Monday, March 30, 2020

MAMA #2: All about Vincent Van Gogh on his birthday

The second in my series of 'Making A Mark Archive posts' is about Vincent Van Gogh. If you read all my blog posts, listed below, and follow up the links it'll keep you occupied all day!

Vincent Van Gogh was born 167 years ago today on 30 March 1853 in the Netherlands. 

In 2007 I did a very big project on Van Gogh and have written periodically about him over the years. This is a list of my Van Gogh blog posts categorised by:
  • Van Gogh and Drawing
  • Van Gogh's Paintings
  • Van Gogh and Flowers and Gardens
  • Exhibitions
  • Videos
  • Miscellaneous posts
    They include include lots of images of wonderful drawings and paintings by Van Gogh.  Many of them are my photographs of the originals in exhibitions.
      The one below is my copy - in coloured pencils - of his painting of Almond Blossom which I did as an exercise while doing my project on Van Gogh. 

      A copy of Van Gogh's Almond Blossom 1890 (in the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam)
      9" x 12", coloured pencils on hot press paper
      copyright Katherine Tyrrell

      Van Gogh and Drawing

      "I sometimes think there is nothing so delightful as drawing." Vincent van Gogh (1853 - 1890)
      His approach to drawing was a revelation for me in terms of mark-making.

      I remember learning that all those who talked about Van Gogh as if he had a manic approach to his artwork - working very quickly - had very obviously never ever tried drawing with a reed pen and ink!

      Cottage Garden, 1888
      Vincent van Gogh (Dutch, 1853–1890)

      Reed pen, quill, and ink over graphite on wove paper;
      61 x 49 cm (24 x 19 1/4 in.)
      Private Collection
      Exhibited at: "Vincent Van Gogh - the Drawings" Metropolitan Museum of Art -

      Van Gogh's Paintings

      Sunday, March 29, 2020

      MAMA #1: Charles Sovek's comprehensive website of resources for artists

      The Making A Mark Archive (MAMA)

      This is a new bit of routine for me - digging out a post from 14 years of archived blog posts about art - to provide you with new things to look at and/or new things to do.
      • I'm going to work my way through the years, starting in 2006
      • I'll also try and stick closely to the current calendar date - but x years ago!
      • When I get to 2019, I'll start again in 2006 - and continue until this horrible health crisis is over. I've got masses of great content in the archives of this blog and this is one way of sharing it!
      Here's one inspiration for why I'm doing this.....

      MAMA #1:  Charles Sovek's comprehensive website of resources for artists

      On March 25th 2006, I posted about the wonderful website of resources created by artist Charles Sovek in Charles Sovek - Lessons from the Easel
      "I found a veritable feast of resources for all sorts of artists when I browsed around Charles Sovek's website after being given a link to one part of it as a reference for a project.

      Although Charles Sovek works in oil, acrylic and gouache, the material he provides about art is universal. Sadly, it's very rare to find such a comprehensive and good resource on an artist's website - and so I'm obviously going to share!"

      EXAMPLE: Charles Sovek wrote articles for "The Artist's Magazine" over a 20-year period beginning in 1985.

      Here are some links from one page of the website
      I RECOMMEND you click every link and pic you see on the website, there's a LOT MORE than is apparent at first glance! 

      Please also SHARE with any artist groups who you think might benefit from access to resources for artists - during the current emergency.

      Thursday, March 26, 2020

      COVID-19 and Art #6: Financial support for self-employed artists and freelancers

      Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, has just announced the nature of the support to the self-employed.

      A lot of artists are seld-employed and others have a portfolio of income streams - with both employment income and self-employed income.

      Only those whose earnings are predominantly from self-employment will be eligible for help.

      I'm not going to deal with the support being provided for employment.

      The Chancellor of the Exchequer at the News Conference which announced the Support Package

      Features of the support on offer

      The proposals are set out in the following: Chancellor gives support to millions of self-employed individual (News Release) - Rishi Sunak announces world-leading scheme to support the UK’s self-employed affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

      According to Sunak, this was the most generous package made available by any country.
      The scheme has been designed after extensive engagement with stakeholders including the TUC, the Federation of Small Businesses and IPSE - The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed.
      This is his speech at the News Conference

      UPDATE: Subsequently, HM Revenue & Customs published the Guidance: Claim a grant through the coronavirus (COVID-19) Self-employment Income Support Scheme. This sets out

      1. Who can apply
      2. How much you’ll get
      3. How to apply
      4. After you’ve applied
      5. Other help you can get

      Below is my summary.

