Thursday, April 30, 2020

Painting Captain Tom

It seems as if Captain Tom Moore has inspired people to do more than part with £30 million for the NHS Charities.

Very many paintings have been made of him. Obviously, all of them have been done from photos or a still of Captain Tom on television. That hasn't stopped people demonstrating their preferred painting style.

Here are some of them....
Captain Tom Moore by Mike Dawson
Mike Dawson of Elstree donated his painting of Captain Tom to Watford General Hospital. West Hertfordshire's NHS hospitals is currently auctioning it on eBay with a view to raising funds for a specific NHS charity
Donated by the artist to support West Hertfordshire's NHS hospitals and being sold on behalf of the NHS Trust by Raise, the West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust charity. Learn more about Raise's work at Every penny of the winning bid will be paid *directly* to Raise by Ebay/Paypal.
Scott Foster of Burnley in Lancashire painted this enormous mural of him which has an amazing impact. This is a video of a giant mural painting of him being made by Scott Foster

Adam Salisbury has an interesting strapline of "Heroes don't fly they walk"

Aaron Massie's brother's painting is raising funds for the Cornwall Foundations Trust

Denise Dennison, wife of former Wolves and Northern Ireland winger Robbie is raffling her painting via Just Giving, to support the former Wolves players, staff and fans fundraising for the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust as they increase capacity at New Cross Hospital to treat patients with the coronavirus. She's currently 60% of her way to her £10,000 target!

Captain Tom by Denise Dennison

Paul Duncan did this monochrome painting of Captain Tom

This is a slightly different way of making a picture of Captain Tom - via photos of people saluting him

and then there are the cakes!

There's a big temptation to make cakes for an individual who has his 100th Birthday today.

Some of the cakes are stunning just as sculptures

This simply splendid cake made by an unidentified lady was posted on Facebook - and is outstanding!

Captain Tom in cake!

Here's wishing Captain Tom Moore - or should I say Colonel Moore? - a very happy 100th Birthday!

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Selected Artists for BP Portrait Award 2020 Exhibition

The portraits included in the BP Portrait Award Exhibition 2020 were selected from 1,981 entries from 69 countries.

I have to say from the images I've been sent and those I've found on social media (see below) the selection this year looks very interesting. The exhibition seems to have regained some of the sophistication in portraiture which I felt was lost last year.

Last week I posted about the artists shortlisted for the prizes - see BP Portrait Award 2020: Shortlist and Exhibition announcements

Today I must congratulate all those artists who have been selected for the exhibition.
  • LINKS TO THEIR WEBSITES (or Facebook Page or Instagram account) are embedded in their names in the list below (where available). 
  • Previous prizewinners and those previously selected are highlighted in red
  • Those previously selected for the BP have a link to previous portraits (unless they were in those years of the very irritating exhibitor listings where you have to go through all portraits one by one from the beginning and/or there were a lot!)
  • For those without a website see my blog post listed on my Major Art Competitions in the UK page......
The Websites of Contemporary Painters in the UK - Get your website sorted BEFORE you enter a juried art competition or miss out on the traffic when the names of selected artists are announced!

One of these portraits will win the BP Young Artist Award, which has a prize of £9,000 for a selected artist aged between 18 and 30.

BP Portrait Award 2020 Statistics

The Portrait Award is an annual event aimed at encouraging artists to focus on and develop the theme of portraiture in their work. The competition is open to everyone aged eighteen and over, in recognition of the outstanding and innovative work currently being produced by artists of all ages.

To enter, artists were invited to upload a photograph of their finished painting to the BP Portrait Award website, which were considered by the judges in the first round of the competition.

1,981 entries from 69 countries made up of
  • UK Entries: 917 (46%) 
  • International Entries:1,064 (54%)

265 entrants were successful in this first round and invited to hand-deliver or courier their work to a venue in London for the second round of judging.
From this 48 works were selected for the BP Portrait Award 2020 exhibition - representing just 2.4% if the portraits entered

A virtual version of the BP Portrait Award opens online on 5 May 2020

Links in the name of the artist BELOW are to their website (or Facebook Page or Instagram account).

