Tuesday, January 29, 2019

VIDEO: Carl Randall paints Waterloo Bridge, London and 57 people from life

Carl Randall has produced another stunning large painting of an iconic place with lots of people in London. His painting of Waterloo Bridge, London
  • measures 6.5 feet wide (200cm)
  • includes 57 people who each sat for their portraits to be painted from life
  • took 5 months to complete
He's also created a video (see below) which shows how he created this.

This blog post is about
  • the creation of the painting, 
  • the artists included in it (see if you can spot them
  • portraits of places and why we need more painters who paint both people and 'scapes - people in context and context with people
  • how Carl creates his paintings
  • what I like about his work and his website
  • his impressive profile/biography - and where you can find him on line

About Waterloo Bridge, London and London Portraits

Waterloo Bridge, London (2018) by Carl Randall
Waterloo Bridge, London (2018) by Carl Randall
Oil on canvas, 200 x 93cm

Anybody who knows London during peak commuter times will be familiar with the absolute  HORDES of people who stream at a very fast pace across the bridges over the River Thames. The stations at Waterloo and London Bridge are on the South bank - and the City of London and many tube lines are on the North Bank - hence the rapid transit on foot!

I wouldn't be in the least bit surprised if this painting ended up in major office building in the City!

The Artists in the Painting

It's worth going to the website to see a much bigger version and to see if you can spot the portraits of some of the artists who are included in the painting.  They are:
Oddly enough I thought some of them looked rather familiar before I knew they were included!

About portraits of places

I have been pleading for more artists to create more large scale paintings of people in context for YEARS!

Carl was one of the artists who stimulated this request. His paintings of groups of people in Japan in his BP Travel Award exhibition in 2013 were very impressive - and made me realise what we're missing.

The thing about "places" is they are both structures / scapes AND people. You have to go to some very remote areas to find landscapes without people and cityscapes with no signs of human life!

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Two new art fairs in London plus goodbye to a popular old one

There have been some major changes in independent art fairs in London in 2019. 

There are two new fairs:

Both NEW Art Fairs suggest a rethinking of the approach to dealing art and making sales.

Sadly the Works on Paper Art Fair which I used to go to every February - and recommended is sadly no more.

Connect – The Independent Art Fair

Home Page of the The Connect Independent Art Fair

This is a NEW art fair at the Mall Galleries organised by an art dealer led co-operative - and it opens on Tuesday 29th January.

I've been saying for ages - to anybody who will listen to me - that the Mall Galleries provides an excellent venue for anybody wanting to host a small niche art fair in London - and such activities seem a very appropriate related income stream for the FBA Trust and the Galleries.

Seems like somebody else has had the same idea as me!

Apparently it's being run by a co-operative of art dealers (i.e. typically people without B&M galleries) who aim to cut out the event organiser as a cost of the fair.
An opportunity to view and purchase from the genuine #notonthehighstreet#galleries offering outstanding quality art at affordable prices.
Very oddly, the website does NOT actually says what it's about its USP (i.e what makes it different) and why it's worth visiting! 
  • Maybe they've been focused on using press releases and social media - which is where the above comes from. 
  • However, they're reposting Instagram to Twitter and losing the images in the process - so maybe they're not too social media savvy! (Shortcuts never pay off - do it properly and get images in a feed and it always pays off!)
  • My take on it is that this reflects inexperience. The company that runs it is very new, was only incorporated last year and is months old (see details). I think it lacks social media marketing savvy. I'm almost inclined to send a note to my art business website page which stipulates what traders need on a website page when marketing online!