      Key Features

      A NEW Self-Employed Income Support Scheme is being introduced. It will be available to those who
      • earn up to £50K from self-employment annually as 
        • EITHER a trading profit of less than £50,000 in 2018-19 
        • OR an average trading profit over 3 years of less than £50,000 from 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19.  
        • (i.e. there is a cap on the grant and those earning more than £50k on average will NOT be eligible)
      • whose income is predominantly from self-employment. (i.e. more than HALF their income must come from self-employment) The criteria covers 90% of the self-employed.
      • have submitted their tax return on time (although those who didn't have a "get out jail" card - and have four weeks to get their return in!) 
      • ONLY those who are already in self-employment AND meet the above conditions will be eligible to apply. 
      Those eligible can apply for
      • a taxable cash grant worth 80% of their average monthly trading profit over the last three years.
      • up to £2,500 per month in grant
      • for at least 3 months. 
      There is no suggestion that the support scheme will benefit those who consistently make a lot more money than this.

      Amounts payable will be based on the last three years of tax returns. HMRC will determine the size of the grant by using the average trading profits from tax returns in
      • 2016-17,
      • 2017-18 and
      • 2018-19

      Applying for the Grant

      Individuals should NOT contact HMRC now. He said HMRC will know who is eligible based on the information contained in their tax database.

      People will be sent a letter/email and be invited to apply - once the scheme is operational.

      It's very likely that this communication will include a piece of information only known to you and HMRC (i.e. beware scammers)

      Those who are eligible for the new scheme will be able to
      • apply directly to HMRC for the taxable grant, 
      • using a simple online form.
      • You will access this scheme only through GOV.UK (and your normal account for your tax return)
      The arrangements will have regard to fraud.

      It's also important that you IGNORE all representations from those claiming to be HMRC - especially those asking you to pay HMRC money before you can claim.

      Grant Payments

      Grant payments will start in June. Before grant payments are made, the self-employed will still be able to access other available government support for those affected by coronavirus including:
      • more generous universal credit and
      • business continuity loans where they have a business bank account
      The cash grant will be paid directly into people’s bank account.  You will recall we all give details of the bank account we use for tax payments on our self-assessment returns.

      A maybe predictable corollary

      The Chancellor made the point that the support being offered was equivalent to that being offered to those who are in employment

      Working out the scheme had highlighted the discrepancies in contributions made by those in employment and those who are self-employed.

      It was considered fair to make arrangements to
      • equalise contributions after the pandemic is over 
      • so that everybody makes an equal (prorata) contribution to the absolutely massive bailout 

      Support for artists in Germany

      Earlier the German government made announcements about how they intended to support those who worked in the cutural sector READ Germany Has Rolled Out a Staggering €50 Billion Aid Package for Artists and Cultural Businesses, Putting Other Countries to Shame The three-part package includes
      • up to €50 billion ($54 billion) in aid for individuals who are self-employed as well as for small businesses. It will come in the form of 
        • grants designed to help with overhead costs like venue rentals and artist studios. 
        • Loans will be available to help businesses bridge financial bottlenecks. 
        • funding will also support media enterprises, including newspapers.
      • social security (including unemployment insurance) will be made available to freelancers for a period of six months.
      • Loans may also be deferred. People can ask for a reduction in their payments or an advance on their tax refunds.

      Tuesday, March 24, 2020

      A List of UK based Online Art Suppliers

      A list of online suppliers of fine art materials in the UK

      Due to the closure of all non essential shops as from this morning, all art shops you can visit in the UK should now be closed - which means ordering online or via email or telephone to replenish your supplies of whatever you need for your art.  Or working your way through the stock of art materials you've been building up for some time! ;)

      I made a list a little while back of online suppliers for a website I'm building about Fine Art Materials - paints, pastels, pencils, paper, canvases, art equipment etc.

      Unlike my list of art shops (which is ordered geographically), this list of online suppliers is organised alphabetically - because of course it doesn't matter where you live or where they are based so long as they can ship to you.You can find that list below. I've not checked every detail of what I've written - but every link should be live.

      If you have more online art supplies retailers to recommend please leave a comment - with name and url address and WHY you recommend that supplier.

      UPDATEL 25 MARCH 2020: I've updated this morning for links or notes about what websites are saying re Covid-19 Updates

      (I've reopened comments and am sincerely hoping I'm not going to go back to the spamfest of the past!!) 

      Banner for the as yet unpublished "UK Art Shops and Online Art Supplies"

      Important notes

      • Pricing: Online suppliers can choose to offer deep discounts on prices found in retail stores. 
        • Suppliers who have both retail and online supplies may have two different pricing structures and/or deals which are only available online. 
        • Overseas customers should remember to check with their Customs whether they will have any import tax to pay.
      • Check the shipping costs and agents used - What might seem cheap on an item by item basis may start to look a lot more expensive by the time you've added in the shipping. 
        • Work out what is the best size of order to take advantage of any deals on free shipping
        • Beware suppliers who use UPS - they have been known to say they called when the artist was at home and knew they hadn't.  Check who the online supplier uses for deliveries.
      I've had a twitter reply from UPS to say consider it "lost in transit"
      an artist I know 
        • You have the option if your supplier is local to choose your own courier to pick up direct from the retailer (if they will allow this). 
      • Coronavirus has generated a lot of orders - It's apparent that some of the art suppliers are being overwhelmed with orders for art material for kids. So if you need any art supplies I wouldn't leave it to the last minute - or you might like to try a new supplier who doesn't stock art materials suitable for kids.
      • Europe is no longer shipping supplies - so if you want supplies from European suppliers yu'd be well advised to order sooner rather than later - but PLEASE do not order more than you need and DO NOT HOARD!

