Thursday, October 31, 2019

Review: 2019 Annual Exhibition of the Society of Wildlife Artists

The Natural Eye 2019 - this year's Annual Exhibition of the Society of Wildlife Artists opened to the public at the Mall Galleries last Thursday (10am - 5pm) and closes at 10pm on Sunday 3rd November.

As I indicated on my Facebook Page last week, if you mention that you follow "Making A Mark" at the front desk then you'll get admission of two people for free (normal admission is £4).

Sickle winged swifts by SWLA President Harriet Mead and some of the larger paintings
in the annual exhibition of the Society of Wildlife Artists

As always it's an EXCELLENT exhibition which I very much recommend to those interested in wildlife art - with 371 artworks for sale - and a number of others which relate to projects the SWLA has been involved in.

It's a hugely colourful exhibition which is very nicely hung. Artworks are nicely grouped in terms of similar types of species. This in turn is influenced by artists who have focused on presenting a coherent body of work for the exhibition.

There is always something different - and surprising - which makes you marvel at how top notch wildlife artists come up with their ideas for how to represent a species.

I've been feeling unwell with a nasty cough/bug following my return flight from the USA after attending an art conference - and "too much air-conditioning"! So yesterday was the first time I felt up to going into town to see the exhibition.

This is going to be a review of the exhibition - and I'm going to follow up with another post about the exhibition metrics and sales next week as there's a very interesting story to tell - which I think both wildlife artists and other art societies will be interested in.

Below are more images of the artwork in the exhibition.

You can also view artwork from the exhibition in an album of my photos SWLA: The Natural Eye 2019 on my Facebook Page.

Main Gallery - paintings and sculpture

Main Gallery - paintings and sculpture

What's special about this exhibition

The Society of Wildlife Artists is a British organisation for artists who paint or draw wildlife. What makes its exhibitions distinctively different is that this is an organisation which
  • is not a fan of photorealistic drawings and paintings - based on photos - of wildlife
  • embraces all media for drawing, painting and prints
  • relishes in a diversity of styles displayed by its members 
  • does like birds - rather a lot!
However these are perennial truths which are self-evident from the artwork in their exhibitions....

What's different and special this year is.....

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Hugo Crosthwaite wins 2019 Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition with an animation.

The Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition 2019 - held on a triennial basis at the National Portrait Gallery (part of the Smithsonian) in Washington DC - announced both prizewinners and selected artists last week.

One frame from the first prizewinner's three minute stop-motion drawing animation
reflecting on the challenges of migration

The intention of the competition is that it should reflect American Portraiture today.
Every three years, artists living and working in the United States are invited by the museum to submit one of their recent portraits to a panel of experts. The selected artworks reflect the compelling and diverse approaches contemporary artists are using to tell the American story through portraiture.
I wrote about the Call for Entries: 2019 Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition back in June 2018.

Forty-six portraits were selected by a blind jury on merit from this open call, which generated more than 2,600 entries (Percentage rate of those selected: 1.76% )
The Outwin 2019 presents work in a variety of media by artists from 14 states across the U.S., Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico.
What I'm most impressed with - as I am with the Archibald Prize for Portraiture in Australia - is the standard of portraiture. Every time I see the artwork in one or the other of these two competitions I think a rethink of the BP Portrait Prize at the National Portrait Gallery in London. (of which more anon!)

You can see artwork in the exhibition on the website


The winning artworks reflect the compelling and diverse approaches contemporary artists are using to tell the American story through portraiture.