However, the Mall Galleries website is rather more experienced and a bit more forthcoming about what this inaugural art fair is about
Welcome to the inaugural staging of Connect - The Independent Art Fair. Our friendly dealers and well-known gallerists are bringing together a wide range of early, modern and contemporary work from London and well beyond, and will showcase a dazzling array of schools and styles, media and type. The accent will be on quality and accessibility; organised by a new co-operative of dealers, this Fair will ensure that there is every opportunity for the average collector to indulge their collecting whims, with something to suit most pockets.
Interestingly a couple of articles in the Antique Trades Gazette are a little more forthcoming (see below for links)
the independent event cuts out the ‘middleman’ of an external organiser – aiming at competitive prices for exhibitors and their buyers in turn – and focuses on works ranging in price from the low hundreds to five figures at the top end.
I'll be going. Probably not on Tuesday as I hate crowded events where you can't see the artwork. Probably on Wednesday - and I'll let you know what it's like.

Note that it's open late on Thursday, opens to 7 on Friday and is open all day on Saturday (remembering that "all day" in art fairs starts at 11am!)

You can find details of the fair and its various webs and social media accounts below.

Evening openings at the Mall Galleries for the Connect Art Fair
Venue: Mall Galleries
Admission: £10 (£25 for Tuesday 29 January). Free Entry to Friends of Mall Galleries and those booking in advance at connectartfair.co.uk
Dates: 29 January - 2 February 2019
  • Tuesday 29 January 3.30pm -9pm Opening Preview
  • Wednesday 30 January 11am – 7pm Fair open
  • Thursday 31 January 11am – 9pm Fair open (late night)
  • Friday 1 February 11am –7pm Fair open
  • Saturday 2 February 11am –5pm Fair open
Website: https://connectartfair.co.uk/
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/connectartfair/ (Nothing much happening do far - which is unsurprising given the other marketing deficits)
Twitter: https://twitter.com/connectartfair
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/connectartfair/
Venue: https://www.mallgalleries.org.uk/whats-on/exhibitions/connect-independent-art-fair

Draw Art Fair London 

Draw Art Fair website
This NEW art fair for modern and contemporary drawing will be held at the Saatchi Gallery in May 2019.

This is what is about according to the website. It sounds as if it offers a comprehensive approach to drawing and at the same time is VERY BIG!

Saturday, January 26, 2019

How an art conservator cleans and restores an old master painting

I love watching videos of paintings being restored. My jaw drops every time when I see just how mucky some of them are - and how much sheer dirt is hanging alongside the painting!

Below are two videos produced with and by Baumgartner Fine Art Restoration in Chicago.  They are both about the process of restoration of a painting.
  • The first one is short (1 minute 38 seconds) - produced by a company working with Baumgartner
  • The second one was made by Baumgartner and relates to just one painting and is longer (9 minutes 23 seconds) - and is narrated. The processes are explained as they happen. 
They work according to a set of principles
Our philosophy is to alter the artwork as little as possible with respect to the original intention of the artist. To that end, we examine each work of art closely and tailor our methodologies to meet both the needs of the painting and client. We use only the finest materials and techniques which are found in major museums around the world. In accordance with our belief that restoration should be noninvasive, all of the work we do is fully reversible and in accordance with the AIC Code of Ethics
Definitely worth a watch if you want to know why some paintings you see in galleries have a brown cast while others are bright and full of colour.

Working with detail and care Julian labors to repair damage, stabilize, clean and restore this master work to honor the artist's vision.

Using archival and reversible materials and techniques, the work executed will do no harm to the painting and ensure that generations to come will be able to enjoy this work.

While not meant to be instructional and edited for brevity this video allows art lovers and the curious to see how artworks are conserved.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

The PAOTY Trek to Battersea Arts Centre

I forgot to mention on Monday - in my post Call for Entries: Portrait Artist of the Year 2020 - that the venue for the Heats has CHANGED.

Artists will no longer "enjoy" the ever-changing light on both sitter and portrait caused by the overhead glass in the Wallace Collection's central atrium.

Instead they'll "enjoy" the trek out to the Battersea Arts Centre where the Heats are being held in 2019.