The selected artists listed below have been listed according to the country they come from. This in part is guesswork on my part so if I've got anything wrong please use the comments or contact me to let me know and I will correct immediately.

UK (33 artists)


  • Thomas Arthurton - born in Norwich, Studied in Florence. Exhibited with the Royal Society of Portrait Painters (RP)
  • Tim Benson PROI, RP, NEAC - Previously selected for BP Portrait 2012. Current President of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters, Tim is also a member of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters and the New English Art Club and regularly exhibits in solo and group exhibitions around the UK. Educated at Glasgow School of Art and Byam Shaw School of Art from 1998-2001. Between 2015 and 2017, he was the Director, Diploma in Portraiture, Heatherley School of Fine Art, Chelsea. He is committed to working with charities and NGOs to tell the stories of people throughout the world who don’t have a voice.
‘Daphne, Haringey resident’
by Tim Benson

oil on canvas, 39”x28”
  • Simon Thomas Braiden Previously selected in: 2018 when I interviewed him for BP Portrait Award 2018 - Artists with their paintings  and the 2019 Exhibition. A self taught artist born in Manchester in 1971. He is self-taught with his main influences being Early Flemish painting and 20th Century Modern Realist painting He has exhibited extensively throughout the UK in both private and public galleries. Member of Manchester Academy of Fine Art (MAFA) member 2011 – present
  • Martyn Burdon  Previously selected in 2017(see BP Portrait Award 2017: Artists with their paintings). Lives and works in Buckinghamshire. Graduated in product design from Brunel University in 2004. A self-taught painter who has been painting seriously since 2015. Shortlisted for the Artist and Illustrator Magazine ‘Artist of the Year Award’ in 2018 and again in 2019. Works in monochrome acrylic paint and graphite He is a member of the Contemporary British Portrait Painters group
  • John Burke
  • Steve Caldwell - He has exhibited with the Royal Society of Portrait Painters (2020/19/18/17/14), Sunday Times Watercolour (2019/15/14/12) and has previously exhibited in the BP Portrait in 2015 and 2014.  He is also a double prize winner in the RBSA Portrait Prize. His website appears to be offline.
Paterson Joseph (actor) by Steve Caldwell

Monday, April 27, 2020

Grayson Perry's Art Club on Channel 4

I seem to be behind the curve with posting on upcoming cultural offerings in the context of the coronavirus crisis

The latest is Grayson Perry's Art Club on Channel 4 - on Channel 4 8pm on Monday 27 April.
Isolation can be a difficult and lonely time for many. We want you to be part of Grayson’s Art Club, as we ask for the amazing British public to send in the artwork you have been creating in isolation.

If you haven't got "on demand" and are currently cursing me, there are three lots of repeats for anybody who didn't catch it first time round and wants to watch and/or record. Just click the repeats link in this article about it

Plus this is not a one off
Every week Grayson will host the show from his studio - taking the country with him as he creates new art works. Grayson will talk to other famous artists, creatives and celebrity guests about how they are spending their time in isolation and host masterclasses to help teach us all how to create art. Never tried creating art before? Then this is your chance. Each episode will be themed with something inspired by being in isolation, such as still life or portraits. Grayson will take inspiration from the everyday little things, as he helps you unleash the artistic side you never knew you had.
The first episode is about portraiture. It's all filmed from home. Plus artworks have been sent in by the public.

In episode 2....
Grayson gets viewers to send in their artworks of animals - a beloved pet, an abstract, or an exotic animal. He's joined by Harry Hill and artist Maggi Hambli
He's been giving some interviews about this new concept of an art club on TV
P.S. Apologies to those portrait artists who are waiting for me to list them as being selected for the BP Portrait Award Exhibition 2020. As always the time it takes to do this post is much longer than I think! Should be published tomorrow. 

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Portrait Artist of the Week - starts today 10am

Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Week starts today. This is a unique LIVE version of its popular show Portrait Artist of the Year, redesigned for the current crisis.