First Place: Hugo Crosthwaite

The prize is
  • $25,000 cash prize and 
  • a commission to create a portrait of a remarkable living American for the National Portrait Gallery’s permanent collection
Hugo Crosthwaite, San Diego, California
A Portrait of Berenice Sarmiento Chávez
Stop-motion drawing animation (3:12 min.), 2018

"A Portrait of Berenice Sarmiento Chávez" (2018) is part of a series based on artist Hugo Crosthwaite’s interviews with people who are living in or are passing through Tijuana. The resultant improvised drawings represent the collective memories and oral histories from that part of the Mexico-U.S. border. Set to the soundtrack of a dissonant guitar and a raspy voice singing in Spanish, this animated video reveals the dreams and experiences of a young woman who seeks to take part in the American Dream. Black ink, gray wash, and white paint—applied by the invisible hand of the artist— take turns to expose Berenice Sarmiento Chávez’s humble background and the threat of violence in her home country that pushed her to immigrate to the United States. The film suggests that the immigration journey is seeded with constant danger.
Crosthwaite is the first Latinx artist to receive this prestigious award since the national competition was founded in 2006. (Note: Latinx is a gender-neutral neologism, sometimes used instead of Latino or Latina to refer to people of Latin American cultural or racial identity in the United States.)

Second Place ($7,500): Sam Comen

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Drawings and prints - an exhibition in Brooklyn

Two weeks ago today, I saw the Rembrandt to Picasso: Five Centuries of European Works on Paper exhibition (June 21–October 13, 2019) at the Brooklyn Museum.

Images of my photos of the exhibition
Today I've loaded my photos from the exhibition into an album on my Making A Mark Facebook Page - also called Rembrandt to Picasso: Five Centuries of European Works on Paper  - for all those who love drawings and prints but were unable to see the exhibition.

The exhibition included fine art prints - using various methods by
  • Albrecht Durer (1471-1528)
  • Rembrandt van Rijn (1606 -1669)
  • Honore Daumier (1808 - 1879)
  • Edgar Degas (1834 - 1917)
  • Paul Cezanne (1839 - 1906)
  • Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841 - 1919) 
  • Paul Signac (1863 - 1935)
  • Henri de Toulouse Lautrec (1864 - 1901)
  • Pierre Bonnard (1867 - 1947)
  • Edouard Vuillard (1868 - 1940)
  • Henri Matisse (1869 - 1954)
Plus drawings in different media and watercolour sketches by
  • Rosa Bonheur (1822 - 1899)
  • Jean-Francois Millet (1814 - 1875)
  • Paul Cezanne (1839 - 1906)
  • Berthe Morisot (1841 - 1895)
  • Vincent van Gogh (1853 - 1890)
  • Suzanne Valadon (1865 - 1938)
  • Kathe Kollwitz (1865 - 1945)
  • Pablo Picasso (1881 - 1973)
  • Amadeo Modigliano (1884 - 1920)
I looked through their Collection categories but they don't have a category for drawing (1751 items) and/or print (3052 itemsand/or works on paper. More's the pity. However you do get to see rather a lot of unsorted works which fall within these categories - and it's worth taking a look.

They've also got lists of the titles and dates of past exhibition - but no digital archives of the works that were on show in these exhibitions.

I do hope that museums will soon realise that by showing digitised images after the event that will generate more visitors in the future!

Friday, October 25, 2019

Review: Episode 1 of Landscape Artist of the Year 2019 at Smeaton Tower, Plymouth Hoe

One day on and one episode back - this is a review of Heat 1 of Landscape Artist of the Year 2019 - located next to Smeaton's Tower at Plymouth Hoe.

It looks as if this heat had nearly as much rain as the heat at Hurstmonceaux Observatory (in the next episode - see my review!)

a grey and rainy day at Plymouth Hoe - with three cloudbursts and lots of wind and not a lot of sun

The Location

Smeaton's Tower is on Plymouth Hoe. It's a HUGE lighthouse with very striking red and white banding.  The pods were located right next to it.

Plymouth Hoe is where, according to one of those good history stories, Sir Francis Drake played a game of bowls in 1588 while waiting for the tide to change before he sailed off with the English fleet to engage with the Spanish Armada.