Battersea Arts Centre - see Your Visit
We will be filming the heats of Portrait Artist of the Year on weekdays at the Battersea Arts Centre in London, from the 2nd April to the 11th April.Storyvault Films
I'm assuming the programme makers have hired The Grand Hall (which has been recently refurbished) - in which case the artists get to enjoy its stained glass dome ceiling in the adjoining entrance hall!  The windows high on the walls suggest that selected artists are still going to have to play the "plein air portrait painter painting indoors" game.

The venue is something of a curious choice. It's a long day and I'd have thought a venue rather closer to one of the main line stations where people coming in from a long journey (eg - from the west to Paddington or from the Midlands or North to Euston/Kings's Cross) would have made more sense. Unless they get put up overnight in London the night before....

Battersea just isn't one of those places that people go to a lot - and that's because it's not so easy to get to (as in the London definition that anything more than a 5 minute walk from the tube is stretching it!).

So here's a Google Map PLUS the Centre's definition of how to get to it.

You can use the Google Map to estimate the length of time from your start point to the centre. Select  the Directions arrow and input your start point and choose the mode of travel.

  • BY TRAIN - Battersea Arts Centre is 7 minute walk from Clapham Junction station. There are direct trains from Waterloo and Victoria, and Clapham Junction is on the Overground route from East London.
  • BY TUBE - The closest Underground stations to Battersea Arts Centre are Clapham Common (Northern line) and Stockwell (Victoria line) These stations are approximately a 15-20 minute bus journey away. The 345 bus departs from outside both stations and stops outside Battersea Arts Centre.
  • BY BUS - Routes 345, 77, 87 and 156 stop on Lavender Hill outside Battersea Arts Centre.

Most roads around Battersea Arts Centre have residential and restricted parking between the hours of 8am and 6:30pm, Monday to Saturday.
I recommend that those chosen as portrait artists - and those visiting the Heats to watch - all allow PLENTY of time to get there.  Artists may also want to invest in something on wheels to move their kit!

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Call for Entries: Portrait Artist of the Year 2020

You have a month to enter sky arts Portrait Artist of the Year 2020. The deadline for entries to this prestigious art competition with a £10,000 commission first prize is 22nd February 2019

The benefits of entering Portrait Artist of the Year 

Benefits include:

  • the chance to win a £10,000 commission for a portrait of a well known figure for a major British institution 
  • £500 of art materials from Cass Art 
  • becoming a well known name - due to the fact that 
  • it's the most popular art programme on television - and there are LOTS of people watching 
  • being watched by LOTS of people - and raising your profile if you impress those viewing 
  • facing a challenge you're unlikely to experience again 
  • becoming part of the community of artists who've "got the T shirt" 
The less wonderful side of entering
  • you fancied being on the box so you could tell all your friends about it 
  • being watched by LOTS of people 
  • AND regretting that you ever entered because 
    • you didn't do your homework 
    • you didn't practise in advance working to 3 hours (i.e. nobody gets 4 hours!) 
    • your portrait was a mess and looked awful 
The Producer accepts no responsibility for any damage, loss, liabilities, injury or disappointment incurred or suffered by You as a result of Your entering into the Competition.
So what's the worst that can happen if you enter - apart from the above?

This is how a reject letter reads

Dear Artist

Thank you for your application to Portrait Artist of the Year 2019.

We have received even more applications this year. The judges have now examined every single submission, and have been more impressed than ever with the standard of the artwork. As always, their job whittling these down to a shortlist of just 72 artists to take part in 8 heats has not been an easy one, but on this occasion we regret to inform you that your application has not been successful.

Due to increasing popularity with the public it has been necessary this year to ticket the heats at the Wallace Collection in London and all the sessions are now fully booked. If you are not attending the heats we sincerely hope you will tune in to watch the new series when it transmits on Sky Arts in January 2019, and also be inspired to enter again next year.

Don’t forget the deadline for Landscape Artist of the Year 2018 is 11th May, so there is still time to submit your application!