Due to the coronavirus crisis, Storyvault Films who make the hugely-popular painting contest Portrait Artist of the Year have come up with a brand new, free, weekly format

Portrait Artist of the Week will see celebrity sitters pose live in their own homes, with audiences invited to paint along at home – wherever in the world they are based.

Here's how Portrait Artist of the Week works

It starts this Sunday at 10am and the first to pose is dancer and choreographer Akram Khan

  • He will sit for viewers for a four-hour session from 10am on Sunday 26th April. 
  • He will be painted live by Christabel Blackburn (winner of this year’s series of Portrait Artist of the Year that aired in March)
  • Christabel will also provide tips and interact in real-time with those who are painting along
  • Regular presenter Joan Bakewell will host
  • members of the public will be invited to post questions to get advice as they paint. 
  • The public can submit their final paintings via Instagram (@artistoftheyear
  • The show’s judges, Tai Shan Schierenberg, Kathleen Soriano, and Kate Bryan, highlighting their favourites.
Those of you who are used to paintalong sessions will know how this works. For everybody else - have a go!
To join the conversation use #PAOTW.
To show the judges your final work and have the chance to be featured next week use #myPAOTW.
All posts across Instragram, Twitter and Facebook might be used during this show and future Facebook lives.

This post on the dedicated Facebook Page for the Artist of the Year suggests you need to go to
Easels at the ready! It's nearly time for the first-ever 'Portrait Artist Of The Week' Facebook Live with Sky TV! Watch, learn, join in and paint along with Christabel Blackburn, winner of this year's #PAOTY. Send us your pictures using #myPAOTW and you MAY be featured in next week's live by the judges! #PAOTW

Plus this is what's on the Sky Art Facebook Page LIVE page

You don't have to paint - like the Portrait Artist of the Year you can draw too!

The programme will also
  • run every Sunday for four weeks 
  • feature other celebrity sitters
  • previous series winners taking turns to paint live and help viewers at home participate. 
  • Each episode will be available to watch online throughout the week so more people can participate, 
  • PLUS a highlights programme will be shown on Sky Arts.

More Arts from Sky Arts

Alongside the new version of Portrait Artist, Sky will be making selected shows from its schedule available for everyone.

Sky Arts has seen an increase of 55% in viewing since lockdown measures were introduced.

Due to the clear demand for culture at home, the channel will start to make a raft of Sky Arts content available to audiences to stream for free on the Sky TV YouTube channel from this Friday 24th April.

The weekly package will include performances, concerts and documentaries from the channel’s substantial back catalogue of award-winning arts content – all of which will be available for a limited period. 

Highlights will include 
  • episodes of Celebrity Portrait Artist of the Year, 
  • episodes from acclaimed documentary series Treasures of the British Library, 
  • the story of a destroyed portrait of Churchill from Mystery of the Lost Paintings.

Friday, April 24, 2020

Katie Sollohub wins Derwent Art Prize 2020

Yesterday the Prizewinners in the 5th Derwent Art Prize - sponsored by Derwent were announced.  See Derwent blog post.

This blog post is about the prizewinners, the exhibition and how you can vote for the People's Choice Award.

Plus a comment about the experience of viewing competition artwork as a digital file in 3D software


  • see the artworks which won prizes 
  • find out about the artists who created them


  • find out about the new arrangements for the exhibition in the current coronavirus context
  • learn how to view the exhibition online
  • issues arising from digital images and 3D software

People's Choice Award

  • learn how to vote for your favourite artwork in the online exhibition

This was my blog post about the Call for Entries - 5th Derwent Art Prize 2020. You can see more blog posts about past Derwent art prize exhibitions at the end of this blog post.


The first thing that struck me was that the Derwent Art Prize is now very much an international prize and one seen as prestigious to the careers of young up and coming illustrators.

Two of the prizewinners - the winners of the Young Artist Awards - are both Chinese - although one currently lives in the USA.

The next thing which struck me was that both winners of the main awards are women. (Cheers!)

