Tuesday, February 25, 2020

NEW: How to spot art scams and fraud

I have a new page about "How to spot art scams and fraud" on my Art Business Info for Artists website. 

I can't think for the life of me think why I haven't created this before.

After all, one of the frequently asked questions by artists is "Is this a scam?" - and our ever-increasing familiarity with what scammers try on somehow does not stop them trying!

On the page you will find summaries and links to relevant information relating to:
  • What are art scams and frauds
  • Websites which "out" scams and frauds
  • How to spot a fake website - which has implications for the content of an artist's website
  • How to spot fake goods or services
​Intellectual property crime is committed when someone manufactures, sells or distributes counterfeit or pirated goods, such as such as patents, trademarks, industrial designs or literary and artistic works, for commercial gain.
  • How to spot - and avoid - an email scam
  • ​How to be safe when paying for goods or services online
This includes "red flags" for things to watch out for - and how to avoid being scammed - which are generally pretty simple precautions you can take.
extract from the page
It's very definitely a page which will develop over time.  You can find it as shown below
  • Art Business Info for Artists
    • Practice
      • Office Practice & Law for Artists
        • How to spot art scams and fraud
Or just put "art scams" or "fraud" into the Google search box on the home page

I've also got three more related pages planned and in the pipeline about:

  • How to spot fake art - more for the collector than the artist but also highlights art practices best avoided!
  • What to do about a gallery which goes "rogue"- this is the one about 
    • when the gallery doesn't pay up after selling your artwork and/or 
    • art galleries / dealers trading while insolvent
    • goes bust - with your artwork still inside and 
    • what to do about it!
  • ​Beware of money laundering - the latter is increasingly problematic and now rates as a "must know about" topic for all those who sell art as the UK enacted NEW legislation last month relating to money laundering - related to the EU's new fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directive.
Art dealers can face fines and jail time if they don’t report suspected money laundering transactions to authorities, according to guidance prepared by the British Art Market Federation in conjunction with the U.K. government. Bloomberg Tax
There's a few references below relating to the new legislation on money laundering.
If anybody has any suggestions for useful websites or other resources please let me know (or via my Facebook Page)  and I'll add them in

Monday, February 24, 2020

The Disappearing Art Competitions

Has anybody noticed the disappearing art competitions?

Here's my summary of where I think we are up to

  • The Bad News: Art Competitions which no longer exist - and why that might be happening
  • Big Question Mark: Art Competitions with a BIG query
  • Good News: Art Competitions being held in 2020
  • Why art competitions are important
  • TOP TIPS for art competitions (the ones that are left!)
The Threadneedle Prize Preview in 2016

What I find most sad is that both art competitions for figurative art seem to have disappeared at the same time.

BAD NEWS: Art Competitions which no longer exist

The following art competitions have definitely finished.

The Threadneedle Prize

The Columbia Threadneedle Prize - Figurative Art today (formerly known as The Threadneedle Prize) was a major art prize with a big money prize. Latterly the first prize also included a solo exhibition in the Threadneedle Space at the Mall Galleries.

The Threadneedle Prize in 2016

The National Open Art Competition 

  • closed in 2018
  • no sign of a resurrection
  • website indicates it's "postponed until further notice" - which is the phrase I always associate with "hope over experience" people who are reluctant to give up but have no reasonable expectation of anything changing.

Why's it happening?

At a guess:
  • expenses exceed income
  • sponsors disappear or die
  • unsuccessful at securing new long term sponsorship
  • merits of the exhibition no longer attract quality entries
  • marketing has become more difficult and must involve quality social media marketing
  • competition has become tired and needs to be reinvigorated
  • the benefits vs costs equation no longer makes sense to the main sponsor

BIG ??? - Art Competitions with a query

Lynn Painter Stainers competition - back in 2014

Lynn Painter-Stainers

I'm wondering if the Lynn Foundation have backed out and/or are in a state of suspended animation.
  • Guy Parsons OBE who was CEO and a Trustee of the Lynn Foundation died in September 2019.  He ran the charity after he set it up in 1985 for his client Mr Lynn, who invested millions of pounds into the cause.
  • It's unclear how this art competition contributed to the main purpose of the Lynn Foundation - which primarily targeted the advancement of health or saving of lives.
I'd say this art competition is not happening this year. I'd say there's a very good chance it won't reappear unless another sponsor steps up......

