be waning as the series progresses. I guess it might be one of those which captures interest from some people who have never seen it before at the beginning - but it's the real art fans who stay to the end!

    One such fan turns out to be Michael Ball who was one of the sitters in this week's Heat 7 which was televised on Tuesday evening.

    Which means that the Heat 8 (which I went to) is going to be the very last one to be televised! How predictable is that!

    This is my review of Episode 7 of Portrait Artist of the Year by Sky Arts - with added observations about things I noticed during the programme.

    Entrance to the Wallace Collection - hosting Heats of Sky Arts Portrait Artist of he Year 2018

    The Professionals

    The 5 professionals were
    • Radovan Bolcar - Born in Slovakia. Degree in Contemporary Fine Art at York St. John University. He has had a passion for drawing and making art since school.
    • Lauren Carter Bridges - Based in Bolton, she used to be a Jeweller but two years ago she gave it up and now works on portraiture. She does minimal sketches and took 20 hours to paint her self-portrait with her daughter. Has been selected to exhibit at ROI, RBA, SWA art society exhibitions at the Mall Galleries 
    • Lynton Parmar-Hemsley - Based in Stalybridge. He seems to be known as Lynton Hemsley on Google and Lynton Parmar-Hemsley on Facebook. He had a 30 year career in advertising before becoming a full time artist 4 years ago and this was his third time on one of the Sky Artist of the Year programmes.  He is also a caricaturist and runs a company known as Arty Party Portraits
    • Leanne Pearce (Twitter) - a professional contemporary portrait painter.From Grimsby and lives in Gateshead. First degree in fine art at Northumbria University in the North-East. Second degree in Graphic Communications. She gave up an admin job in a Law Court to focus on portraiture. Her self portrait was very large. She also does her underpainting in acrylic using big brushes before she starts to paint in oil.
    • Phil Tyler - He has been painting for over 30 years and also teaches art at Brighton University. He is well practiced in the art of portraiture having done over 900 self-portraits.  He's also in ING Discerning Eye, Royal Institute of Oil Painters, The Lynn Painter-Stainers prize among others. 

    The Amateurs

    • Samira Addo (Facebook Instagram) - Recently graduated with a Masters degree in civil engineering. She works as an engineer and also has a "full time hobby" as a portrait artist and a studio! She studied Art to A Level and is particularly interested in portraiture and now works in acrylics and oils.  She taught herself oil painting using You Tube Videos. The Heat was the first time she had painted anybody from life.
    • Amy Eccleston - see her Facebook Page Amy Leigh Eccleston-Artist. Describes herself on her website as a a young artist currently based in Cornwall, England with a keen interest in Art and a BA (Hons) in Fine Art, at the University of Plymouth.  Works mainly in graphite or coloured pencils and for some reason chose to abandon these and use pastels for her portrait of Michael Ball. Not a good choice.
    • Steve Johnson - gave up a career as a graphic designer to do a full time portrait course at Heatherley's School of Art.
    • Cait Webb  (Facebook- Originally from Australia, she has been a Professors of Robotics at Edinburgh University for over 15 years. She researches and builds robot insects for a day job and plays the harp as well as paints as a leisure pursuit.  Her watercolour self-portrait was painted in two hours.  

    Survey of the Self Portraits

    Viewing the self portraits
    Again, as you can see from the pic (even if you can't see the portraits) there is an enormous range of different sizes and formats. It needs to be an exceptionally strong small portrait to hold up against some of the bigger ones to get shortlisted and then win the Heat.

    The Sitters

    The three sitters were:
    • actor and singer Michael Ball - very jovial, seemed like a good sitter but a bit concerned about the blancmange pink background
    • actor Robert Bathurst (Cold Feet and Downton Abbey) who was described by one judge as sitting like an Easter Island Head i.e. absolutely rigid and still!  He was rehearsing 2 hours worth of lines in his head!
    • BBC presenter Anita Rani had a curious attire - part singlet and part sari - and seemed to be completely unable to sit still. I confess I felt sorry for her artists - there's absolutely nothing worse than a twitcher!  

    Discussions and Observations

    View of the competition in the restaurant space at the Wellcome Collection