I can't think what's happened to men who use drawing materials - but I dare say there are a fair few in the exhibition (of which more below)

First Prize

The First Prize of £4,000 plus a year’s supply of Derwent products was awarded to Blue Bedchamber (Strawberry Hill House) by Katie Sollohub

Winner of Derwent Art Prize First Prize
Blue Bedchamber (Strawberry Hill House), 2017 by Katie Sollohub

60 x 84cm cm (h x w), charcoal on paper

Effortlessly evoking a feeling of light and breeze, her winning piece represents Strawberry Hill House in Twickenham, a heritage site where she worked in 2017.

Her interests include
  • documenting and recording the places she lives and works in through drawings, paintings, performance, photography and poetry.
  • drawing and painting the interiors of buildings - on commission
Katie’s work explores the narrative components surrounding objects, memories, interior and exterior spaces, brought to life with her spectacular use of colour and detail.
As a teacher she champions drawing as a fundamental element of art practice.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

BP Portrait Award 2020: Shortlist and Exhibition announcements

BP Portrait Award 2020 - Shortlisted portraits

An Online Exhibition

The BP Portrait Award Exhibition is to be online
. It will open as a virtual exhibition on Tuesday 5 May on the National Portrait Gallery website.

Key features are:
  • The prize winners will be announced on Tuesday 5 May via the National Portrait Gallery’s social media channels. (I'll see if I can find out what time they're planning to make the announcement)
  • All 48 works selected for the BP Portrait Award 2020 exhibition will be shown in a virtual gallery space that replicates the rooms of the National Portrait Gallery. 
  • This will enable online visitors to 
    • view the portraits collectively, 
    • read the labels and get insights from the artists, 
    • explore each individual work in more detail. 
  • The Visitor’s Choice Award - which enables the public to vote for their favourite portrait - will also run online.
I must confess I'm not surprised and have been fully expecting this to happen. The National Portrait Gallery is of course, like every other art gallery and museum, closed at the moment due to the Pandemic Lockdown.

Dr Nicholas Cullinan, Director, National Portrait Gallery London says:
‘I am pleased we have been able to find a way to share the BP Portrait Award 2020 exhibition with our visitors at home, during this uncertain time and hope that staging a virtual exhibition will provide us with the opportunity to bring the very best in contemporary portrait painting to an even wider audience. The BP Portrait Award is tasked with finding and recognising portrait paintings that combine technical accomplishment and a demonstration of insight and empathy for the subject and sitter. It is a tough challenge, but, this year, one that has been responded to with great prowess and I would like to congratulate all the shortlisted artists and those selected for exhibition.’
It is not yet known if the exhibition will be able to be shown at the National Portrait Gallery before building works begin on Inspiring People, the Gallery’s major redevelopment project, at the end of June.

However, the BP Portrait exhibition is set to tour to Aberdeen Art Gallery towards the end of the year and details and dates will be confirmed in due course - so it's entirely possible that the only place people will be able to see the portraits in person is in the north of Scotland during winter!

I'll be writing more tomorrow about
  • the artists selected for the exhibition
  • the numbers who applied and where they were from
  • the Travel Award

Shortlisted Artists

Three artists have been shortlisted for the BP Portrait Award 2020. 

The three portraits in the running for the £35,000 First Prize are
  • Night Talk by Jiab Prachakul; 
  • Portrait of Denis: Actor, Juggler and Fashion Model by Sergey Svetlakov and 
  • Labour of Love by Michael Youds. 
You can read more about them and see larger images of their portraits below.

However I can tell you that it's the first time that 
  • any of the three shortlisted artists have been shortlisted for the Award or selected for exhibition.
  • the competition has shortlisted artists from Russia or Thailand (at least in my memory!)

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Covid-19 #10: Painting Portraits of NHS Heroes - has gone worldwide

Tom Croft's NHS Heroes Project just made it on to the BBC Lunchtime News - see Coronavirus: Artist Tom Croft paints NHS key worker portraits for free | BBC News

Stan @stanislow, one of the frontline staff - by his brother Adebanji Alade VPROI
"who still go to the (work) hospitals to do their part in making sure
things work smoothly during this pandemic!"
The project is simple - and I can explain with
  • one quote and 
  • the pics from Tom's instagram account - and 
  • some of the pics which have been produced as a result.
Tom Croft also explains his project beautifully on his website - Portraits for NHS Heroes
I'm offering a free oil portrait to the first NHS frontline worker to DM me, I will work in lockdown from a photo you can provide me with. You get to keep the oil portrait and when the restrictions are lifted we can have an exhibition of all the portraits.
Croft's post below got 706 comments. A huge proportion of these were from artists and a goodly number were asking for a portrait of somebody who works in the NHS.