BP Portrait Award

Aleah Chapin wins the BP Portrait Award 2012

In 2020 the BP Portrait Award 2020 will
  • presumably continue to hang fewer portraits due to the more confined space - see Call for Entries: BP Portrait Award 2020 (Part 1)
  • have a much shorter and earlier exhibition
    • date of the exhibition in London has changed - to May and June.
    • AND it's much shorter - just five weeks
  • which will result in much less exposure for the artists and fewer visitors to the exhibition
We still do not know what will happen to the BP Portrait Award when the National Portrait Gallery closes for three years this summer.

Will there be a BP Portrait Award 2021?
Will it continue to be sponsored by BP?  Given that the BP Sponsorship is attracting more and more criticism - including by one of the Judges in 2019.

GOOD NEWS: Art Competitions still running in 2020

These art competitions are still running in 2020

RA Summer Exhibition 2015

The RA Summer Exhibition

John Moores Painting Prize

The Sunday Times Watercolour Competition

Wildlife Artist of the Year 2020

Derwent Art Prize

Chrys Allen - the first winner of the Derwent Art Prize in 2013

ING Discerning Eye

The Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize

Why art competitions are important

In summary: art competitions are really important for
  • newbie artists - because they make them think about standards and processes relevant to an art competition - which can also help them with developing and selling their art generally. Shipping artwork to a client is not very different to shipping to an art competition - except your client will keep the packaging!
  • emerging artists in terms of raising their profile and getting their work seen on a national stage  and by art galleries and agents - often for the first time.
  • improving artists wanting to develop their careers - in terms of demonstrating a track record of being consistently chosen for different art competitions
  • established artists who need to remind people they exist and are still producing quality artwork - and occasionally test their metal! However there can be a downside. It's bad enough being turned down for an art competition when you're an aspiring artist. Think about what it must feel like if you have supposedly already made the grade!!

TOP TIPS for art competitions

My Making A Mark Page about Major Art Competitions has a round up of some tips previously posted on this blog.

TIPS for artists entering exhibitions

You may find these TIPS helpful
and for those needing help with framing...

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Review: Episode 5 of Portrait Artist of the Year 2020

I'm very late posting my review of Episode 5 of Portrait Artist of the Year 2020 - which you can see on demand on Sky Arts or Now TV.

Line up for the decision on the Shortlist

The Artists, Self Portraits and Sitters

As always links to the artist's website (if they have one) are embedded in their names.
You can see videos of their Heat Portraits on https://www.skyartsartistoftheyear.tv/portrait-profiles/

Professional Artists

  • Graeme Duddridge - worked for two decades as a commercial photographer and painted in the evening. Now trying to spend more time on the painting. Studied at Kent Institute of Art and Design, Aberystwyth School of Art and The Art Academy London
  • Nick Fear - based in Leicester; paints from photographs
  • Tim Gatenby - a contemporary British figurative artist who nostalgically paints modern imagery such as motorways and pop culture with a traditional Old Master approach. Been selected for selected for the Columbia Threadneedle Prize Exhibition (2018), Royal Society of British Artists (2018), the New English Art’s Club (2014), BP Portrait Prize (2012) and the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition (2019, 2012)
‘The art of painting naturalistically from life, although now seemingly in resurgence, is a counter wave to work produced from photographs which have an inherent drawback of flattening an image and stiffening the subject matter with its limited tonal range.
  • Keith Robinson Instagram Twitter - Born in Helensburgh, raised in Immingham, live in Surbiton. Been selected for a number of important open art competitions (BP Portrait 2007, 2008, 2016, Threadneedle 2013, Lynn Painter-Stainers 2014)

  • Pippa Thew - lives in Devon between Dartmoor and the sea. Prefers to use traditonal watercolour. Several of her paintings have been exhibited by the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colour and the Society of Women Artists.
  • Suzy Wright - Studied at Westminster University. Usually creates stitched drawings on calico. Works part-time in an art shop and the rest of the time as an artist. Worked in pencil, biro, and watercolour on the day of the heat - but has no plan for how she appliers her colour.

