Saturday, January 02, 2021

Making A Mark - the 20 most popular blog posts for artists in 2020 (Part 1)

The most popular blog posts on Making A Mark changed somewhat this year - because of the Pandemic.   Thus there's a HUGE emphasis in 2020 on 

  • art on film/video - rather than in normal art competitions / art exhibitions
  • art competitions and other art programmes on various television channels; and 
  • collaborative video endeavours online on Facebook Live.
I'm splitting the most popular posts between 

  • Part 1 (today) 2020 and 
  • Part 2 (tomorrow) the previous 15 years.

Part 1: The most popular blog posts in 2020

Below I'm identifying the most popular posts based on a combination of the Making A Mark blog statistics from 
  • Google Analytics (which splits them between desktop and mobile) and 
  • Statcounter.
While it was inevitable that at least some of the most popular posts related to the Pandemic, most were in fact related to ways in which we managed to divert our attention from the Pandemic.

Portrait Artist of the Year

#1: Portrait Artist of the Year - broadcast by Sky Arts - was the most popular overall topic #portraitartistoftheyear

Portrait Artist of the Year (Series 7) - Waiting for the decision

The top post of 2020 - by a large margin - was Curtis Holder wins Portrait Artist of the Year (Series 7 Autumn 2020).

Also popular were my reviews of other episodes - although I suspect they might have been even more popular if I'd published them sooner after the episode was broadcast as I did last year. Here's a few more posts.....
What's interesting is that Series 7 (originally intended for broadcast in early 2021) was MUCH more popular than the Series 6 series earlier in the year - which started in January and was mostly broadcast outside lockdown.

I suspect this was in part due to the fact that many more people could view Series 7 as Sky made the Sky Arts Channel 'free to view' via Freeview from September
  • Hence the audience was potentially that much greater.  
  • I rather think this decision may have been prompted by the success of the Grayson Perry Art Club on Channel 4 during the Spring (see below) - and it of course provided a marketing hook to interest people in Sky television. 

Portrait Artist of the Week

#2It was followed by Portrait Artist of the Week - also by Sky Arts - which I think garnered a LOT of interest from artists from literally all over the world - because they were able to follow on Facebook Live
There was also a lot of happiness for many artists around the world when the series returned in the Autumn - see 'Portrait Artist of the Week' returns every Sunday - in October

It's worth noting that all the Facebook Live videos are still available via the Videos page on the Artist of the Year Facebook Page - so if you missed them at the time - anyone anywhere in the world can still paint along with the artist of the week whenever they like.

Google's New Blogger

#3 was a tech post i.e. my post written at the beginning of Google's switch from "Classic Blogger" to "New Blogger" - which I also lived through for several weeks. 
  • Google's NEW Blogger interface does not work properly! - This was written during a period of intense annoyance - which was shared by many others using Google's Blogger. I had a LOT of queries from people and people writing to thank me for the content and updates.  It was a stressful few months but we got there in the end after some of the more idiotic changes were reversed and/or upgraded. The quote from my post was written when I was VERY annoyed!
Below are two main faults
  • poorly managed change process
  • very poor communication and very poor design
plus a section why the new interface is dysfunctional - which contains
  • 10 points explaining what is wrong with the NEW BLOGGER interface  
I provided an update in NEW BLOGGER: Legacy Blogger goes away in September (Take #2) - but spent weeks / months ppinting out to people that most of the problems were addressed in the end.

Home is Where the Art Is

#4 was about another art competition on the television - but this time it was a BBC series about commissioned artworks
  • Home Is Where The Art Is (Series 2) was interesting because it improved a lot on some of the issues which cropped up in the first series - and there was some quite remarkable art during the course of the series
I've now watched the entire second series of Home is where the Art is on BBC1 - and I have to say I'm impressed
Jim Anderson and his Mosaics in Episode 10

You can access 
  • all my reviews via the label "home is where the art is"
  • all of series 2 via this link on BBC iPlayer online - or look in the Arts category or search using the title

Home is Where the Art Is (Series 2) - on BBC iPlayer
on my iPhone 12 Pro Max

Grayson's Art Club

#5 was more about being part of an art club than competing in an art competition on television - this time on Channel 4

Quarantine through Art

#6 was about a a 57 second video about art representing constant features of the lockdown which was very, very funny - and well worth a second / third / fourth look. It reminds us all about just what it was like during that initial lockdown / quarantine period in April.
This video, made and posted by Friking, a Spanish clothing company, renames famous masterpieces with more quarantine-appropriate titles
It went viral after somebody translated the spanish into English. 