      Attention online suppliers of art materials and equipment!

      I will be noting the artists who write and comment either online or via private emails/messages to be about performance.
      So if you don't want an adverse comment on your company as a supplier of fine art materials do try to make sure 
      • you stick to your delivery timescales 
      • and/or make sure art supplies actually arrive!

      • A.P. Fitzpatrick Fine Art Materials - A unique, specialist art materials store in Bethnal Green close to the very many galleries and artists' studios in the East End of London.  Shop online from specialist supplie Covid-19 Update: All shop business including online sales temporarily SUSPENDED as of 21.03.20.
      • Art Discount - Online store for art supplies, craft materials and artist's equipment. They claim massive discounts and speedy delivery. They use reputable carrier services who require a signature on delivery Covid-19 Update: online store is open and operational as usual, UK delivery services remain largely unaffected at this point.
        Unfortunately due to the current circumstances we will not be able to take any further orders for Winsor & Newton Canvases
      • Artesaver - Artesaver - The online site for Seawhite. Art Materials at Factory Prices. Art and design equipment and supplies, sketchbooks, holdalls, foamboard, presentation etc... all at competitive prices. (Linked to Seawhite of Brighton - see retail section)
      • ArtiFolk - all your art supplies under one roof in the UK. The prices you see are what you pay, no VAT to add, and post and packing only if you spend less than £40 (UK Mainland). You can order online and use either our secure payment facility or pay. Very good reviews.
      • Artistmaterial - online home of Turnham Arts & Crafts based at 2 Bedford Park Corner, Turnham Green Terrace, London W4 1LS Tel: +44 20 8995 2872. Covid-19 Update: you can continue to place orders online but there may be delays in delivery

      Monday, March 23, 2020

      Review: Episode 8 of Portrait Artist of the Year 2020

      I was just about to write the review of the last heat of Portrait Artist of the year when Coronavirus began to erupt - and I seem to have been writing about nothing but the impact ever since.

      So this is my shorter than normal review of Episode 8

      Tomorrow I will post my review of the Semi Final - 8 painter painting Elaine Page - from a rather large distance.

      ...and then the Final is on Tuesday evening on Sky Arts!

      Interior of the Battersea Arts Centre

      Before I start - another note on the impact of the Coronavirus Crisis
      It is with a heavy heart that we have been obliged to postpone filming of Portrait Artist of the Year. As soon as we are able to resume production we will post new dates and very much hope to be in a position to welcome the public to the heats. Artists should continue to submit their submission artworks for Landscape Artist of the Year as normal.
      I did wonder if that might happen after the National Portrait Gallery closed.... and now it has.

      The Artists in Episode 8

      Professional Artists

      This episode had 4 professional artists
      • Gail Davis (Facebook | | Twitter | Instagram) - studied at Berkshire College of Art and Design. Worked as become an exhibition design manager. Has been a professional artist for 12 years with a full order book for commissions, Recently exhibited at the The Royal Society of British Artists Annual Exhibition 2020
      • Toby Michael (Facebook | Instagram) Lives in Buckingham and went to Stowe School. Graduated from Winchester School of Art in July 2018
      • Tina Willis Jones (Facebook | Instagram) - a professional portrait artist from the Midlands. She accepts commissions and also teaches and delivers portrait demonstrations for Art Societies and Groups. Enjoys drawing and works in conte pencil. Exhibited in The Pastel Society Annual Exhibition 2020, Mall Galleries, London.
      • Tommy Golunski  (Facebook | Instagram) - an artist based in the south of England, working in primarily in Oils and Charcoal.He'a also a part-time art teacher.

      Amateur Artists

      The 5 amateur artists were
      • Jonathan Chan (Facebook | Twitter | Instagram) - an architect who attends life clas and paints in his spare time. Likes to limit his palette to red, ochre black and white which produces constant colour harmony.
      • James Mellon (Instagram) - a 16 year old and the youngest artist ever to feature in the Heats. His self portrait was done as part of GCSE course work.
      • Heather Rankin - a university student from Scotland.
      • Dan Robbins (Twitter | Instagram) - lives in North Staffordshire. 
      • Julia Page (Facebook | | Twitter | Instagram) - she paints a great nude!

      The Self Portraits

      A very varied set of self portraits.

      Thursday, March 19, 2020

      Mall Galleries to close until further notice

      The Mall Galleries premises - in the Mall - and FBA offices in Carlton House Terrace are closing until further notice. In effect, until such time as the Government advises that it is safe to open again.