He then did a follow-up Instagram Story (below) - where he explained again how it all works - for artists painting NHS Heroes during Coronavirus

If you want to follow it on Instagram follow #portraitsfornhsheroes

I should maybe add that I first met Tom Croft when he painted Kirsty Wark in the Portrait Artist of the Year 2018 Heat at the Wallace Collection that I watched, photographed and then, a year later, blogged about!  He's a thoroughly nice decent bloke! :)

He has the most amazing palette with towers of paint

Tom Croft with his portrait of Kirsty Wark (Episode 8 of PAOTY 2018)

Portrait for Heroes

Here are some of the portraits that have been produced by various artists. I think this is going to a huge exhibition. Maybe there needs to be one for each region?

My first pick from the very many portraits online has been painted by a portrait painter I know well - Adebanji Alade who is Vice President of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters - who has painted his brother Stan who is very much on the frontline during this pandemic - as he explains....

Portrait Deliberate Practice Series 137/250 (11). "THE ANGELS IN DISGUISE I", 6” x 8” Oil on Board. This is my brother Stan @stanislow, one of the frontline staff, who still go to the (work) hospitals to do their part in making sure things work smoothly during this pandemic! I think they are angels in disguise and I pray God will give them wisdom, understanding and anointing! May God protect them and guide them as they go in and out while the plague is raging.@applaudnhs Stan Is dual trained in anaesthetics & scrub, working in an operating theatres, his job is to help the surgeons when operating patients coming will emergency cases and elective cases. He also helps put the anaesthetist to put patients to sleep when being operated on. These are the angels in disguise, God bless them!❤️🙏 #nhs #portrait #justdoit #routine #frontlinestaff #grind #dream #keyworkers #believe #itispossible #oilonboard #addictivesketcher #adebanjialade #angelsindisguise #share #convid19 #coronavirus #showdem #practice #demo #care #angels #health #angelsindisguise #leicester #applaudnhs #portraitsfornhsheroes
A post shared by Adebanji Alade (@addictivesketcher) on

More portraits below.......

Monday, April 20, 2020

Bob Ross and The Joy of Painting arrives on BBC4

I idly looked at the TV listings this morning and noticed that there was a programme called The Joy of Painting - and thought that sounded familiar.

Little did I realise at the time that the late Bob Ross (1942-1995) had arrived in the UK to soothe worried brows and keep the older generation happy with his much loved series The Joy of Painting

You can find it on BBC4 at 7pm (this is the iPlayer link for those who can access catchup) .

It was introduced as
Art Inspiration for Lockdown Days - taking you back to calmer and more soothing times - the classic The Joy of Painting with Bob Ross

Series 1 - Episode 1 The Mountain Path
The original 'The Joy of Painting' aired on PBS in America between 1983 and 1994. Ross himself died in 1995 - but the show has continued to have regular outings around the world ever since

Any of you remember my blog post about Why the Smithsonian now owns paintings by Bob Ross - but few others do!

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Who's made a mark on art during Covid-19 #1

I'm resurrecting Who's made a mark for the duration of Covid-19 - in part because I'm posting less because less of you seem to be reading blogs!  So - for all those of you.....
  • not following me on Facebook - you can still view what I posted there here and there as well even if you're not a member of Facebook
  • plus links I've not posted on Facebook or on Making A Mark!
Here's the ones you missed! This is a round up of my posts on Making A Mark and my FB Page since 1st April 

Categories have some resemblance to past Who's made a Mark this week? posts 

Art Competitions

Ten days ago I posted about Jackson's Painting Prize 2020 - time to vote

Prizewinners for all the categories except overall winner have been announced for the Jacksons's Painting Prize. I'm extremely pleased to see that two of my choices for shortlisted artworks have secured two Category Prizes the one chosen for the Emerging Artist Prize was on my "very nearly made it slightly longer shortlist"!