We hugely appreciate the time and effort you put in to enter our competition, and commiserate that this isn’t the news you’d hoped to receive. Without your enthusiasm and talent this would be a very different series.

As a small thanks we have also attached a voucher for Cass Arts.

With very best wishes we thank you again for your interest in and support of Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year.

The Portrait Artist of the Year team

What's it like on the day? AND if you don't get selected to progress in the competition

This is a very good blog post by somebody who participated in 2017 - on the day I watched - re the 2018 contest, shown earlier this year on Sky Arts channel. It explains who the whole day works and what are the challenges that artists have to deal with.

....and now you've got that out of the way you can get on with the business of applying for Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year 2020!

Here's how to enter

This is a summary of:
  • PROCESS: how the competition works
  • Who can enter 
  • Portrait Artist of the Year 20209 - before the deadline for filming in April 2019 
  • Plus TIPS on how to enhance your entry. 
You can also follow Sky Arts’ Twitter and Facebook page for updates.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

RA Summer Exhibition 2019 UPDATE + prediction re emphasis of selected work

This is an update about
  • the background of the coordinator and people who make up the Selection and Hanging Committee of the Summer Exhibition 2019 at the Royal Academy of Arts
  • my prediction as to the emphasis of work that will be selected from the Open Entry for the Summer Exhibition.
(See my blog post RA Summer Exhibition 2019: Call for 12,000 entries)

I'm very pleased to see that the RA is now commenting on my Facebook Posts! This time to provide an alert that there is an update on the names of the Co-ordinator and the Selection and Hanging Committee.

It's always good to have any comments about the overall intentions of the coordinator BEFORE people enter their work.  Maybe next year, the information can be again be available before the call to entries goes online?

So who's doing what?

Selecting Committee, Royal Academy, circa 1892
by Reginald Cleaver | pen and ink | circa 1892
NPG 4245© National Portrait Gallery, London (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

PS I do wish there were more contemporary illustrations or paintings of the Selection Committee at work. Photos don't quite do it for me!

Summer Exhibition 2019 Coordinator

Jock McFadyen RA is the 2019 Coordinator of the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts.

The most important thing for prospective entrants to know is that he is a PAINTER and a landscape painter at that!

He has this to say about his proposals for this Summer Exhibition
"The focus this year will be on artwork in all media which responds to the contemporary world. I hope to welcome back many of the artists who have been exhibiting at the Royal Academy over the last few years and look forward to presenting new artists in the exhibition."
I thought contemporary art was by definition a response to the contemporary world - but heyho!

It does rather feel like a statement written by a press relations person which says nothing and rules nobody in and nobody out. I much preferred the one we had one from Grayson Perry last year.

However as I went on and found out more about him, his statement of what he wants assumes more importance in the context of the road he has travelled with his painting (see below)

Clues as to who Jock McFadyen is can be found in:

Some facts:

  • born in Paisley in 1950, attended Saturday morning classes at Glasgow School of Art, 
  • 1966, age 15, he moved to England
  • studied at Chelsea Art School (BA in 1976 and MA in 1977)
  • 1970s - made his name with schematic narrative painting - which he has since left behind. He describes his work at the time as 'ironic and clever' - a painter's commentary on the art (anything but painting) being done by other artists at the time
  • 1980-2005 - he taught one day a week at the Slade School of Art
  • lives and works in London (and Edinburgh) - specifically "lived and worked in the East End since 1978, with studios in Butler’s Wharf, Bow and the Truman Brewery before arriving in London Fields twenty years ago." - which coincidentally is the same amount of time I've lived in the East End.
Hidden behind an old terrace facing London Fields is a back street with a scrapyard and a car repair garage, and a row of anonymous industrial units where painter Jock McFadyen has his studio. You enter through a narrow alley round the back to discover Jock in his lair, a scrawny Scotsman with freckles, tufts of ginger hair, and beady eyes that look right through you. Jock McFadyen, Painter | Spitalfields Life
  • 1981 - artist in residence at the National Gallery. He painted the world he observed and what he saw on the streets. His work was figurative and included people and gradually became more realistic
  • 1991 - Prize winner John Moores Liverpool Exhibition 17
  • 1991 - commissioned by the Artistic Records Committee of the Imperial War Museum to record events surrounding the dismantling of the Berlin Wall 
  • 1992 - to date: He has focused on painting places - landscape painting on a monumental scale as a serious comment on life in the modern urban environment (with no figures). He also likes road paintings and panavision.
  • 2005 - He and his wife founded "The Grey Gallery" in 2005. It's nomadic and works with artists, musicians and writers. McFadyen is said to be keen on working across disciplines and working outside of the existing dealer/ curator conventions. 
  • he has had over 40 solo exhibitions 
  • his work is held by 30 public collections as well as private and corporate collections in Britain and abroad.  Interesting most of the public collections are located in the Midlands, North and Scotland.
  • 2012 Elected Royal Academician