      However lots of the SERVICES provided by the FBA and the Mall Galleries will continue.....
      Mall Galleries is closed until further notice but remains very much open online for new exhibition content and artwork sales.

      When will the doors open again?

      I've been waiting for an announcement from the Mall Galleries - the home of all the annual art exhibitions of the majority of the major national art societies for a little while.

      It's now up on the website.
      The Trustees of the Federation of British Artists (FBA) therefore regret to announce that Mall Galleries will close during Thursday 19 March, in light of the most recent official government advice in combating COVID-19. The gallery will remain closed until further notice and will re-open when possible, following government recommendations.
      You can read the formal statement on the website
      The safety of our visitors, artists and workforce is paramount to us as we navigate this challenging time.
      It highlights how.....

      You can make a difference

      Especially in times of trouble and reflection, art has the special ability to transport and delight us – and indeed contribute to our ‘wellness’. The FBA Societies offer you access to the outstanding work of a talented army of dedicated working artists who depend on the continued support of tens of thousands of visitors (currently unable to attend). The arts face an unparalleled impact from the crisis, and we ask our visitors and Friends to come together to continue the support we absolutely rely on to keep the lights on.

      How you can play your part

      There are a number of ways on which the FBA and its members societies and theMall galleries can continue to interact with fans and regular visitors - see below
      Visit our virtual galleries and browse our new exhibitions from the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours (RI) and Royal Society of Portrait Painters (RP). Tell your friends and spread the wordWhy not consider buying a new artwork by ordering online?You can choose a portrait artist and commission us to create your own unique workJoin our excellent Friends or Patrons scheme - and be at the heart of what we do.You can make a donation or consider signing up for a legacy to continue our charitable work when the crisis is passed.Please join the conversation on our social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest or our email list for updates.

      NOTE: Apologies for the sequencing of blog posts - but things are moving so incredibly fast at the moment - so I'm switching to a frequency similar to that used on my Facebook page
      • short posts posted more frequently than usual
      • longer posts - periodically

      Coronavirus #5: Culture in Quarantine - what the BBC did next!

      We are apparently going to have Culture in Quarantine on the BBC!

      This is according to a BBC Arts Blog Post published yesterday by Jonty Claypole who is the Director, BBC Arts. (Click the link above to read in full)

      One (cynical) bit of me thinks "This is the BBC trying to curry favour with Boris and avoid a major change to how they operate"!

      On the other hand this might be a good idea.

      Let's see what they have to say......
      For me, a precious ray of sunshine has emerged in the clear determination of artists, performers, curators and producers to keep creating and connecting with audiences whatever the circumstances. It is Wednesday afternoon. Our world turned on its axis only 48 hours ago. Yet already exciting plans are emerging that promise a means of keeping culture alive even if our ability to enter the spaces that normally supports them is increasingly limited. Theatres are developing ways to keep producing and sharing work from behind closed doors, book festivals are working out how to stream talks and ideas most effectively, museums and galleries are already announcing virtual exhibitions based on those which are no longer open to the public.
      Historically, artists thrive on periods of isolation and it seems certain that the current period will result in new plays, poems, books, films, paintings, sculptures and all other forms of art that might not otherwise occur.
      This comes within the context of the BBC's announcement of its broader purpose during the coronavirus crisis.
      We will help people in the UK deal with the impact of the crisis on their own lives, by providing advice, education and support.

      This includes various new initiatives including
      At a time when British culture is having to close its doors, the BBC, through iPlayer and Sounds, can give British culture an audience that can’t be there in person. We propose to run an essential arts and culture service - Culture in Quarantine - that will keep the Arts alive in people’s homes, focused most intensely across Radio 3, Radio 4, BBC Two, BBC Four, Sounds, iPlayer and our digital platforms, working closely with organisations like Arts Council England and other national funding and producing bodies. This will include guides to shuttered exhibitions, performances from world-class musicians and comedy clubs, new plays created especially for broadcast featuring exceptional talent, poetry and book readings.

      So what does this involve?  

      Dissecting the blog post I can summarise as follows
      • a virtual festival of the arts - Culture in Quarantine - rooted in the experience of both voluntary and involuntary isolation. 
      • linked to the wider arts and cultural sector - e.g. in close consultation and collaboration with organisations like Arts Council England and other national funding and producing bodies.
      Some things we will be able to do directly, others we will support in different ways or simply just put a spotlight on.
      • the BBC will open up its platforms, services and technology to help arts and cultural organisations continue to reach audiences directly during this difficult period.
      • a focus on maintaining mental health
      It has been proved time and again how beneficial arts and culture is to mental health and so we are also keen to continue to help people at home develop their own creative practice. The participatory arts and crafts campaign Get Creative is shifting its focus from events to the domestic arena. We want to provide everyone with activities to do either alone or with immediate family. BBC Four’s Life Drawing Live will return, by hook or by crook, to inspire and encourage everyone to take part.
      Looks like we might be getting regular BBC4 Life Drawing Live!!