Amateur Artists

  • John Bennett - no website or public social media site. Has been spending more time on his painting since he retired. Spent 20 hours on his self-portrait
  • Iman Sidonie-Samuels - no website or public social media site. 17 year old living in London. Paints horizontally.
  • Rebecca Underdown Instagram - Created a self portrait of her family - as a compilation of images of them as individuals to be congratulated on 'having a go' despite having a small baby in tow and what she refers to as a severe case of baby brain

A small reminder of how what looks relatively straightforward on screen is anything but on the day!

The self portraits

I do like it when the Director asks for a steady shot of all the self-portraits because it is the ONLY time you get any real sense of each in relation to the others - and the size does vary quite considerably.

This wall was a mixture of sizes, techniques - with some puzzling narratives to unpick.

  • The portrait of Graeme with a ventriloquist dummy was by far the biggest and 
  • that by Keith Robinson was by far the smallest. 
  • Rebecca's family composition was a brave effort and to my mind it came off well.
  • Most - but not all - are looking straight out at the viewer. I tend to prefer those which are not looking directly at me.

The self portraits

The Sitters

An interesting choice this week, the sitters for Episode 5 were
  • John Cooper Clarke - an English performance poet who first became famous during the punk rock era of the late 1970s when he became known as a "punk poet".
  • Fearne Cotton - an English television and radio presenter
  • Haydn Gwynn - an award-winning Englih actress

Episode 5: Themes

The themes I identified were:
  • how much time do you get on screen re. progression to the shortlist?
  • the attraction of different media
  • the attraction of puzzlement in the self-portrait
  • how/where do you start?
  • how much do people look at the person (from life) as opposed to the features (from technology)
Empty and waiting - before the start

How much time people get on screen depends on how likely they are to get to the shortlist

You can more or less tell who hasn't got much chance of making to the shortlist before the Judges start discussing the painting. Simply on the basis of airtime per person.  Interestingly you can also tell this when standing in the Heat as it soon becomes obvious which artists the Judges like and which are getting filmed more.

Remember the editing is done afterwards - but they have to have enough film to edit from!

Saturday, February 22, 2020

C Roberson & Co and an e-catalogue to drool over!

Today I was looking up a particular art material and came upon the e-catalogue of C Roberson & Co - and I started drooling alternated with reading.
Below is a REVIEW of:
  • the history of C Roberson & Co
  • art materials by C Roberson & co
  • art materials supplied by Robersons
  • an absolutely amazing e-catalogue - with supplies from some of the oldest and most prestigious suppliers of art materials
It's absolutely fascinating to trace the history and realise these are very traditional colourmen who served some of the best artists in London in the past - who would also be equally delighted by the current e-catalogue!

Roberson Oil Colours

An analysis of colours in tubes in Patrick Heron’s studio at his death showed 61 colours, out of 155, in 627 tubes, out of 790, from C. Roberson & Co Ltd, many from the mid-1960s

About C Roberson & Co

Charles Roberson & Co. were artists colourmen from 1820 until 1985 - and became one of the major firms of artists' suppliers. 
The company prepared its own paints and manufactured a wide range of materials to recipes that were kept secret and actively protected. Some of these recipes are still used today.
  • unusually they both manufacture and supply artists materials
  • associated with some reputable retailers
  • associated with many prominent artists
Among its customers were artists such as Turner, Whistler and Sargent, designers such as William Morris, William de Morgan and Walter Crane and the royal and famous including Queen Victoria, Lady Randolph Churchill and Winston Churchill. 