Smeaton's Tower is the upper portion of Eddystone Lighthouse built by the father of civil engineering John Smeaton. It which was originally built on the Eddystone Rocks, located 14 miles (22.5 km) to the south, in 1759. In 1877, it was dismantled and moved, stone by stone, to the Hoe where it was re-erected.

The weather

Given the challenges of plein air painting in bad weather, I feel as if I need to do a weather update for each location!

more rain and more umbrellas for the wildcard artists
Note the pods in the background - right next to the Tower

It appears the weather changed for this one about every 20 minutes. It certainly rained (a lot) - and the wind certainly blew (a lot) - and those wearing warm waterproof clothes were probably very glad they'd been sensible!

The day of the competition started out sunny, but soon the wind and rain swept in and the temperature dropped. My fingers were frozen but my spirits were high. The weather demanded a stormy sky which practically painted itself. Maggie O'Keeffe
In the run up to the filming day in Plymouth in June, I had been monitoring the weather forecast and a sunny but breezy day was predicted. However, during filming there were three major cloudbursts and lots of breaks for interviews, which certainly made for a challenging environment in which to paint. Tony Munns
Indeed, as we watched the programme, one wildcard artist chatting to Joan Bakewell tried to stop one of her five umbrellas from blowing inside out! She failed!

The Artists

Artists at rest - after the Heat and while the Judges are reviewing their paintings
It's interesting that both amateur artists have recorded the experience of participating in a television programme via a dedicated page on their website - and only one of the professional artists did!

Six Professional Artists

  • William Balthazar Rose - an English painter who has a long and very detailed biography and a studio in studio on Monte Corona in Umbria. Has exhibited extensively and is represented by a number of galleries - and I don't suppose any of them will be ecstatic by his "performance" in the programme.
  • Zosia Olenska (Facebook | Instagram) - an emerging artist based in York. Grew up the daughter of two artists in London and moved to Yorkshire over ten years ago. Won the Jackson’s Art Supplies ‘Atmospheric Acrylics’ competition in 2017. Exhibited with the Society of Women Artists in 2018 and 2019  She's exhibiting at the Windsor Art Fair on November 9th & 10th and and York Open Studios in Spring 2020. This is her submission.
  • Cathy Reddy (Instagram) - an artist very much in need of a website! Comes from Carlow, Ireland. She mainly works in the medium of relief printmaking. Linocuts are her favorite medium. Her work concerns the loss of agriculture, in Ireland. She previously participated in the Knaresborough heat in 2017. 
  • Dante Turner (Instagram) - Participated in Review: Episode 4 of Portrait Artist of the Year 2019 Nothing much online. A Peruvian artist who lives in Somerset with his husband. He won the Public Choice Prize at Wells Art Contemporary (WAC) Competition and Exhibition in 2016. 
  • Lisa Turner (FacebookTwitter | Instagram) - a formally trained artist, specialising in landscape painting. She is a a co-founder of Abingdon Art School, where I teach on a weekly basis. This is her blog post about painting Smeaton's Tower
  • Andrew Wykes - Born in the UK just outside of London and lives in Northfield, Minnesota. Studied at Richmond upon Thames College, and Epsom School of Art and Design where he received his undergraduate qualifications in fine art. Graduated with an MFA in painting from the American University, Washington, DC. He has taught art for thirty+ years in schools and colleges in the UK, Belgium and the US.  Currently a Professor and Chair of Studio Arts and Art History Department. Hamline University, St Paul, MN. My personal favourite painter in the programme. It turns out that he reminds Tai of his teacher! This is his submission.

Two Amateur Artists

50 Wildcard Artists

Some of the 50 Wildcard artists getting ready to set-up for their four hours

Themes and Learning Points

A dominant vertical and a strong horizontal and an awful lot of water

I'm minded to wonder to what extent the locations chosen this time are preparing artists for Venice - which is the location of the commission. I have a sneaking suspicion the view is going to involve both dominant vertical structures and an awful lot of water!