      It can't start soon enough!

      Tuesday, March 17, 2020

      Coronavirus and Art #4: Art Galleries, Museums and Auction Houses close in London

      The list of art galleries, museums and auction houses in London which have announced a temporary closure due to the Coronavirus Pandemic are as listed below. 
      • I will update this post periodically as new closures are announced.
      • Links in the name are to the website or the page where there is an announcement.
      The home page of the Serpentine Galleries is unequivocal about what has happened.

      Art Galleries and Museums in London

      • British Museum
      • Tate - has closed all four galleries including Tate Modern, Tate Britain, Tate Liverpool and Tate St Ives until at least 1 May.

      • The whole Southbank Centre, including the Hayward Gallery, has now closed
      • The ICA is closed - this includes exhibition spaces, cinema, theatre, bookshop and canteen.

      Art Galleries in London still open

      • The National Gallery remains open for the time being but its new exhibition about 17th century Italian artist Artemisia Gentileschi. has been postponed.
      • The Wallace Collection also remains open - but has a lower footfall than some others.
      The Wallace Collection is open as usual to welcome visitors, and there are no changes to our opening hours because of coronavirus. We are continuing to monitor the advice of Public Health England and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, and will update our visitors if the situation changes.

      Art Galleries elsewhere in the UK

      National Galleries Scotland have closed temporarily - until further notice.

      Auction Houses

      The auction houses are not so much closed as very busy rescheduling sales.

      PAOTY 2021 Heats Closed to the Public

      Sky Arts have announced that the upcoming Heats of Portrait Artist of the Year 2021 will be closed to the public. The Heats are due to start filming at Battersea Arts Centre next week.

      You can see the email which was sent out last night above. This followed the early evening announcement by the Government of the escalation and toughening of the advice about social distancing and social isolation due to the coronavirus pandemic.

      • the Heats are still taking place
      • the only people there will be the sitters, artists, production team (and I expect they might be stripped back to the minimum required) plus the Judges and Presenters
      • Dame Joan Bakewell will not be present as she is currently in "social isolation" at home due to a recent problem with a cough (unrelated to coronavirus) - as she announced on television this morning - and has cancelled all upcoming work commitments.
      • IGNORE my blog post How to watch heats of Portrait Artist of the Year 2021

      Which means absolutely nobody is going to know who won each Heat - except the people who were there - before we see it on television this time next year.

      PS Don't forget the Semi Final is tonight. 

      I'll leave you with my photo of the lineup of their Heat Portraits. See if you can guess which ones get through to the Final!

      Portrait Artist of the Year 2020 - Heat Portraits at the semi-final.

      Friday, March 13, 2020

      Covid-19 and Art #3: The timeline for cancellations and postponements?

      This post explores when the coronavirus peak will occur and when it will be all over and hence what's the TIMELINE FOR ARTISTS for cancellations, postponements and rescheduling of art exhibitions, events, workshops and courses and art fairs etc in the future.

      The overall timeline relates in part to:
      • when the virus peaks and 
      • how long it is around for - within the context of the summer weather
      • how successful the action measures to flatten the peak are 
      • and whether the government get the timing right for their implementation!

      One thing - our best hope in terms of deaths is that this is not going to be speedy.

      More specifically, this post is based on
      • what was said yesterday by the Chief Medical and Scientific Advisers to the UK Government.
      • what I've read today - by learned people.
      However first I'd like to introduce you to my brand NEW Coronavirus / COVID-19 and Art Resource Page on my Art Business Info for Artists website
      This page aims to highlight
      • issues which many people in the art world will need to deal with during the Covid-19 Pandemic - over the next few months
      • what might be potential solutions to the challenges being faced.
      • Plus updates on the current situation for planning purposes
      This is where all useful information I come across will go. Plus links to this and previous and future blog posts about this very challenging situation.

      My NEW RESOURCE WEBPAGE about the impact of Coronavirus COVID-19 on art and response to this

      What's the Covid-19 Timeline looking like?

      The timeline will be different in every country because of:
      • different demographics
      • started at different times
      • acceleration through the community varies
      However the basic epidemiology of how an epidemic behaves remains the same in broad terms. There are four salient factors/questions to be considered when planning as an artist or art organisation for what to do for the rest of this year.
      • where we are now?
      • when will it peak?
      • how long this will go on for?
      • how influential is the weather?

      Where are we now?