History of C Roberson & Co

  • Roberson was of the major artists’ suppliers of the 19th and early 20th centuries. The sequence of business names is
    • Charles Roberson 1819-1828, 
    • Roberson & Miller 1828-1839, 
    • Charles Roberson 1840,
    • Charles Roberson & Co 1840-1908, 
    • C. Roberson & Co Ltd 1908-1987.
  • 1819: Charles Roberson set up at 51 Long Acre in 1820 - the premises had a history of art material suppliers - it had been used for the sale of brushes and colours since 1803, firstly by John Culbert (qv), then from 1814 by his apprentice, Henry Matley. One of his first customers was Sir Thomas Lawrence. The rationale was the area was home to a lot of artists who lived/worked there (JMW Turner was born a few streets away in Maiden Lane) and was also very near the Royal Academy of Arts which, at that time, was located in Somerset House just off The Strand.  The company stayed in the Long Acre area until 1937.
In 1821 Lawrence began patronising the young Charles Roberson (1799-1876), ‘Colourman to Artists and hair pencil maker’ and successor to Henry Matley at 54 Long Acre. Initially, Lawrence purchased materials to the value of £4.3s.6d, including Italian Pink, Venetian Lake and Vermillion in one or two ounce quantities, Italian chalk totalling six ounces and Mountain Blue, that is Azurite, totalling 19 ounces (about 550 grams); of these the Venetian Lake was the most expensive pigment at 6s an ounce (see Appendix for full transcript).
Roberson & Miller’s trade sheet (detail),
Materials for Drawing and Painting, c.1828-39.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Review: Royal Society of British Artists Annual Exhibition 2020

The online catalogue of the Annual Exhibition 2020 of the Royal Society of British Artists promises that it might be a good exhibition. I viewed it today and the actual exhibition more than lives up to what's online - although the stronger works are predominantly in the Main Gallery and Threadneedle Space.
You can get free entry for two people (value £10) by saying you're there having seen it on "Making A Mark" at the reception desk.

Annual Exhibition 2020

The Royal Society of British Artists has been through something of a rejuvenation in the last three years. 

It's certainly come a VERY long way from the 2012 exhibition which is etched in my memory (See RBA 2012: An exhibition of Middle England?). I remember identifying a lot of work I liked and then felt absolutely compelled to comment to the effect that I was less than impressed by some of the artwork in the competition - that it felt old fashioned and parochial. Thereafter I stopped taking the RBA seriously and, for me, it became an "also ran" art society for me.

Back in 2016 I was still perturbed by it and wrote
My own feeling is that the artworks which have been juried in from the open entry (i.e. from non-members) out perform a number of the artworks submitted by members - which are NOT juried - by some margin. From my perspective that's just not right.
However it's now a society which is almost unrecognisable given the change in content - it's diverse in subject matter, media, style, and it's strong on colour, monochrome and 3D.

I LOVE the prints featured on the end wall

It's very definitely an art society to take very seriously. Indeed despite the aspiration of many of those wanting to advance their art careers to apply to NEAC, I'd very much recommend the RBA as a much better bet for those entering via the open exhibition.

Particular aspects which are noteworthy in this exhibition this year are:
  • the fine art prints - which are simply STUNNING. This exhibition is worth visiting just for the prints alone!
  • the 3d work and sculpture which is numerous and very varied.  The range of media and diversity of approaches is amazing.  Definitely an exhibition to enter if you an aspiring 3D artist (Most of the sculpture is in the Threadneedle Space)

  • The diversity of styles and media used for drawings and paintings.  While some is still traditional, the diversity of styles mean that this exhibition has well and truly lost the air of "fuddy duddy" which it had in 2012.
  • the introduction of a theme - "Inspired by Trees" is an excellent idea. It hung as a continuous theme in two different galleries - with a very strong monochrome section in the Main Gallery

Inspired by Trees in the Main Gallery

Inspired by Trees - the monochrome section

  • the hang which is excellent - a huge exhibition remains accessible (apart from the labels - see the end). I very much appreciated the theming of different works - the still life at the entrance, the trees in two different places within the exhibition etc.
  • the size of the exhibition. They've selected 500 works in total - of which 20 relate to their RBA Star Students.  Some of the paintings are hung in 3 rows - but they can cope with it as all remain accessible

    Still Life near the entrance - including the excellent and much admired Annie Williams (I'm a fan!)