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Review: Episode 2 of Landscape Artist of the Year 2019 at Herstmonceux Observatory

The heat for Episode 2 of Landscape Artist of the Year 2019 was held at Herstmonceux Observatory in Sussex - and experienced the worst rain ever on Landscape Artist of the Year!

(I'll be doing the review of Episode 1 tomorrow - as I was in New York when it was broadcast).

Tiny pods (top left) next to huge domes and lots of shiny mirror spheres at Herstmonceux Observatory

This is the fifth series of the show, which is produced for Sky Arts by London and Glasgow-based independent production company Storyvault Films. 48 artists took part in six heats over the course of June and July

"Artist of the Year" is one of the most popular programmes produced by Sky Arts and the audience for the landscape artist of the year programme seems to grow with every series.
LAOTY boasts the titles of “best-performing, non-scripted series of all time” and second-biggest series ever for Sky Arts, with viewing figures growing over the course of the series.
You can view it
  • on Tuesday evening at 8pm on Sky Arts
  • anytime you like using the NOW TV app to watch on a mobile device or your own TV - if you have a subscription (which is what I do - see my blog post about how to do this)
Now for the episode which aired last night.

The Location

This is what the subject SHOULD have looked like - on a good day!

I suspect the above images of the set-up of the pods in front of the Observatory were taken before or after the hours in which they were in use by the artists - when the skies were grey, there was thunder overhead and the rain was bucketing down - for hours on end!

This was the reality in the rain....... Judging by where the artists have set-up and the amount of rain on the front half of the platform, it very much looks as if the front half of the pods were unusable.

Very wet pods in the rain under a grey sky

Herstmonceux Observatory is no longer the official observatory (which moved to Cambridge in 1990) - although the telescopes are still there. It's now an educational building for science related matters - and the mirror spheres represent the solar system!

The Judges as always are Kathleen Soriano and Tai-Shan Schierenberg and a very pregnant Kate Bryan.

The Artists

Links to websites are embedded in their name and links to their social media sites follow their name.
Interestingly Sky Arts are now routinely highlighting the website and social media links of each artist in each episode - on this page - however they've also had somebody insert links who has  EXCLUDED the colon in virtually every URL - so they don't work!

You can find the LIVE LINKS below!

Four Professional Artists 

There were four professional artists
  • Pippa Cunningham (Instagram) - from Brighton, Sussex. Studied printed textiles and graduated from the Royal College of Art in 1994. She paints in a gestural, sketchy and bright colourful way - and her paintings often include overseas locations. She has undertaken commissions to do paintings for a diverse range of clients.  This was her submission
  • James Hayes (Instagram | Twitter) - Born in Cork in 1987. He studied architecture at Dublin University College - Bachelor of Science (2009), Bachelor of Architecture (2012) and Masters of Architecture (2013) and holds a Post-graduate Diploma in Professional Practice in Architecture (2016) from the University of Westminster. He is a chartered architect in Ireland (MRIAI) and the UK (ARB).  He is a free-lance illustrator, visual artist, practicing architect (and all-round wearer of different creative hats..) based in the south-west of Ireland. He encompasses a range of media from hand-drawing to oil painting to a form of hybrid digital image making - combining traditional techniques with a few modern ones - based on his architectural background. In my opinion he draws extremely well - but I'm unclear how much is derived from digital images. This was his submission.
  • Patsy Moore - lives and works as an artist and tutor in West Sussex. Exhibits regularly with the Association of Sussex Artists and on several occasions with the Royal Society of Marine Artists and the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolour. She teaches art via a weekly art class, one-to-one individual tuition, demonstrations and workshops with art societies, residential and non residential art holidays and art classes onboard cruise ships. 
  • Stephen Royles (Instagram) - Born in Withington, Manchester, 1982. Lives and works in Bolton, Greater Manchester. Studied at Bath Spa University, 2003 and U.C.L.A.N, BA (hons) Fine Art, 2006. He focuses on urban landscapes - so I guess they thought he would be good at weird buildings! This was his submission.