      Where we are (in the UK) right now is:
      • FOUR WEEKS behind Italy (which sent a shiver down the spine of a lot of people yesterday when that was announced!)
      • we're in the acceleration phase - but nowhere near the Peak - this is the phase when numbers keep doubling every few days until we get an exponential curve which becomes virtually vertical just before the peak
      • at the peak (whenever that is) the numbers stabilise and then start to reduce. However one needs to be wary of the fact this is happening due to poor collection and reporting of data. 
      • HOWEVER: The Peak will become more distant and take longer to reach if 
        • the government succeeds in "flattening the peak" - to match sickness to capacity - and help public services and resources in terms of beds and medical staff accommodate the sickest patients. 
        • if this happens then the doubling of numbers will take longer and the pandemic will "pancake" to some extent 


      However today I heard that Italy has definitely NOT yet peaked (i.e. the growth curve for both cases and deaths is still exponential (i.e. still growing and going up in terms of daily numbers). Also bear in mind we are four weeks behind this profile of cases and deaths - although hopefully in the UK it will be flatter.
      (courtesy Worldometer)
      (courtesy Worldometer)

      Daily Deaths MIGHT be beginning to flatten out - but in part this depends on how good the reporting processes around the country are working.
      • Deaths on 10th, 11th and 12th were 168, 196 and 189 respectively 
      • BUT that might be due to under-reporting on the 9th when the number reduced!

      When will it peak and how long will this go on for (in the UK)?

      Measures will cause disruption for very many months and will progress as we get nearer to the Peak. (Statement in the briefing yesterday)
      Two things you need to know:
      • the classic curve and timeline is STEEP and SHORT. It has a 
        • very rapid acceleration into a massive peak (doubling of numbers every few days) and 
        • then a similar deceleration as it runs out of people to infect 
        • it's all over in a relatively short time - in that particular place - and there are many more deaths as the health system is totally overwhelmed (just read of the accounts of what it's like in Italian hospitals and how many health staff have died for a taster of what might be like)
        • The virus will meanwhile move on to other places and start all over again..... i.e. this is a pandemic (global).
      • The managed curve and timeline is FLATTENED and LONGER. This means that
        • the acceleration rate is slower, 
        • the doubling rate takes longer
        • the peak comes later
        • the peak is flattened - and hopefully stays within managed healthcare capacity (i.e the reason for pushing/managing the curve)
        • there may be fewer deaths as more people will get active treatment
        • BUT the whole process takes much longer - probably twice as long.

      THIS IS MY EXPECTATION - based on what was said yesterday and what I've read today.
      Measures need to be in place for up to 13 weeks. Measures only work with cooperation of the population (Statement in the briefing yesterday)
      • OFFICIAL VIEW: with no action it will peak in 4-13 weeks
      • My view:
        • gets pretty bad in the next 4 weeks (by mid-April)
        • but measures taken have a positive effect, the community complies and the peak is moved forward and arrives between 8-13 weeks from now (by mid- May to end of June)
        • it starts to get better in late July/August - but is not over
      • HOWEVER as a result:
        • the deceleration rate takes longer and the end of the epidemic may not arrive until the end of September
      In part it will depend on the weather. 
      • If we get a very good summer it will finish faster
      • If the weather is awful then it it will drag on much longer
      In part it will depend on the co-operation of the population
      • if people get fed up and stop co-operating with government measures then the curve cannot be managed. 
      • If they stop co-operating just as we get to the peak, then we'll get a Pandora's box situation. 
      • This is why the government is putting off the strictest measures for as long as they think they can get away with this. Other countries will have to hope their population is resilient and behaves well!
      So my expectation is "not nice" with LOTS AND LOTS of exhibitions, events, fairs, workshops, courses being cancelled between now and August. Particularly if they are likely to be attractive to older people who have got fed up with staying at home.

      Bottom line - if you plan for anything after 1st October you're probably OK. I'd describe this as a cautious view of how it will "pan out" - but I have been known in the past (during my career) for being very good at predicting how things will happen over the longer term.

      IMPORTANT NOTE! Those who get the best dates and venues after the pandemic are those who move fastest right now! There's going to be six months worth of activity trying to move forward!!

      A CAUTIONARY NOTE: Bear in mind all this is guesswork on my part - even if I'm using facts from authoritative sources - and hence I have no liability for any decisions you make based on my prediction

      That's because it's just that "a prediction". It's not a fact. If you want facts you'll have to wait and see how it all works out in the end. :)

      My next post

      My next post will either be about
      • EITHER the need to take your third party liability very seriously - people could die!
      • OR the legal aspects of ecommerce you need to know if selling art online
      Tell me what you think on my Facebook Page.

      More Resources

      Previous posts include:
      Coronavirus / COVID-19 and Artmy NEW webpage on Art Business Info for Artists which covers:
      • Updates
      • Risk Management
      • Practical Measures & Solutions
      • Innovations / Good Ideas
      • Closures of Art Galleries & Museums
      • Cancellation / Postponement of
        • Art Fairs
        • Art Exhibitions
        • Classes, Courses, Workshops
        • Art Schools

      Thursday, March 12, 2020

      Coronavirus & Art #2: Thoughts and recommendations on the implications of a pandemic

      Here's my updated thoughts about the implications of the CO-VID 19 (coronavirus) PANDEMIC for art, artists, art organisations (galleries / societies / schools etc), art exhibitions and private views, art fairs and art schools in the short and longer term.