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Selection and Hanging Committee 2019

Those RA members participating in the selection and hanging of the work in 2019 are listed below. The link in their name is to their RA Profile page.

My overriding impression, based on reviewing who the selectors are, is that this exhibition will have a STRONG EMPHASIS on various ways of depicting:
  • landscapes, 
  • the built environment of the present day 
  • construction 
  • maybe the end of the world as we know it?
Check out the links to images of their artwork below if you don't believe me!

Friday, January 18, 2019

The Artisans #2 - Stephen Winstanley, Niamh Wimperis and Rod Hughes

It's the second episode of the Victorian House of Arts and Crafts tonight - and further to my last post - The Artisans without a credit on Arts and Crafts House - I'm very pleased to say that since my last blog post:
  • the artists sent a link to it to that post to the Managing Director of the television company that makes the programme
  • he referred it to the BBC
  • the BBC have given permission to change the end credits so that ALL THE NAMES of the artisans/crafters will now be included.
I call that a RESULT!

[UPDATE: The second episode included the names of ALLl the crafters - right after the presenters - in the credits roll at the end of the programme]

The Artisans - (top row - Left to right) Abdollah Nafisi, Ilsa Parry, Niamh Wimperis,
(Bottom row - left to right) Rod Hughes,Stephen Winstanley, Bryony Knox

So here's the second tranche of artisans who are contributing to the series. They include the youngest and the oldest of the participants.  They are - in order of youth!
  • Stephen Winstanley - age 25
  • Niamh Wimperis age 27
  • Rod Hughes - age 62

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year 2019 starts on....

They're back - and finally we have an answer

The image in the Sky Arts Twitter Banner has changed....

For those who can't wait until the end of the video or can't access it

The new series of Sky Arts Portrait Artist of he Year 2019 starts on....

My reviews of each episode will start shortly thereafter

I'll be interested to see whether they credit the participating artists by written name in the credits of each episode... (see The Artists without a credit on Arts and Crafts House - which has now been sorted due to my post!)

You can follow updates on the Sky Arts Twitter account. I bet we see a few snippets of videos between now and 12 February 2019!

Monday, January 14, 2019

The Artisans without a credit on Arts and Crafts House

This post is about introducing the six artisans appearing in a short series on BBC called "The Victorian Arts and Crafts House"
  • Today I'm doing the first three - Bryony Knox, Abdollah Nafisi and Ilsa Parry
  • Tomorrow I will introduce the other three - Rod Hughes,  Niamh Wimperis and Stephen Winstanley
(Left to right) Rod Hughes, Ilsa Parry, Stephen Winstanley, Bryony Knox, Niamh Wimperis, and Abdollar Nafisi

As I indicated yesterday in The Victorian House of Arts and Crafts - Episode 1 I'm pretty tired of seeing the various television companies make programmes involving people who have expertise without any credit whatsoever.

They don't need to include their websites and be accused of advertising.

However they do however need to respect them as adult human beings with skills and talents and NAME THEM - with surnames!