Four Amateur Artists

  • Roy Carless - lives in Hartlepool. He won the Wildcard Artist in the Episode of Landscape Artist of the Year 2017 at South Gare on Tees (see this blog post which features his painting)
  • Drew Carr (Facebook Etsy) - a Glasgow based architect - who paints landscape paintings based on running and travel adventures. This was his submission. (He needs a proper website!)
  • Tamara Savchenko (Facebook Instagram Twitter) - from Russia; lives in Exeter. Likes to focus on straight lines and in particular triangles. Exhibits her art regularly and is a member of Devon Artists Network, Exeter Abstract Art Group, Exeter Cultural Partnership and The Cult House, London. This was her submission
I lived in four countries, graduated as a doctor and had a PhD in medicine. I worked as a librarian, a researcher, taught anatomy in a medical school in Russia; a sales assistant, an Avon representative, a science technician and finally a science teacher in the UK. In addition to it I have been a mother of two children and a wife to a successful professor of physics.
  • Chi Yien Snow (Facebook Instagram) - Relocated to Clevedon, near Bristol from London in 2017. Mother to two young girls. Graduated with a degree in film and animation.  Spent over 15 years working as a graphic designer. Works in acrylic and oils. This was her submission

....and this is her blog post GOODNESS GRACIOUS GREAT BALLS OF HERSTMONCEUX about the day the episode was shot - and what it's like being an artist in a pod!

50 Wildcard Artists

50 Wildcard artists were nearby but painting a completely different view - of Herstmonceux Castle - which has a moat with brown water according to Tai!

Wildcard artists arriving and beginning to set up in front of the castle

I think we've all guessed where the wildcard artists will be when the pods are set up in front of the castle!

Here's a comment in a newspaper article by one wildcard artist who had maybe not given quite enough thought to thorough preparation for this event. (seemu summary of learning points below)
Mr Boyle, a cabinet maker but also a keen amateur artist who dreams of turning professional, said his choice of using chalks backfired when it rained.
"It was a wash out," he said. "Most people's paintings got wet and mine got soaked. I have still got the painting but I'm not really that proud of it. I was using chalk on paper so obviously it could not have been worse for when it rained. I was crouching under an umbrella most of the day. I had never actually painted outside before either, so it was quite challenging. Normally I am in the studio and take hours over it mainly from photographs or sometimes sketches or just from memory."
"Despite the rain it was very interesting experience and I got some valuable advice from the judges."

Reading for those who aspire to taking part next year

Faye Bridgewater has written a great blog post - with excellent photographs of what it takes to be a wildcard artist on an extremely rainy day. She was the lady with the broom and the very large orange poncho.

I never knew there were RULES about umbrellas - although I don't think anyone was being picked up on breaking the rules given the nature of the rain!

Themes and Learning Points

As with all my other blog 'Artist of the Year' posts, I tried to detect some learning points within this episode - read on for more of these.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

About Modern Paints

Or I should say 'About Modern Paints' as at 2006 when there was
  • the "Modern Paints Uncovered" Symposium 
  • Organized by the Getty Conservation Institute, Tate, and the National Gallery of Art 
  • held at the Tate Modern, London May 16-19, 2006
In other words,  this pdf file of the proceedings (318 pages) from the website of the Getty Institute contains contents which is at least 15 years old.

However that does not make it less interesting - just not 100% up to date!