    • one of the reasons it is large is because of the very many smaller works which have been selected.

    Small works on the mezzanine and next to the cafe - there's even more to the left!

    • There's a better mix of works between members and those selected from the Open Entry across the three galleries - which was pleasing to see.

    North Gallery

    The RBA is also a society I regularly recommend to young artists given:
    • the breadth of its scope for media
    • the size of its exhibition
    • the number of prizes
    • the respectable split between members and non-members in terms of work hung
    The Open Entry generated 1,699 entries for this year's exhibition
    • of which 186 works were selected for the exhibition (11%) 
    • thus the open entry represents 38% of the total works hung in the main part of the exhibition 
    • while members work represents 62% of the artwork hung.

    Work I particularly liked

    There were lots of works to like - and below I'm singling out people I've not highlighted before.

    Wednesday, February 19, 2020

    Call for Entries: £25,000 John Moores Painting Prize 2020 + NEW Prize

    The John Moores Painting Prize is a PAINTING competition 
    • This week it opened for entries for the 2021 exhibition
    • The deadline for an entry is 24 March 2020
    • It's open to all UK-based artists working with paint. 
    • It culminates in an exhibition next year at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool  (19 September 2020 - 14 February 2021)
    The exhibition has consistently helped to raise the profile of the artists and in particular to further the careers of its winners

    Its named after the sponsor of the prize, Sir John Moores (1896 – 1993) and was originally intended as a one-off!

    It's now a biennial event and this will be the 31st exhibition in 60 years - since its launch in 1957.

    You can view the previous winners of the John Moores Painting Prize on the past exhibitions page on the website They include:

    Criteria for assessment - and how anonymity is maintained

    The original aims of John Moores were:
    'To give Merseyside the chance to see an exhibition of painting and sculpture embracing the best and most vital work being done today throughout the country'
    'To encourage contemporary artists, particularly the young and progressive'
    Now the aim is
    Supporting artists from all over the UK – whether they’re undiscovered, emerging or established in their careers – the prize provides a platform for artists to inspire, disrupt and challenge the British painting art scene today.
    Hence the competition aims to support artists who paint. There are two important criteria:
    • all entries are judged anonymously
    • to bring to Liverpool the best contemporary painting from across the UK
    and after that it's whatever the members of the jury care to place an emphasis on.

    In terms of "anonymous entry and judging" this competition is much more thorough than most. During the Stage 1 Review of the digital images the process is completely anonymous
    • all artists are allocated a unique entry number
    • jurors are not given the names of the artists
    • jurors are only provided with information about the title, size and medium of the painting

    The Jury

    The Jury changes with every exhibition. They are selected and appointed by the John Moores Liverpool Exhibition Trust and National Museums Liverpool.
    Members have included artists, writers, art critics, broadcasters, curators and musicians.
    They are
    • Michelle Williams Gamaker - an artist with moving image and performance. Plus Lecturer on the BA Fine Art programme at Goldsmiths and is Chair of Trustees of the visual arts organisation Pavilion in Leeds.
    • Jennifer Higgie - Editor-at-large of frieze magazine. She has been a judge of the Paul Hamlyn Award and the Turner Prize, as well as a member of the selection panel for the British artist at the Venice Biennale and the advisory boards of Arts Council England, the Contemporary Art Society and the Imperial War Museum Art Commissions Committee. (which is when I start to think about the "usual suspects")
    • Gu Wenda, an artist born in Shanghai. Wenda has lived and worked in both New York and Shanghai since 1988. Celebrated for merging traditional ink painting and experimental installations.
    • Hurvin Anderson, a painter whose work explores spaces occupied by Caribbean immigrants, which function as sites for both social gatherings and economic enterprise. Has exhibited extensively and was shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 2017.
    • Alison Goldfrapp is a British-based artist. Fine art, music and photography have played an equally vital role in her creative expression. Alison was chosen as the first ‘Performer as Curator’ for The Lowry, Salford, for her “remarkable synthesis of music and visual imagery”.
    I make that two painters - for a painting competition!
    The number of works entered has always been high: consistently over 1,000, frequently over 2,000 and for John Moores 25 (2008), a record 3,322 entries. The jury's task is therefore a large one, with judging taking several days.
    I've always wondered whether the composition of the Jury is intrinsically linked to and limited by the number of people with other relevant expertise who can take off a number of days to judge a painting competition!