The winning artworks and artists are as follows. The big prize is announced on

Marina by Conrad Clarke
Oil on canvas, w.80 x h.80cm

Emerging Artist (£1,000)

  • Marina by Conrad Clarke - I really liked this one. If I could have chosen ten rather than six it would have been on my shortlist. One of the reasons was because I absolutely LOVED the artwork on his website. In fact if he'd chosen quite a few of the others for his entry he very definitely would have been on my shortlist!  I HIGHLY RECOMMEND you take a look at the rest of his paintings in relation to subject, composition and colour. 
some of the paintings on Conrad Clarke's website

People's Choice (£1,000)

  • Fergal by Trudy Harman - Over the years, I've been reviewing art competitions and blogging about art, I've lost count of the number of times a dog or cat wins a People's Choice Award. So much so I think there ought to be two - one for the spat among the animals and one for everything else. It's a nice painting - but let's face it, the decision-making is much more to do with being an animal lover and very little to do with the art.  Incidentally this was NOT the painting which won the Animal Category Prize.

Landscape /Cityscape / Seascape Prize (£500)

  • The Hollow Place by Robyn Litchfield - She is a painter and graduated from the City and Guilds of London Art School with an MA Fine Art (distinction) in 2017 - since which she has been winning prizes. I feel certain I've seen his work somewhere before - but cannot remember where.

Still Life / Botanical (£500)

  • Global Reach by Christoper Cook - Nice to see a work painted in graphite powder win in a very unique style. He was the First Prizewinner in the Sunny Art Competition 2019
My paintings are representations of sublime encounters with places; pristine and untouched. I draw from archival photographs and personal documents relating to the early exploration and colonisation of New Zealand aiming to reimagine and examine the experience of forays into a hitherto unknown space

Abstract / Non-Representational (£500)

  • Kigali by Zohar Cohen - He's got one of those artist statements - written by a gallerist - which makes me zone out. Not so this painting. You can find him on Facebook

Animal (£500)

“Painted from a screen-capture of a YouTube video, uploaded under a matching title. A famous family of dogs, vlogged in various scenarios by YouTuber ‘Jenna Marbles’

Portrait / Figure (£500)

  • Dunk by Angela Bell - An artist who was regularly selected for open art exhibitions between 2013 and 2017. You can see more work on Instagram @angebellart / Facebook @angejbell

Scenes of Everyday Life (£500)

Judith Tucker has worked since 2013 on and with a contested coastal community on one of the U.K.’s last existing plotlands, the Humberston Fitties in Lincolnshire. Here, since between the wars, local people and visitors have erected their diverse dwellings, in order to enjoy the simple, restorative pleasures of seaside life.

Jackson's Painting Prize 2020 - prizewinners

Art Podcasts

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Quarantine through Art

This 57 second video comment on Quarantine through Art is very good. It provides a rather funny critique of life in lockdown via a series of art history pics.

I'm almost inclined others to improve on it - we need an artwork for week 4!

I've just been sent this video (by a close friend, who was sent it by a friend of his - and I have no idea where it started....

So I started searching

I found it on YouTube but the sharing format cut off the words - so it rather lost the point!

I kept looking and then found it on Twitter - although it's a moot point whether Jane Maher is the originator (given her profile as
a 30 yrs oncologist, clinical advisor @Macmillancancer (previously CMO ) NED UK hospital, Hon member British Film & Cinema Veterans # Late onset rock chick
However I think she might know the person who is.....

Friday, April 17, 2020

Metropolitan Cats 1983 - at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

This is a video "From the Vaults" of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. It's all about the cats in its collection
From the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art comes views of 4,000 years of art dealing with cats.