Modern Paints Uncovered
The contents are:

PART ONE Keynote Presentations
  • 3 Modern Paints: Uncovering the Choices
  • 17 Overview of Developments in the Paint Industry since 1930 
  • 30 Modern Paints, Conservation of

PART TWO Paint Formulations and History

  • 43 "Eternity Is in Love with the Productions of Time": Joaquim Rodrigo's Classical Palette in a Vinyl Synthetic Médium
  • 53 The Performance and Properties of Artisan Water Mixable Oil Colour Compared with Other Oil-Based Paints by Winsor & Newton
  • 58 From Formulation to Finished Product: Causes and Potential Cures for Conservation Concerns in Acrylic Emulsión Paints
  • 66 Adapting Military Camouflage Paint for Matte Outdoor Sculpture
  • 75 "Cover the Earth": A History of the Manufacture of Household Gloss Paints in Britain and the United States from the 19205 to the 19505 
PART THREE Analysis and Characterization
  • 85 Mass Spectrometry of Modern Paints
  • 96 The Macro- and Microassessment of Physical and Aging Properties in Modern Paints
  • 105 The Identification of Synthetic Organic Pigments by FTIR and DTMS
  • 118 Modern White Pigments: Their Identification by Means of Noninvasive Ultraviolet, Visible, and Infrared Fiber Optic Reflectance Spectroscopy
  • 129 Studies of Modern Oil-Based Artists' Paint Media by Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry

PART FOUR Treatments

  • 143 Unforgiving Surfaces: Treatment of Cracks in Contemporary Paintings
  • 149 Restoring the Immaterial: Study and Treatment of Yves Klein's Blue Monochrome (IKB 42)
  • 157 The Re-restoration of Donald Judd's Untitled, 1965 165 A History of the Treatment of Acrylic Painting

PART FOUR Cleaning Issues

  • 177 An Investigation of Water-Sensitive Oil Paints in Twentieth-Century Paintings
  • 189 Wet Cleaning Acrylic Emulsión Paint Films: An Evaluation of Physical, Chemical, and Optical Changes
  • 201 Morphological Changes and Rates of Leaching of Water- Soluble Material from Artists' Acrylic Paint Films during Aqueous Immersions 
  • 208 Láser Cleaning of a Study Painting by Ad Reinhardt and the Analysis/Assessment of the Surface after Treatment
  • 217 Penetration of Liquid Water through Waterborne Acrylic Coatings

PART SIX Behavior and Properties

  • 227 Factors Affecting the Mechanical Properties of Modern Paints
  • 236 Aging Characteristics of a Contemporary Acrylic Emulsión Used in Artists' Paints
  • 247 Interfacial Interactions of Modern Paint Layers
  • 257 Solvent Action on Dispersión Paint Systems and the Influence on the Morphology—Changes and Destruction of the Látex Microstructure
  • 271 The Effects of Ultraviolet Light Aging on the Mechanical and Physical Properties of Artists' Acrylic Paints
  • 271 Art in Bad Times
  • 273 Cleaning The Café Balzac Mural
  • 274 The Identification of Some of the Painting Materials at Museo d'Arte Contemporánea all'Aperto di Maglione
  • 276 The Complexities of Woman in a Courtyard (1933) by Julián Trevelyan
  • 277 Study of the Influence of Synthetic Organic Pigments on the Thermal and Photodegradation of Linseed Oil byFTIR/A TR Spectroscopy
  • 277 What Makes the Color Field? A Technical Examination of Magna Paint
  • 278 Modern Standards for Modern Paints: The Activities of ASTM Doi.57
  • 280 Analyzing Visual Change in a Painting by Josef Albers A Painter's Paradise
  • 280 A Painter's Paradise
  • 282 Liquefying Oil Paint in Some Late-Twentieth-Century Paintings
  • 284 Dictated by Media: Conservation and Technical Analysis of a 1938 Burlap Painting by Joan Miró
  • 284 Paints and Coatings Used in Outdoor Murals
  • 285 Squeeze Up Close
  • 287 A Simple Solution to a Complex Problem: The Consolidation of Joan Miró's Portrait of a Young Girl
  • 288 Conservation Treatment of Ultramarine Oil Paint on Michael Craig-Martin's Pulí Life
  • 290 Eugéne Leroy's Painting: A Moving Matter
  • 291 Tate AXA Art Modern Paints Project: Evaluating the Effects of Cleaning Acrylic Paintings
  • 292 Alterations in Unvarnished Contemporary Paint in Spain: A Visual Approach
  • 294 Juliáo Sarmentó, a Portuguese Artist at Work: Study of Just a Skin Affair (1988)
  • 296 Fluor-S-Art, Northern Lites, DayGlo: Daylight Fluorescent Pigments, Their Development, Use, and Performance
  • 297 Rescue Public Murals!
  • 299 The Art Materials Collection and Study Center
  • 300 Materials, Techniques, and Artist's Intention in the Geometric Works of José María Yturralde
  • 300 Problems with the Cleaning of Textured Modern Painting
  • 302 Symposium Participants 
  • 309 Author Biographies 