      It comes with a list of ACTIONS which I RECOMMEND artists or art organisations should either be doing or giving serious thought to. 
      • Please SHARE with any artist or art organisation that you think might find it worth a read.
      • You might want to bookmark this - I'll probably come back and update this as I think of more.
      Image: CDC/Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAMS

      This post is further to my post last week on Coronavirus & Art #1: Risk Management for Artists & Art Events.

      I'm going to aim for an update and further thoughts/sharing of good practice about once a week. [UPDATE: I'll do a timeline re prevention measures in the UK tomorrow following announcements today. Bottom line: 
      • this is the worst health crisis for a generation and is going to go on on for several months and 
      • the peak is weeks/months away
      • we are 4 weeks behind Italy]
      Just last week, people were talking about various things still going ahead.

      Some were even 'joking' about how this was a really good time to visit Italy while it's quiet.

      This week, it's changing - and will keep changing - and will become MUCH more serious.
      Now we have:
      • restrictions on movement of anybody within Italy - which is in total lockdown with curfews - with most shops (except food stores and pharmacies) and museums/galleries closed. 
      • all travel to the USA from 26 European countries banned (excluding the UK)
      • the Federal Government in the USA has prohibited all travel for its employees - so nobody is going to international meetings or conferences
      • major football games are being played behind closed doors
      • Israel is requiring 2 weeks quarantine for all visitors
      • India has suspended all visas
      • activities which involve more contact - and the scope for transmission - are being cancelled for a lengthy period eg 
      More decisive action is still to come e.g.
      • Spain considering putting Madrid into lockdown; 
      • Ireland is closing all its colleges and schools today and also banning mass gatherings (100 people max. internal and 500 max external)
      Plus although the numbers of confirmed cases are climbing it's almost certain there are many, many more which have not yet been diagnosed due to the lack of testing kits and processing capacity. It is already a lot worse than indicated by the official numbers.

      [UPDATE: UK has c.600 recorded cases re. testing BUT the Chief Scientific Officer says it is almost certan there are about 10,000 people with the viral infection already in the community]

      The numbers of confirmed cases in the UK declared yesterday had doubled on those declared 4 days previously. This is how exponential viruses work - they double every few days and the angle of the curve gets steeper before things get better. The curve for Italy is virtually vertical.

      All of the following (for UK artists) is based on the premise that the UK is now very much into the exponential curve of viral infection (and it's likely other countries are the same).

      What's going to happen

      Below are the things I think will happen soon or in the next few weeks. These include:
      • extended closure of schools and colleges and arrangements for home learning
      • promotion of home working
      • advice to avoid all crowds
      • advice to avoid crowded public transport eg walk or cycle or travel off peak
      • cancellation of all events due to get more than X people (who knows what X is?)
      • closure of some commercial retail outlets

      The issue is more when rather than whether given what we've now seen what happens with an outbreak which went out of control in Italy.

      When will it end. Who knows? Everything is speculation at the moment. There are theories by learned academics and  advice by leading health and legal people - and unfortunately they don't all agree!

      If you are doing anything innovative which you'd like to share or encourage other artists to join please contact me my Facebook Page.

      Artists and Art Teachers

      On the one hand it's a blessing.
      • Social isolation means LOTS of uninterrupted time to get on with making art.
      • LOTS of people sitting around at home means lots of people flipping through art on a screen - and buying art (we hope). It's your job to make them buy!
      On the other hand, it's a curse. There will be no income from:
      • art fairs - if cancelled by organisers and/or poor attendance for those which go ahead
      • art sales - because the chance of your art exhibitions being cancelled is more than likely UNLESS unless you are ALREADY sorted around selling art online. 
      • teaching - because classes and workshops will be cancelled (by you or those attending - it's inevitable)


      Wednesday, March 11, 2020

      A History of Artists' Pigments

      This is for artists who are seriously interested in colour, pigments and their characteristics and their use over time.

      What follows are three titles from the publications of the research side of National Gallery of Art in Washington.
      • You can download them for FREE 
      • I suggest right clicking the title and opening in a new tab.
      They are technical and conservation oriented as you'd expect from a National Gallery of Art - but are fascinating nonetheless.
      The National Gallery of Art is home to a community of scholars that includes the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts and members of the Gallery’s curatorial, conservation, and education staffs. The National Gallery of Art Library and Gallery Archives offer exceptional resources for scholars and staff, as well as for visitors. The publishing arm of the Gallery sees to a broad distribution of the community’s scholarship.
      This is very much a case of one where some serious sponsorship yielded some serious scholarship and a resource available to all.