By way of making up for this very marked deficiency in respect and human rights I propose today to set out a brief summary (below) of each of the artisans - with their FULL NAMES and links to their websites and any other relevant/related sites including videos.

Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful William Morris
A common theme among the crafters is that the aspect of the project they found the most challenging - living with no power, no light when the sun went down, and no connection to normal life - was also the most rewarding. As Bryony points out, working with hand tools “links you back to craftspeople from hundreds and thousands of years ago”, while Abdollah adds “Very little access to tools and materials pushed me to the edge, which made me more creative.” The Telegraph

Sunday, January 13, 2019

The Victorian House of Arts and Crafts - Episode 1

I watched The Victorian House of Arts and Crafts on Friday night and was quite pleasantly surprised.  On the whole I'd recommend it as worth watching.

It was mostly about the reality of making arts and crafts objects for the parlour of "The Victorian House" used for the series (emphasis on the quotes - see below as to why) - and not too much about the clash of personalities (yet!).

There again let's see what happens in Episode 2 - on BBC2 at 9pm on Fridays.
Episode 1 is available to watch by all those who can get BBC iPlayer.
The Arts and Crafts House in the series - Wyndcliffe Court
see more below as to why this is a contradiction in terms
In this new, unique four-part series a late 1800s Victorian Arts & Crafts commune in the Welsh hills has been painstakingly brought back to life as a group of six 21st century crafters - three men and three women - move in to experience the highs and lows of living and working together as a creative commune.
Over their month-long stay the crafters are set to renovate four of the key spaces in the house. BBC

Why are the "makers" always kept anonymous?

Trying to work out who the artisans are was well nigh impossible - I finally found a photo with names.

Pictured: Rod Hughes, Niamh Wimperis, Patch Rogers, Ilsa Braniff, Anita Rani, Keith Brymer Jones, Abdollah Nafisa, Bryony Knox, Stephen Winstanley

I am getting very tired of the people who genuinely make the programme i.e. the people making things whether it's paintings or crafts - having their names left out of the press releases, the credits at the end of the programme and in general receiving very little formal recognition.

I can only assume one of two things
  • EITHER the union for people who appear on television must have an absolute stranglehold on the bosses and refuse to allow the participants to enjoy the same benefits as those who hold union cards
  • OR the bosses buying and/or making the programme are not prepared to pay the going rate for others who would normally appear on such programmes.  I gather from various people that the amounts they get paid are nominal in the extreme!
To me this is simply unacceptable.
  • It's treating artists and craftspeople as commodities and not as people or professionals.
  • Worse still, it treats them as anonymous nonentities who don't deserve a named credit when the credits roll at the end. Every other professional working on the programme is listed EXCEPT FOR THE PEOPLE WHO ARE MAKING THINGS ON THE PROGRAMME!
The cook who appeared for 10 seconds gets a credit - but the artisans don't!

I feel very strongly this is wrong

I came across this website about freelance fees - and anybody appearing on television might want to take a look at what the television companies pay for expert comment in other areas of television

[ UPDATE: see also my other posts. I'm very pleased to tell you that the artisans wrote to the producers of the programme about the lack of name credit - quoting my blog post - and by the second episode, they'd got their name credit at the end of the programme!

The people getting paid properly

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Thoughts while hibernating - about new websites

This time of year I like to hibernate. It's the short days.  It also gives me time to think about what next...

In recent weeks I've been trying to work out what to do with respect to this blog and other things I want to do.  Hence the long gaps between very sporadic posts.

I operate by making use of (I hope) intelligent use of my gut reaction a lot of the time. This in turn is influenced by lots of bits of information picked up along the way, around and about. If my gut won't let me do something I have to listen to it.

Just recently it's been telling me to stop and think and to not be a slave to my regular blog posts and to think about what else I want to do.