PS I only got back from the USA late yesterday morning - and then slept for 18 of the next 24 hours (in 3 sessions interspersed by muesli, soup and chocolate!) - hence my review of the first episode of Landscape Artist of the Year will follow Episode 2 - which will be tomorrow!

Wednesday, October 09, 2019

Leonardo da Vinci - a Life in Drawing finishes on Sunday

I made a deliberate decision not to go to the Leonardo da Vinci - a Life in Drawing exhibition when it opened at the Queens Gallery as I knew it would be packed.

However, whenever I do this, I then have the unhappy habit of forgetting to book a ticket......

Last night I suddenly realised I'd STILL not booked to see the exhibition.

Today I realised I still had time.

Which is why I have only just booked my ticket and will finally get to see the exhibition tomorrow morning! Better late than never!

You have JUST FOUR DAYS LEFT until Sunday 13th October to see the exhibition.

Many of you will remember my blog post earlier this year Where you can see the Leonardo da Vinci drawings which was about all the different places where you could see drawings by Leonardo dan Vinci to mark the 500th anniversary of his death

The exhibition at the Queens Gallery is the big one - with all the drawings now assembled in one place.
Marking the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo da Vinci, this exhibition brings together more than 200 of the Renaissance master’s greatest drawings in the Royal Collection, forming the largest exhibition of Leonardo’s work in over 65 years.
With so much of his life’s work never coming to fruition, Leonardo’s greatest achievements survive only in his drawings and manuscripts. Providing an unparalleled insight into Leonardo’s investigations and the workings of his mind, the exhibition features drawings selected to reflect the full range of his interests, including painting, sculpture, architecture, anatomy, engineering, cartography, geology and botany.

More about Leonardo da Vinci on this blog

Monday, October 07, 2019

Video Introduction to Gauguin Portraits at the National Gallery

The Credit Suisse Exhibition:Gauguin Portraits opened today at the National Gallery in London.  

A lecture introducing the exhibition was streamed live this morning and is now available on YouTube. Guest curator Cornelia Homburg from the National Gallery of Canada introduces the new exhibition in a video below. It lasts for 48 minutes - which is unusual for exhibition videos.

  • I'd very much RECOMMEND that all those planning to see the exhibition should view this video first.
  • If you click in the lower right corner you can view in whatever size you prefer on the YouTube website.

Reviews of Gauguin Portraits Exhibition

Usually, when a gallery devotes an exhibition to a single artist, it builds upon a core of key works from its own holdings. Not this time.

Mounted in collaboration with the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, the exhibition contains 56 stunning works of art, on loan from as far afield as Moscow, Los Angeles, and Tokyo.
In a gallery that is elsewhere stuffed with naked white women, this exhibition’s avoidance of Gauguin’s unclothed Tahitians feels like an act of prudery – and even censorship

Gauguin would have got short shrift in our times, but no matter: the works here, early to late, are unsettling, strange and beautiful. This exhibition doesn’t pretend he was a good man; it makes the case for a great artist.
The next two reviews relate to the exhibition - of the same exhibition - at the National Gallery of Art in Ottawa, Canada (hence the curator introducing the exhibition in the video)

More about Gauguin Exhibitions

Friday, October 04, 2019

Picture Preview of Landscape Artist of the Year 2019 (Series 5) - starts 15th October

Sky Arts have announced that Landscape Artist of the Year 2019 starts on October 15th . 

The sad bit is as I'm in New York on the 15th but hopefully will be back in time to do a write-up of the first episode before the second episode on 22nd October - because I watch via the very nifty TV App! (see my post about how to watch if you don't have Sky).

Landscape Artist 2019 Promo from Storyvault Films on Vimeo.

The Sky Arts Team never ever broadcast the heats in the same order as they film them. I'm guessing they want to go for a good one for the first episode to get people hooked - and also to finish with a good one!

The timetabling of the Heats is going to be interesting given that Kate was having her baby in one of the ones in Gateshead! I think I've worked out the sequence based on what people have said so far.

This is my best guess at the timeline for all you #LAOTY2019 fans - so you can get your diaries sorted! Plus I've been able to identify a few of the artists involved - or at least those active on social media!

  • 15 October Heat 1: Smeaton Tower - on Plymouth Hoe in Plymouth - filmed on 19 June (very sunny)

aerial view of Herstmonceux Castle

Thursday, October 03, 2019

WARNING: "Not previously exhibited"

Many open art exhibitions and art competitions have a very simple rule which, for some reason, gets ignored by some artists.
  • Maybe they didn't read the rules of entry properly? 
  • Maybe they didn't think the organisers really meant it?
  • Maybe they thought nobody would notice?

What's the rule that gets ignored?

It's quite simple.

The common rule is that "Work must not have been exhibited previously".

Artwork being received for Stage 2 Judging of the John Moores Painting Competition | copyright Katherine Lloyd
There is absolutely no suggestion whatsoever that what I'm writing about below relates to this past competition

As I've indicated on previous occasions I am a big fan of art societies and art competitions that REFUSE to allow people to exhibit any artwork that they have previously exhibited elsewhere.

The reasons why "work must not have been exhibited previously" is such a good idea are also simple:
  • exhibitions of new artwork need to be just that - fresh to the eye
  • regular attenders of art exhibitions are not short changed by seeing artwork appearing again and again.
  • it says a lot about an artist's ability to produce NEW work on a consistent basis which is also consistently good.  We get a much better appreciation of that artist's overall ability and potential for future success.

Here's the deal. I abhor cheating.
  • I can't expect selectors for art competitions and open exhibitions to have seen numerous other exhibitions
  • I can expect artists to have integrity and to 
    • read the rules of entry - particularly the one relating to "work must not have been exhibited previously"
    • tell the truth on their entry forms
  • I go to lots of exhibitions and I notice things. I also have a very good visual memory and keep all my catalogues! (What prompted this post is I have just noticed something!)

So in future, I'm going public - I'm not going to stay silent when I notice something which breaks the rules.

(There's more than a couple of art competitions which already know I have a track record of speaking up to organisers when something is just plain wrong - some of which regular readers know about and some of which you don't)

For exhibition organisers

In future, if and when I see artwork has been selected for exhibition which I have seen elsewhere in a previous exhibition, I am going to tell the organisers.

What the organisers do then is up to them.
  • If they have got any integrity and gumption they will remove the artwork from exhibition for having broken the entry rules
  • However - if they don't then I will mention this fact in the following year's call for entries. Artists have a right to expect that the organisers as well as the artists play by the rules.

Any exhibition organisers who think rules don't matter should pay much more attention to

For artists

I'm not going to out you if you do it once.  People make mistakes - we all understand that.
The thing is you won't know that I know.....

However, do it twice and I notice and I will take appropriate action - using the appropriate evidence.

The reason being that competitions and juried exhibitions can only maintain integrity and  work properly if EVERYBODY plays by the rules.

That's not my personal view - that's the law.
I also can't think of a single good reason why a cheat should take the place of another artist whose good work did not get selected because the cheat's did.

Moral of the Story

READ THE RULES! Don't cheat yourself as well as others.