Metropolitan Cats - The Video (1983)

From ancient Chinese sculpture to the modern Broadway stage, cats have long been a source of inspiration for artists. This unusual film juxtaposes famous depictions of cats from the Museum's collection with their contemporary counterparts. Curators and staff muse on our feline friends' legendary stubbornness and implacable curiosity, their endless capacity for mischief, and ultimately how they have held our attention for millennia. 
The Metropolitan Museum of Art celebrates its 150th anniversary this year - and of course right now it's closed. However its online activities are very much alive.

One of their activities is that they are releasing films made in the past about items in the collection - from its archive of over 1,500 films, both made and collected by the Museum, from the 1920s onward.
  • each month  three to four films are released for the public to view 
  • they include 
    • rarely seen artist profiles and documentaries,
    • process films about art-making techniques and 
    • behind-the-scenes footage of the Museum.

Cats in the Collection

If you want to take a look at the 38,716 results for the search query "cats" take a look at this page (in the link) - and refine your search.

(NOTE: Some artists would have you think that painting cats or including a cat in a painting means you're not really a serious painter. There again these are usually people who don't have their artwork in a major international museum of art!)

Metropolitan Cats - the book

There's also a book called Metropolitan Cats - with text by John P O'Neill. I've not seen it but it gets good reviews. 

Cover of the book "Metropolitan Cats" text by John O'Neill 
Publisher: Harry N Abrams Inc / Metropolitan Museum of Art (April 1, 1982)
Available on Amazon. com and Amazon UK
John O'Neill was the Publisher and Editor in Chief for the Metropolitan Museum of Art for some 31 years. Prior to his retirement in December 2009, he had overseen the publication of more than one thousand exhibition and collection catalogues, as well as the Museum's quarterly Bulletin and annual Journal. In his obituary, the Museum noted his "extraordinary commitment to quality raised the standards for museum publishing worldwide, and his passions for art, literature, and above all opera were inspirations to those around him"

The image on the cover is is Cat Watching a Spider (ca. 1888–92) by Oide Tōkō Japanese

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Sketching via webcam

This morning I participated in the Facebook Event that the Mall Galleries organised to sketch the Trevi Fountain Online - via webcam - between 10am and 12 noon.

This was my effort sketching using a pen and ink (Pilot G-Tec-C4) and coloured pencils (various). I'm limited as to how much sketching I can do due to tenosynovitis in my right (sketching) hand - but this took about an hour.  You can see a bigger version on my Facebook Page when I post this blog post.

The Trevi Fountain via webcam
(pen and ink and coloured pencils in A4 Moleskine Sketchbook)
You can take a look at the webcam to see what I was sketching - but best start at 10am if you want to see what I saw! This is the Skyline webcam at the Trevi Fountain in Rome

If you're stuck with social isolating inside (as I am) then webcams are a wonderful window on the world. People actually walk through the view and it's the nearest thing to sketching 'for real' outside that I know.

You can find more webcams on:
Also great for all those who would like to sketch but might be
  • not very confident about sketching outside - get used to the changing light and shadows before doing it for real
  • a bit worried about people coming up to ask them questions. You only have to worry about significant others in isolation with you!
For more tips about sketching you can always read my book Sketching 365.  

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Goodbye to the Athenaeum Art Database?

I have serious concerns about whether The Athenaeum Art Database - one of my absolute favourite repositories of quality images of paintings over time - is offline.

At the moment, I can only reach it via the Wayback Machine at

It appears to have been active up until 16th March 2020 - having started up in May 2002 and accumulated more than a 250,000 great images of artworks since that date.

  • Has it forgotten to pay its host or domain name registrar? (i.e. the normal reason websites go offline)
  • Has the owner been affected by the coronavirus crisis?
  • Have they just shut down for the duration of the crisis?
  • Are they coming back after a spell of ventilation elsewhere?
This is serious - art history fans need to know!

A number of the links appear to be dead. However it is still possible to access
  • the alphabetical list of artists
  • an individual artist - see my pic re Turner below (minus an image by another artist)
  • the list of artworks for that artist - see pic below
Do let me know if you know anything about what is happening - and particularly if the database resurrects and comes back online.

Athenaeum Profile Page for JMW Turner

Alphabetical List of Titles of Turner Artworks in the Database