Today I was advising somebody about a matter she was involved in where she could see she had opted for the short term least resistant option. I counselled that, in general, it's far better to think much longer term - and then match up your short term actions to steps to achieving where you want to be in the longer term - so that your short term actions match up and support your long term goals.

Which is not say you can't go off piste from time to time - but it can be risky - even terminal....!

Bottom line - I've been trying to get a couple of new "resources for artists" websites off the ground now for two years. They've been sat in draft and while they progress a little bit from time to time, they really need some concerted work to get them sorted enough to publish.

One of them is below.

The Home Page of my Tips for Artists website - a work in progress
The websites are informed by the fact that

  • lots of visits to my blog are visiting old blog posts
  • this blog has been very diverse in its nature whereas there's a trend to become increasingly focused around specific topics - and the development of niche websites.

A lot of visits to this blog are accessing past blog posts

By past I mean ones I wrote years ago when I used to do a major blog project each year.

I used to have a strategy for making archived blog posts relating to past projects or long term topics of interest - like Composition and Colour - more accessible which worked well. 

However that got scuppered some time ago when Seth Godin sold out of an enterprise I was involved in which gave me scope to provide individual websites for individual topics - at no cost to me.

Niche websites work

So now - in order to make the information collected over the years writing this blog more accessible, I have to pay for the websites to develop the topic areas - and it's really stupid paying for websites which are not published!

My first two websites - Botanical Art and Artists  and Art Business Info for Artists - have had different levels of success - but are both now being increasingly referenced by a wider audience, many of whom did not know about Making A Mark.

In fact, I'd go so far as to say that my first new website (about botanical art - a favourite topic of mine) is now MORE successful than Making A Mark.
  • it took 5.5 years to get to one million visitors on Making A Mark (see
    Making A Mark notches up 1 million visits
  • and I learned a lot while working on the blog which is why..... 
  • it took me just 3.5 years to get to one million visits to Botanical Artists. It also has a low bounce rate because it is a niche audience and once found the devoted fans of botanical art tend to keep visiting!
So demand for the back catalogue + topic websites looking for a new home = a new niche website

It took a while to work out what these should be. They've also been through a few name changes

However, my consensus (after considerable internal debate - I give myself a hard time sometimes) is that they will be:

Saturday, January 05, 2019

RA sends out hundreds of repeat emails to Summer Exhibition applicants

If today you tried to buy an application form to enter the 2019 Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts, you've doubtless been facing down by a barrage of hundreds of repeat emails for a significant part of the day.

It's not you - IT'S THEM!

Below is the small message on the Summer Exhibition 2019 - Call for Entries Page - which indicates they had a problem.

The RA Admission they had a bit of a problem with sending their emails
The first I knew of the problem was when an artist contacted me to ask if I could put up a message on my Facebook Page to see if it was happening to anyone else
Help! Can you please ask if anyone else who has purchased an entry for the summer exhibition has been getting the same email titled “summer exhibition 2019- submission deadline reminder” every minute or so for the last hour??? No idea how to stop them!!
I tried a few numbers but it’s Saturday! If you can think of any number please let me know! Still coming in thick and fast, I’m not on twitter but i might see if there’s anything about it. Must have deleted 150 emails since 11.30! Could be my server too but it’s only one email continuously coming in.
Conversation from my FB Page Inbox

The message went up on my Making A Mark Facebook Page and lo and behold the messages came back that this was NOT an isolated incident

Multiple people were affected - including Jen Gash, the winner of the Sky Arts Landscape Artist of the Year 2018!

People were having to delete HUNDREDS OF EMAILS from the RA!!!

Comments on my FB Post

So - in case you didn't know and you applied for a form today and then went off to do other things, you might find a bit of a surprise when you open your inbox! 

The notice indicates the problem has now finished. Let's hope it doesn't happen again!