I found the original post - plus the titles of the artwork, the artists who painted them and their new Covid titles below via Afar who were posting positive things for difficult times
Una Cuanentena con Arte—A Quarantine With Art
The Creation of Adam (Michelangelo) — Nada de Contacto/No Contact
The Lovers (Rene Magritte) — Los Besos/Kisses
Cestello Annunciation (Sandro Botticelli) — El Metero de Distancia/One Meter Apart
Self-Portrait with Loose Hair (Frida Kahlo) — El Estetista Cerrado/The Salon Is Closed
Two Women at a Window (Bartolome Esteban Murillo) — Las Charlas desde los Balcones/Chats From a Balcony
Piazza d’Italia (Giorgio de Chirico) — El Centro Ciudad/The City Center
After Breakfast (Elin Kleopatra Danielson-Gambogi) — Las Mañanas Interminables/Endless Mornings
Portrait of Helena de Kay (Winslow Homer) — La Primera Semana/Week One
Woman Reading on a Settee (William W. Churchill) — La Segunda Semana/Week Two
Joven decadent (Després del ball) (Ramon Casas) — La Tercera Semana/Week Three
The Fall of Phaeton (Jan Carel van Eyck) — Tápate Al Toser/Covering a Sneeze
Picnic (1998) (Fernando Botero) — Verano 2020/Summer 2020
From Fruit Stall (Frans Snyders) — El Enésimo Paseo/The Umpteenth Walk
Christ in the House of Mary and Martha (Vincenzo Campi) — La Compra Para Dos Semanas/Two Weeks’ Shopping
The collection of Modigliani portraits — El Chat de Grupo/Group Chat
Embrace of the Demiurge (Luis Key) — Cuando Todo Pase/When This Is All Over
Dance at Le Moulin de la Galette (Pierre-Auguste Renoir) — Los Reencuentros/The Reunion

(Nerding out and finding all the titles of these paintings made me pretty happy, too.) —Maggie Fuller, Associate editor


Great Paintings of the World with Andrew Marr

#7 In June we had more art on television - this time discussing great paintings.

I very much recommend the series. Andrew Marr (who describes himself on Twitter as elderly amateur painter and presenter of the BBC1 Andrew Marr Show) is surprisingly good at both telling both the story and indicating his appreciation of the artwork. You also get to find out all sorts of details you never knew before.

How much of it is Marr and how much of it is research by art history experts is unclear - but the programmes certainly have a distinct Marr flavour to them. He's no stooge for the words of others.

It's also great for all those who will never ever get to the Museums in which you can find these paintings on view 
The things about this series was that it started - but then hung - and did not finish. 

In my second post - Good news re Great Paintings of the World with Andrew Marr - I identified that....
I annotated my last post with what had NOT happened and wrote to Channel 5.

I got a response and here is the formal version
Due to Covid-19 affecting production for the full 10 parts of the series Great Paintings of the World with Andrew Marr, Channel 5 only intended to show the first three episodes in June 2020. The rest of the series will follow later this year" Channel 5 Spokesperson
So blame Covid-19 for the non-appearance of Episodes 4-10 - but they will be along later in the year.
There were a lot of sighs of relief - and this post also ranked highly during the year

Given they had time in the summer to do some filming I'm optimistic that they got at least some of the additional episodes in the can and that they might be broadcast sometime soon.

Portraits for NHS Heroes

#8: An extremely popular topic during the year - across the UK internet was the "Portraits for NHS Heroes" project. 
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!"

Athenaeum Art Database

#9Goodbye to the Athenaeum Art Database? was a post back in April 2020 which highlighted a major loss of artworks online for all art lovers. 

I'm in correspondence with somebody who is trying to come up with a replacement - but it's still a bit glitchy and I'll comment further on this when it's out of beta.

Adobe PS Elements FAIL

#10 Another tech post - this time in March - as I acquired my new iMac and discovered that Adobe "on the rocks" of Apple macOS Catalina 

i.e. my 11 month old 64 bit PhotoShop Elements 19 would not work because my brand new 27" iMac with a 5K Retina screen and running macOS Catalina (a 64 bit application which does not work with 32 bit applications) was hugely unimpressed by the fact that PS Elements had a 32 bit uploader (!!!) - and simply would not work. I was NOT impressed - and lots of people were interested in the options I was investigating.

For the record I eventually went with Affinity Photo by Serif - which is MUCH CHEAPER than Adobe PS Elements. 

Tomorrow I'll continue with popular posts from the past - and will see if what's been popular in the past has changed this year

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