    All paintings included in the exhibition are eligible for a prize. This year there is also a NEW prize.

    The jury will select a final shortlist of five paintings and award the prizes.
    • First Prize: a cash prize of £25,000 and a solo display at the Walker Art Gallery.
    • four prizes for the other shortlisted artists of £2,500
    • a NEW £2,500 Emerging Artist Prize plus premium Winsor and Newton art materials of the same value. This is open to:
      • open to recent graduates, who are within two years of graduation, and 
      • students who are currently in their final year of a UK-based arts-related course, degree (eg. BA, MA, PhD) or alternative learning programme.
    There is also a Visitors’ Choice prize of £2,018, voted for by visitors to the exhibition at the Walker and awarded towards the end of the exhibition period.

    Call for Entries

    Who can enter?

    Monday, February 17, 2020

    Insurance Policies for Art Teachers

    I've developed a new resource page about Insurance for Art Teachers.

    Do you teach art? Or have you ever thought about teaching art outside a state school setting?
    Was insurance one of the things you thought about when planning your first workshop or art class?

    It almost certainly wasn't - and yet developing independent art classes - in your own home, in the student's home or on third party premises can be a very risky business - and the liability very often lies with you. If you're not properly covered by insurance your personal assets could be 'at risk'.

    The NEW PAGE on my Art Business Info for Artists website covers:
    • Insurance Risks for Teachers
    • No Insurance - what can happen
    • Do you need insurance to run an art class?
    • UK Insurance Policies for Art Teachers
    In due course, I aim to identify insurance policies specifically designated for art teachers elsewhere in the world - and for this is I need your help. 

    Please use the form at the bottom of the page to tell me:

    • the country you live in
    • the name of the insurance provider
    • the name of the policy
    • a URL link to the policy
    • details of the type of specific cover it provides for
      • art teachers or
      • art classes
      • which country

    More about Insurance for Artists

    This page adds to my current resources which are:

    Sunday, February 16, 2020

    Pricing a Pastel and Pastel Society Annual Exhibition Metrics

    The annual exhibition by the Pastel Society is the largest exhibition of artwork in pastels and other dry media in the UK every year.

    The Pastel Society Private View

    I reviewed the exhibition 10 days ago - see 121st Annual Exhibition of The Pastel Society

    Following on from my review of other annual exhibitions by national art society last year - and the closure of the exhibition earlier today - I'm now going to review below the exhibition metrics (relevant performance data) for the 2020 Annual Exhibition:
    • how open is this open exhibition - the ratio of members to non-members
    • how well pastel artwork has sold - with specific reference to price bands
    But first the prizewinners.

    I didn't get back to the exhibition, because I acquired a cold and spent most of last week sneezing repeatedly and going through boxes of tissues. With the current scare re the coronavirus I decided I'd rather not be heckled for looking as if I might infect people - even if it was only a cold.

    (NOTE: Metrics - I apply a standard system of measurement to all the annual exhibitions I review)


    The Mall Galleries has done an excellent review of the Pastel Society Prizewinners on its blog - which includes large images of the artworks.