      Artists’ Pigments: A Handbook of Their History and Characteristics, Volume 1

      Robert L. Feller, editor | Published 1986 | 300 pages

      This volume, the first in a series of four, describes the history, characteristics, and scientific analysis of 10 pigments that have played a major role in the history of painting.
      • Indian yellow;
      • cobalt yellow;
      • natural and synthetic barium sulfate;
      • cadmium yellows, oranges, and reds;
      • red lead and minium;
      • green earth;
      • zinc white;
      • chrome yellow and other chromate pigments;
      • lead antimonate yellow; and
      • cochineal and kermes carmine

      Artists’ Pigments: A Handbook of Their History and Characteristics, Volume 2

      Ashok Roy, editor | Published 1993 | 232 pages

      This volume describes the history, characteristics, and scientific analysis of nine pigments originally discussed in articles published in Studies in Conservation between 1966 and 1974, providing updated information reflecting new developments in conservation and technical research.
      • azurite and blue verditer;
      • natural and artificial ultramarine blue;
      • lead white;
      • lead–tin yellow;
      • smalt;
      • verdigris and copper resinate;
      • vermilion and cinnabar;
      • malachite and green verditer; and
      • calcium carbonate whites 

      Artists’ Pigments: A Handbook of Their History and Characteristics, Volume 3

      Elisabeth West FitzHugh, editor | Published 1997 | 368 pages

      This volume, the third in a series describing the history, characteristics, and scientific analysis of artists’ pigments, covers 10 pigments
      • Egyptian blue;
      • gamboge;
      • titanium dioxide whites;
      • orpiment and realgar;
      • indigo and woad;
      • madder and alizarin;
      • Vandyke brown;
      • Prussian blue;
      • emerald green and Scheele’s green; and
      • chromium oxide greens.

      Tuesday, March 10, 2020

      Review: Episode 7 of Portrait Artist of the Year 2020

      The second of my "catch-up reviews" of episodes of Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year 2020. This is my review of Episode 7

      Titus, Christos and Annie painting Ken Stott with the self portrait wall in the background

      Episode 7: The Artists, Self Portraits and Sitters

      The artists lined up

      Professional Artists

      This episode had 6 professional artists
      • Christos Tsimaris (Instagram | Video) Born in Greece and training in both art and construction (the latter to pay the bills!). 
        • 1987 - 1988 - Private tuition, Atelier School of Drawing, Thessaloniki, Greece Less
        • 1988 - 1993 - B.A. Hons Degree, School of Art of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, 
        • 1996 - 1997 - Masters Degree, European Fine Art, Winchester School of Art, Winchester 
        • 1995 - 1996 - Post Graduate Studies, Byam Shaw School of Art, London
      Tsimaris is finding his own path into the light, away from these titans of 20th Century art, his work constantly seeking to go beyond the Freudian discipline of representational art and the more gestural expressionism that we are familiar with in the figurative paintings of Bacon.
      • Titus Agbara - Born in Nigeria, Africa. Studied at the Auchi Art School, a Federal Polytechnic in Edo State. 1999: awarded Higher National Diploma in Painting and General Art. Works as a full time studio artist in Nigeria before moving to UK in 2007. Lives and works in Manchester as an NHS Health Care Assistant. Now paints as a hobby with a palette knife, mostly in oil. 
        • Won Heat 4 of Sky Arts Landscape Artist of the year 2016 at Scotney Castle in Kent with this painting.
      • Paul Moyse (Facebook | Twitter | Instagram) - Lives in Kent. teaches caricature and has written two books on the art of caricature. Also an excellent portrait artist - judging by artwork on his website.
      • John Lloyd (Instagram) Lives in Berkhamsted. 2:1 in BA Fine Art Bath Spa University. Volunteer and internship work at small galleries. Works in an art house cinema and likes using colour.
      • Kelly-Anne Cairns (Facebook) -  based in Aberdeen, Scotland. She is an artist, freelance arts tutor and works part-time as a Creative Project Coordinator. Graduated with an BA (Hons) in Fine Art from Gray’s School of Art in 1999. 
        • This is her blog post about the day painting at Battersea Arts centre. She brought her husband and four kids for support!
      • Gavan McCullough - an aeronautical engineer who became first a sculptor and then a painter. Took 60 hours to complete his self portrait. 

      Amateur Artists

      The three amateur artists were
      • Andie Armstrong - Lives in West Sussex.
      • Teresa Butler - community development worker from Dublin. She simplifies her image of her sitter using an iPhone app - and then works out how to create the best crop and composition.
      • Hannah Lockey (Instagram) - 17 year old A Level Student at he time. tarts from a charcoal drawing and paints over using oil.  She draws extremely well. 

      The Self Portraits

      The Sitters

      It was nice to see two sitters in particular who were both very respectful of the creative process and were both excellent sitters.  This was a strong Heat and one wonders to what extent that is influenced by the quality of the sitter.
      The Sitters for Episode 7 were:
      • Ken Stott - award winning Scottish actor
      • Mike Leigh - award-winning film director who depicts ordinary lives. His portrait is already in the National Portrait Gallery!
      • Lydia Leopard - portrayed Ann Boleyn in the television production of Bring up the bodies and Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel.

      Episode 7 Themes