As my correspondent noted.....
I just spoke to them- they’ve finally fixed it. After 150 emails in 20 minutes of the final flurry!!
For those of you who diverted all emails from the RA to your spam box, don't forget to undo the filter so they can write to tell you that you've got selected for the second stage! :)

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

RA Summer Exhibition 2019: Call for 12,000 entries

Digital entries for the 2019 Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts can start being submitted online from tomorrow - 3rd January 2018.

This post is about how to enter the world's largest open submission art competition showcasing painting, sculpture, photography, printmaking, architecture and film.
  • for those who have not submitted before - and
  • for those who have just forgotten how and need a reminder!
The Summer Exhibition 2019 this year runs from Monday June 10 2019 - Monday August 12 2019.

View of Summer Exhibition 2018 (c) David Parry.jpg      
The Summer Exhibition 2018 generated more than £5 million in artwork sales, many of which were made online, and attracted 300,000 visitors.

10 things you need to know about entering the RA's Summer Exhibition 2019

Artists wishing to enter the 2019 Summer Exhibition need to know six things up front and four more things which help them understand what the chances are of getting selected
  • Entry to the RA Summer Exhibition opens on 3rd January 2019 (tomorrow)
  • If your entry is not one of the first 12,000 entries received you won't be exhibited. The RA only accept 12,000 entries for the first round of screening digital entries. Leave it too late to buy an entry and you will not be entering. [UPDATE: The RA have informed me that they eliminated the 12,0000 CAP on the number of entries two years ago - although I confess I never saw an announcement]
  • ALL entries - for the initial screening - are digital
  • You must buy an online entry form to be able to enter and 
    • you can't get a form until you have Summer Exhibition Account
    • you MUST decide whether you want an entry form for one work or two works BEFORE you make your purchase (i.e. you can't buy a second form for one work later)
  • You must have an Summer Exhibition Online Account to enter:
    • If you have submitted before you already have one of these  - you just need to remember how to access it!
    • If you've not submitted before you need to register and they will then send you a link to your new account. See FAQ: How to create an account 
    • Having an account does not mean you can submit work - but it does mean you can buy an entry form
    • The price per entry is £35 per work. (Note: Complaining about the fee is really boring - and ignorant. This exhibitions raises funds for students to get a FREE education at the RA Schools. Plus nobody makes you enter and if you think the RA is totally obnoxious don't even bother contemplating an entry - you can stop reading here!)
    • No payment = no entry. 
    • No refunds if you don't use the form
  • The deadline for entries is midnight on Wednesday 13 February 2019 (i.e. you have six weeks!)
    • You can edit and save your artwork details - and then wait to submit - until you submit your Entry Form - but once submitted there can be no changes
  • Stage 1: Digital Image Screening
    • Shortlisted works from the first round of selection will be announced on [THIS IS AN UPDATE] Thursday 14 March 2019
    • Only one third (c.4,000) will be shortlisted for the second round of selection. 
  • Stage 2: Screening by the Selection Panel 
    • You must deliver unwrapped artwork on specific days at specific times - depending on what it is (see Instructions - para 2) between 30 April and 2nd May
    • If you get through to the second stage you will then have between 15 - 20% chance of getting your work included in the exhibition - something like 700 exhibits by non-RA members.
    • The final list of exhibitors for the Summer Exhibition will be announced [THIS IS AN UPDATE] on MONDAY 20 May 2019
  • Lots of people are just like you! 
    • Lots of people enter and do not get selected. Probably best to assume you won't and hope you will.
    • Lots of people enter and don't tell anyone - unless their work gets selected for the exhibition! 
    • So if you want to keep quiet you've got lots of good company 
  • Lots of people don't read all the instructions
    • Typically they're the ones who don't get selected either.
    • Often they make out they meant to enter but forgot. That's often because they put off reading the instruction. Often because they really don't like reading lots of extremely long instructions.
    • They should have read this post!!
The deadline for registering to enter the Summer Exhibition and submitting the digital photographs of your work online is 23:59 (GMT) on Wednesday 13 February 2019. Entries cannot be submitted after this deadline.