    An Open Annual Exhibition

    Malcolm Taylor sold three artworks - two of which are in this photo

    Those aspiring to exhibit at the Pastel Society in 2021 should be reassured that this is a proper OPEN EXHIBITION
    • 282 artworks were exhibited. Of these
      • 170 are members (60% of artists)
      • 112 are non-members (40%).
    • 128 artists exhibited. Of these:
      • 44 were members (34%)
      • 1 was a deceased member
      • 84 were non-members selected from the open entry (66%)

    The one thing I find quite odd is that the total number of works exhibited in the same three galleris at the Mall Galleries is well below the number exhibited (for example) by the RI (which exhibited 411 artworks by 166 artists in April 2019).

    I think once the Pastel Society have reviewed the sales figures in relation to price and size, they might want to think long and hard about whether next year's exhibition might be bigger - with maybe more smaller paintings.

    I recommend this exhibition to all those aspiring artists working in dry media - bearing in mind that it's not just about pastels.  It's also very evident that works across a range of subject matter and styles can sell well - if priced to sell.

    ALL ARTWORKS (including those by members) are reviewed by the selection jury.

    The average number of paintings hung in this exhibition were
    • Members: 3.9 paintings (not every member submits the 5 they are entitled to submit and not all get all works hung)
    • Deceased member: 1 painting
    • Non-members: 1.3 paintings
      • Most non-members have just one and sometimes two paintings in the exhibition.
      • Those who have applied to be a candidate for membership often have more than two paintings in the exhibition - and I suspect those who would be considered as a candidate if they'd only get round to applying!
      • The implication for those applying to get work hung in this exhibition is that they MUST submit their BEST work - and two works might be the optimum number of works to submit (if not previously selected)

    Sales at the Pastel Society Annual Exhibition

    I'm going to start by saying I'm absolutely convinced that sales during the Pastel Society Annual Exhibition 2020 were undoubtedly reduced due to the absolutely appalling weather we have been having - which will in turn have reduced the numbers wanting to leave home and make the effort to travel to London for the exhibition.

    Plus the fact that both Storn Chiara and Storm Dennis chose to arrive at the weekends!!!  This weekend there were a record number of flood warnings and alerts in England, according to John Curtin, the Environment Agency's head of floods and coastal management.

    It's really bad luck for any art society when you get very bad weather during an exhibition - but to get it both weekends is really unfair!

    Number of artworks sold in each price range

    In total 62 paintings sold - 33 (53%) by members and 29 (47%) by open entrants.

    The chart below records sales results for 62 sales recorded online at midday today on the Pastel Society website and the Mall Galleries website. I'm not 100% sure that all artworks listed in the catalogue were also listed on the website but my sample check indicated that they were and the numbers between catalogue and website also seemed to correlate.

    Number of artworks sold by price range - pale blue = non-members

    By way of a preamble, it probably goes without saying - but I'm going to reiterate this very important point - that DRY MEDIA drawings and paintings - like watercolours - typically sell for less than oil paintings.

    Unless they look incredibly like oil paintings and are presented without a mat. So you need to bear this in mind when looking at the figures below.

    I've number-crunched all the sales on my Excel spreadsheet and these are the sales metrics worth highlighting

    My conclusions are:

    Friday, February 14, 2020

    A Banksy Valentine for Bristol

    I don't think Banksy has sent us a Valentine before.

    This one - of a young girl using a catapult to send lots of plastic red flowers and petals - appeared yesterday in the Barton Hill area of Bristol yesterday - but there was nothing on Banksy's instagram account - which is how he confirms that a work is by him.

    However this morning in the early hours this post appeared on his Instagram account.

    He's now got nearly 1.3 million likes in 19 hours which is not bad going.

    Meanwhile the people in the house on which it appeared are trying to work out how to preserve it....

    More about this.....

    As usual, news of a new Banksy has gone global - here are just a few of the references to it.

    Thursday, February 13, 2020

    Review: Episode 4 of Portrait Artist of the Year 2020

    This is a review of Episode 4 of Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year 2020 - filmed at the Battersea Arts Centre last April.

    View of the Heat which became Episode 4 of Portrait Artist of the Year 2020

    Episode 4: The Artists, Self-portraits and Sitters

    The Artists sat outside Battersea Arts Centre (for a photo op!)
    As always links to
    Do watch the videos - it's an eye-opener even for those who have already watched the programme

      All the artists lined up waiting to hear which three are going to get shortlisted

      The professional artists

      The professional artists are:
      It sounded like my idea of hell. Contestants got just four hours to paint a celebrity on camera – whilst being gawped at by members of the public. I’m uncomfortable with the idea of having my process seen. I almost never share work in progress shots on social media, and I dislike even one person watching me sketch or paint. I hate the idea of ‘timed creativity’ and generally work in a very slow, angst-filled way. Anyone who interrupts me risks a paintbrush in an orifice. Yet I enjoyed the show as a viewer, and there was still part of me that just wondered what would happen if I masked my doubts and tried it. It looked, on some level, fun.
      • Christopher Hanson (Instagram) - currently based in South London and Wolverhampton in the west Midlands. Trained in traditional painting. Spent several years as a art tutor VIDEO
      • Eleanor Johnson (Instagram) - based in London, UK (b.1994). She graduated from University College London with a BA in History of Art in 2017 and is currently undertaking an MA in Fine Art at City & Guilds of London Art School. Won the Young Artist Award at the Society of Women Artists Annual Exhibition in 2018 (I KNEW she looked familar!). VIDEO
      Her work considers the intangible zone between absence and presence – both visually, physically and psychologically. (her about page)
      • Lee Rotherforth (Facebook | Instagram) - A professional artist working on the east coast of North Yorkshire - based in Saltburn on Sea. Inspired by Turner, Rembrandt and John Singer Sargent. Predominantly a commission based painter focusing on portraiture and animal portraiture (he paints wonderful dogs!) and teaching art to people in Cleveland and Teesside. He often incorporates found objects into his art. VIDEO
      • Christine Roychowdhury - an artist living and working in Aberdeen, Scotland. Studied Art at Goldsmiths College, London. VIDEO

      The amateur artists

      The amateur artists are:
      • Jenny Campbell (Instagram) - a student support assistant from Bedfordshire. She's teaching herself to paint by copying other artists and she's a Tai fangirl. This is her selfportraitVIDEO
      • Ross Macauley (Instagram)- born in Canda and now lives in Glasgow and works in a bookshop. His self portrait was in the BP Portrait Award in 2017 (when he also featured on my blog in my annual artists with their paintings post) and he also made it to the semi-final in 2017 - when he was painting in oils. This time he used oil pastels (which must be much easier to move around!). He's also regularly exhibited with RSA Open Exhibition and Scottish Portrait Awards. I have to say I prefer his oil paintings. VIDEO
      • John Meredith (no website or social media). Originally from Crickhowell, he now lives in Allt-Yr-Yn, Newport in Wales. He's a retired art teacher (Risca Comprehensive School) and amateur artist. He likes drawing using graphite and has indulged his love of sketching in his retirement. This is a local news article about him and his artwork. VIDEO
      • Eilidh Smith (Facebook | Instagram | Twitter) Lives on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides. She has developed a very stylised abstracted way of painting people using her iphone as a reference (which I think might mean she could also be using an app to get the abstracted nature of the features). She works as an Admin Assistant. VIDEO
      The artists are all competing to win a £10,000 commission to paint Nile Rodgers for the Albert Hall - although none of them knew this when they painted in the Heats last year.

      The self portraits

      • There were two monochrome and seven coloured self-portraits.
      • One was huge and another was one of the smallest I've ever seen submitted - both made it to the shortlist, but for different reasons
      • In terms of what artists attempted, there was:
        • one x head
        • four x head and shoulders / upper torso
        • two x Head and torso plus (although one was a bit mangled!)
        • one x body + dog!

      The Sitters

      The sitters in this heat were: