Friday, April 30, 2021

Call for entries extended for Landscape Artist of the Year (Series 7) in 2021

The DEADLINE for the Call for Entries for the Sky Arts Landscape Artist of the Year series that will be filmed this summer has been extended.

READ ON if you want to be in a Pod or in a field or garden or beach this summer painting for the cameras

Pictures of Pods around the UK in previous series

Key Facts

  • The Deadline has been extended by 4 days and the new deadline is NOON on Tuesday, May 4th 2021
  • This is my original post about Call for Entries: Landscape Artist of the Year (Series 7) which tells you most of what you need to know — including
    • Key Features of the competition
    • So you want to paint landscapes on television?
    • Who can enter
    • Eligible Landscape paintings — for submission
    • Your digital entry (and what will disqualify you)
    • What are the Judges looking for?
    • My Reviews of Previous Heats in 2018 and 2019

The Landscape Entry submitted must be a painting of a landscape vista, and can be produced in any material excluding photography, video, sculpture and all forms of digital media. Collage and mixed media works are all allowed. The work may be abstract or expressive as long as it is recognisably a representation of a landscape that has been produced within the last five years. It should be a maximum of 1220 x 914 mm.
  • Think about the weather when creating art outside. The photos above are lovely — idyllic sunny days for painting challenging subjects. It's true that filming days can be like that — but as the programmes and my reviews have often recorded, you can also be painting in high wind, torrential rain and near-zero visibility. They don't stop the filming for the weather! You need to be prepared for this, and it's a really sensible idea to NOT make this your first time painting plein air.
  • If you want to be a wildcard painter you MUST apply to the competition — you can't just turn up on the day. However, note that there's no guarantee the Judges will come anywhere near you and/or look at your artwork.
  • Do not apply BEFORE you have read all the Terms and conditions. These are the Landscape Terms relevant to your application (i.e. a pdf file with titled LAOTY-S7-Ts-and-Cs-Final-Approved-by-Sky.pdf)
  • Keep an eye on your email and respond fast. A quick way of disqualifying yourself is not responding to any communication within the required time period - which can be very short.


Thursday, April 29, 2021

What's an NFT for art? Plus why artists should be wary of the latest bubble

I'm pretty sure my view about NFTs includes perspectives related to "the Emperor's New Clothes", the "South Sea Bubble", the " boom" and tulipmania.

In other words excessive speculation often leads to very big losses - of dignity, reputation or cash!

Just because something is the latest thing and there seems to be a furore about it doesn't make it any good!

So here's a quick run-down on NFTs - plus links to a list of articles on the topic as follows:

  • What is an NFT
  • Why are people excited about NFTs?
  • Why artists should be wary of NFTs
  • Recommendations for artists
  • List of articles about NFTs - from authoritative and other sources
Screenshot of the Christies's website  - and the sale of Beeple's 5,000 images of Everydays


What is an NFT?

NFT stands for "non-fungible token". Let's take that apart word by word.
  • "Non" means it isn't one i.e. it's not the same as a fungible token
  • "token" means a voucher that can be exchanged for goods or services
Which leaves us with "fungible". 

"Fungible" means that the object or 'thing' or 'token' so described (e.g. money or gold bars or bitcoins or barrels of oil) can be replaced by the same type and quantity of 'thing' when paying a debt or settling an account. In other words 
  • one gold bar is the same as another gold bar.
  • one £10 note = two £5 notes
So that means "non-fungible" must mean that it's unique and not interchangeable. 
In other words it can't be replaced with something else of equivalence.

For example there is only one Cullinan Diamond. There are other diamonds, but there are none which have the same number of carats, the same quality of brilliance and the same cut. 

There is only one of some paintings. (i.e. while each painting is unique, some artists have muddied the waters by creating more than one or used the same title for more than one painting).

It's thought that the momentum around NFTs for art stems in part from the sharing of images without any regard to copyright or attribution - on platforms like Tumblr and Pinterest.

Maybe people thought that if sharing is for free maybe we can make some money out of this?
The NFT seems to have arisen in connection with digital art because unlike some other forms of art, there can - in theory - be infinite numbers of the same digital file. 
So there's a need for a token that says this file is the only one and/or the first one and/or one of a limited edition - whatever the artist chooses.
A non-fungible token is a unit of data stored on a digital ledger, called a blockchain, that certifies a digital asset to be unique and therefore not interchangeable. NFTs can be used to represent items such as photos, videos, audio, and other types of digital files.

However, there is one big issue - which is you don't get the artwork. 

Instead, they get a unique digital token known as an NFT which records ownership of the digital artefact in a blockchain (like with bitcoins / cryptocurrency).

This part of the BBC article on this topic explains it most clearly

What's stopping people copying the digital art?

Nothing. Millions of people have seen Beeple's art that sold for $69m and the image has been copied and shared countless times.

In many cases, the artist even retains the copyright ownership of their work, so they can continue to produce and sell copies.

But the buyer of the NFT owns a "token" that proves they own the "original" work.

Some people compare it to buying an autographed print.

So there you go. You're paying out to say you own the first version. 

Why are people excited about NFTs?

Basically because of this  

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Lalique, Shell Posters by famous artists and Mary Fedden

One of the thing I enjoy doing most is looking at Auction Catalogues online - particularly for art auctions - for two primary reasons:

  • you can see artwork and made objects which are often never seen in art exhibitions at the major or minor galleries (i.e. they've disappeared into private collections and only reemerge when sold)
  • the estimates in the catalogues provide a benchmark for relative values of art. 
If for no other reason, those pricing and selling art should pay attention to what's competing for the attention of buyers in terms of calibre of the artist producing it and the likely auction value.

I'm particularly addressing that comment to those emerging artists who think they need to price high to get taken seriously.  It's wise to remember that serious buyers will also review the opportunity to buy at secondary arts sales/auctions as well as visiting galleries to see new work. 

However those thinking of buying need to review the notes about the additions to the bill after an item has been bought - and note my short summary of the "additions" to the bill which arie after the hammer goes down.

Three auctions at the Mall Galleries this week

I was surprised to see this week that the Mall Galleries seems to be expanding its usual repertoire of exhibitions and events to include art auctions for third party auction houses.

This week (27 April 2021 to 29 April 2021) it's hosting exhibitions related to upcoming Auctions by Lyon & Turnbull as follows:

  • Lalique (e-catalogue on Issuu) - by the French glass artist René Lalique (1860-1945) who was particularly noted for his art deco pieces - and what's on offer includes some amazingly beautiful pieces
  • MODERN MADE | Design on the Move - which includes a lot of the old Posters from the Shell Heritage Art Collection - many of which were by famous/well-known artists of the 20th century such as Paul Nash, John Piper, Graham Sutherland, Edward Bawden etc.
  • MODERN MADE | Modern Art & Post-War Design - which includes works by Mary Fedden, Dame Elizabeth Frink, lithographs by LS Lowry etc
It makes for an eclectic mix of styles and artworks.

The Mall Galleries is NOT advertising these as exhibitions which can be visited.

Instead the Mall Galleries website is being used as a gateway to the Lyon & Turnbull website 

  • the invitation is to view the lots online
  • The artworks can be viewed by appointment 
and the physical entity of the Galleries is being used to hold the auctions.

Which leaves me wondering what exactly can be viewed by appointment. 
  • Are the artworks on display in galleries - as happens at leading auction houses?
  • Or do you have to identify the pieces you want to see and these are extracted and made available for viewing?
  • Or given a number of them which are fragile (there's a huge amount of glassware) and/or will not be firmly attached to the wall in frames, do they just not have enough staff to "police' visitors?
The reason I ask is because of the sheer quantity of items in the auctions - see the online display of lots and the various e-catalogues below. The total of 532 lots will be stretching the now reduced capacity of the Mall Galleries (i.e. the end room of the North Gallery is no longer available)

The auctions are as follows

  • Lalique (106 lots - mainly glass) - Thursday, 29th Apr 2021 14:00 - see e-catalogue on Issuu
  • MODERN MADE | Design on the Move (49 lots) - 29th Apr 2021 18:00
  • MODERN MADE | Modern Art and Post War Design (382 lots) - Friday 30th April 10am 
  • - see the combined MODERN MADE e-catalogue on Issuu
Famous names in the auctions include: Rene Lalique, Paul Nash, Edward Bawden, Dame Elizabeth Frink, 

Note that all prices EXCLUDE 
  • the reduced rate of 5% VAT on the hammer price
  • the 25% premium paid on purchase
  • plus the VAT on the premium
  • plus 4% of the value of an artwork exceeding over €1,000 - which is due to all artists who can receive the artist resale royalty ( living artists and those who have died in the last 70 years) on secondary sales via an art gallery or dealer
On an artwork estimated to fetch £2,000 this could add (I estimate) 50 + 500 + 25 + 80 = £2,655 (i.e. around a third more than the hammer price) prior to transport and insurance.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

How to sell a painting to a Prime Minister

I admire Mary Casserley. Not only has she developed a style of painting the Chilterns which echoes that of old fashioned British Rail posters. She's also sold her painting of Chequers to Boris Johnson, the UK Prime Minister!

So how did she do it?

About the Painting of Chequers and the Johnson family

Chequers Court by Mary Casserley

The painting bought by Boris Johnson shows an image of Chequers Court - the Prime Ministers's official country house at the foot of the Chiltern Hills halfway halfway between Princes Risborough and Wendover in Buckinghamshire.

Besides a view of the house and garden, the image includes very simplified images of Boris walking the dog Dilyn near to his fiancée Carrie and their baby son Wilfred having a picnic on the lawn.  

I think her talent is to introduce very simplified figures into landscapes without them dominating. The lack of detail helps - as detail always draws the eye.

Mary achieved the sale by:
  • printing cards of the painting using a local press
  • sending one to the PM with a covering note
  • who then enquired via a handwritten letter whether he might buy the painting
  • so she sold it to him for her normal commission price
  • and the payment was made using PayPal! (Organised by his personal assistant!)

About Mary Casserley

Mary Casserley paints images of the Chilterns using gouache in bright uplifting colours and flat and simplified style employed in the 1930s by those creating images for railway posters which could then be printed easily.

My work revisits a classic era of Railway poster design, recreated in the vibrant tones of 1930's travel art.
Having been born and bred in Berkhamsted, she belongs to a railway family - which goes some way to explaining her interest in the railway poster style.

I personally always think of posters as "happy images" - either because of the subject or the aesthetic and often both. They're ideal for the times we're in at the moment.

Her vivid images focus on local high streets, local landscapes, well loved pubs, railway scenes and significant buildings in her area. She then gets her paintings printed, using a local press, as A5 cards, and A4 and A3 prints via her website - with all financial transactions then being conducted securely via Paypal.

I'd also add that Mary also impresses because she has a "giving back" page on her website which illustrates how she uses her images - with her permission of course - to be used for various local charitable ventures. 

The moral of the story is that there are any number of ways of selling art - and painting first and then showing people what you've done afterwards is very definitely one of them.

Monday, April 26, 2021

From Basquiat to Banksy

If you are a Banksy, Basquiat or urban street art fan you'll be interested in the first Private Sale at Christies in London - following the lifting on most restrictions for all retail

It's titled Off the Wall: Basquiat to Banksy 

"Off the Wall: Basquiat to Banksy" is a private selling exhibition showcasing the contemporary explosion of street art, charting a course through post-punk New York, millennial Britain and beyond. From the illicit and illegitimate to the painterly and political, it celebrates the negotiation between street and studio over nearly half a century.

To find out more you can browse and view the lots in the exhibition and Private Sale
I've been to a number of pre-auction exhibitions at Christies and the galleries and viewing opportunities are excellent.
Our London galleries are now open for public viewing, following government guidelines. Private clients and the wider public are able to visit with other members of their household, and trade clients with their working group. 

By classifying it as a Private Sale, each artwork has a predetermined price - and is NOT up for auction. It enables the buying and selling art outside of the auction calendar i.e. it's as if Christies was a gallery for secondary sales.

The Private Sales includes 52 items by the following graffiti and street artists.

(the number of their artworks in the exhibition is indicated in brackets after their name):
  • A-One, (1964-2001) (1) - who's not yet made it on to Wikipedia!
  • Banksy (11) - nobody knows who he really is. Except he's English (probably from the west country) and he's a street artist, political activist, and film director who has a company which provides Certificates of what is and is not a genuine Banksy!
Banksy on the Christies website
  • Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988) (8) an American artist whose themes art focused on dichotomies such as wealth versus poverty, integration versus segregation, and inner versus outer experience. 
  • Blek Le Rat (B. 1952) (3) a French graffiti artist - one of the first in Paris. He used to stencil rats on walls.
  • Keith Haring (1958-1990) (3) an American pop/graffiti artist in the 1980s - he frequently drew on New York subways
  • Invader, (b. 1969) (4) - a French urban artist. He is known for his ceramic tile mosaics modeled on the pixelated art of 1970s–1980s 8-bit video games. Also a graduate of the Parisian École des Beaux-Arts
  • Kaws, (b.1974) (2) - an American artist and designer whose includes repeated use of a cast of figurative characters and motifs.
  • OSGEMEOS, (B. 1974) (2) - identical twin street artists Otavio Pandolfo and Gustavo Pandolfo
  • Rammellzee, (1960-2010) (3) New York street artist 
  • Kenny Scharf (b. 1958) (5) an American Painter active at the same time as Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring,
  • Stik, (b. 1979) (4) - a British graffiti artist based in London. He is known for painting large stick figures.
It would be interesting to know who's selling!

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Art Exhibitions in London opening in May 2021

This post summarises the art exhibitions at the large art galleries and museums in London which will reopen on or after 17th May 2021 - which is the date indoor entertainment venues can reopen after lockdown.

The galleries and museums covered below are:

  • Royal Academy of Arts
  • National Gallery
  • Tate Britain
  • Tate Modern
  • Wallace Collection
  • Hayward Gallery
  • Dulwich Gallery
  • Whitechapel Gallery
Infinity Mirrored Room - Filled with the Brilliance of Life, 2011 
accessioned by the Tate 2019

LINKS TO EXHIBITION WEBPAGES are embedded in the title of the exhibition

Private / commercial art galleries reopened - as part of the reopening of non-essential retail - on 12th April

It would be wrong to suggest things are back to "normal".  Normal may still be some way off. 
  • All visits will need to be booked 
  • There are additional precautions to maintain social distancing / health and safety.
  • You can visit in a group of up to 6 people (remember when you used to be able to talk to friends at an exhibition!)
The government in its roadmap out of lockdown commented as follows
The arts, entertainment and recreation sector (excluding sports, amusement and recreation) has been hit very hard by the pandemic. Pre-COVID-19, this sector was worth £18.3 billion GVA UK wide (£15.5 billion in England) and had 473,000 jobs (400,000 in England). GVA output in the arts, entertainment and recreation sector as a whole compared to February fell by 46% in April, and subsequently to 33% in November; in no month since March has output been above 77% of pre-pandemic levels.[footnote 70] The sector as a whole has also had a high take-up of the furlough scheme, with 455,000 furloughed at peak in spring, and 293,000 furloughed at the end of November. Between 25 January and 7 February, 44% of businesses in the arts, entertainment and recreation sector have paused trading.[footnote 71] Reopening these sectors can allow these businesses to recover revenues and bring back employees.
In other words - get out there and visit some art exhibitions!

Royal Academy

We intend to reopen 18 May when lockdown restrictions have lifted.

If planning to visit more than one exhibition I recommend you read the visiting constraints carefully first - and book your most preferred exhibition first.
We are continuing to prioritise exhibition access for Friends and supporters. However, capacity in our galleries is greatly reduced and sadly we can’t guarantee access if time slots are fully booked.

David Hockney: The Arrival of Spring, Normandy, 2020


All works by David Hockney. © David Hockney
All works by David Hockney. © David Hockney
Clockwise from top left: 
No. 125, 19th March 2020. iPad painting. No. 340, 21st May 2020. iPad painting. No.186, 11th April 2020.
iPad painting. No. 118, 16th March 2020. iPad painting. No. 316, 30th April 2020.
iPad painting. No. 88, 3rd March 2020. iPad painting. No. 370, 2nd May 2020. iPad painting. No. 259, 24th April 2020.
iPad painting. No. 133, 23rd March 2020. iPad painting.
  • 23 May — 1 August (Main Galleries) SOLD OUT(?) from what I can make out - I couldn't find a ticket
  • 11 August - 26 September 2021 (Gabrielle Jungels-Winkler Galleries) - most of August sold out; I'd act quick if you want a ticket
  • same artwork in both galleries 
  • Book now 
This is an exhibition of 116 new artworks - all created by Hockney on his digital tablet. 

Tracey Emin / Edvard Munch: The Loneliness of the Soul

Dates: 18 May – 1 August
This is the exhibition which should have opened last November - but was nobbled Tier 4 restrictions and then by lockdown.  
  • Emin has been a major figure in contemporary art for over 25 years
  • Munch pioneered a radical new style known as Expressionism. 
  • Emin selects masterpieces by Edvard Munch to show alongside her most recent paintings.
Having viewed the image sheet for the exhibition it's amazing how much similarity there is between the two artists.

Michael Armitage: Paradise Edict

Dates: 22 May – 19 September
Michael Armitage draws from Titian, Goya, Manet and Gauguin to explore East African culture and folklore.  The visit seems to be limited to a time slot of 50 minutes. 

National Gallery

The National Gallery website gives me the distinct impression of a gallery which has decided to cut its losses and definitely is NOT taking any chances with booking art for the first half of 2021 and paying for transport for an exhibition which might be cancelled if another lockdown happens....

Just ONE exhibition opening in May - and it's NOT "a name"

Conversations with God - Jan Matejko’s Copernicus

Dates: 21 May – 22 August 2021 (Room 46)
a rare opportunity to see one of Poland’s most loved works of art.

You have to wait until much later for leading artists.

AUTUMN 2021: 
The first major UK exhibition of German Renaissance artist Albrecht Dürer in nearly 20 years.


Tate Britain

Tate’s four galleries hope to reopen on 17 May. Plan Your Visit or go to our FAQ page for additional information.
Most of the exhibitions are reopening i.e. ones which closed due to Tier 4 and then the lockdown
  • Timed tickets must be booked before visiting
  • All visitors including Members need to book a ticket
  • This ticket includes access to the British art collection routes
The exhibitions include:

Ongoing exhibitions - which are open all the time and are FREE (but you still have to book a ticket) include:

Tate Modern

The reopening of Tate Modern

Exhibitions reopening

NEW Upcoming Exhibitions

  • Beuys’ Acorns  Until 14 Nov 2021 (FREE) - should have been open from the beginning of May (hence listed first) IF Tate Modern had been open!

  • Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirror Rooms (18 May – 21 November 2021) - 2020 was supposed to be a big long Yayoi Kusama exhibition for TM's 20th anniversary - but it was not to be. Instead it's now in 2021 - for its 21st - and we now have:

Tate presents a rare chance to experience two of Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirror Rooms. These immersive installations will transport you into Kusama’s unique vision of endless reflections

Wallace Collection

Rubens: Reuniting the Great Landscapes

Dates: opens on 21 April 2021. (No closing date given)

For the first time in over two hundred years, Peter Paul Rubens’s (1577-1640) two great masterpieces of landscape painting, The Rainbow Landscape (The Wallace Collection) and A View of Het Steen in the Early Morning (The National Gallery) will be reunited as part of an exhibition at the Wallace Collection.


Hayward Gallery

Dates: 19 May – 25 July
It features:
  • a series of imposing and intricate sculptures cast from fallen trees 
  • over 40 engravings and electroplated copper plates. 
The Hayward Gallery presents the artist’s first solo museum presentation in the UK in over a decade, featuring the UK premiere of a ‘breathtakingly beautiful’ new feature-length film.

Dulwich Gallery

Unearthed: Photography's Roots

Dates: Re-opening 19 May subject to COVID-19 restrictions, until 30 August 2021
the pioneering story of photography from the 1840s to today, told through stunning still lifes of plants and botany.


Whitechapel Gallery

Phantoms of Surrealism

Dates: 19 May – 12 December 2021
This archive exhibition will examine the pivotal role of women as both artists and as behind-the-scenes organisers within the Surrealist movement in Britain in the 1930s.


and finally......

An unauthorised exhibition of the largest private collection of artworks by Banksy 

will be on show at 50 Earlham Street. It opens 20th May for a limited period - who knows for how long?

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Review of RBA Annual Exhibition 2021

It was a bit odd stepping into the Mall Galleries to see an exhibition - having not been there since last October. 

Nevertheless the numbers in the gallery for the Annual Exhibition of the Royal Society of British Artists at the Mall Galleries suggested pre-pandemic days were over and life was back to normal.

West Gallery

However that was only if I ignored 
  • the need to book in advance and 
  • then follow the feet stickers on the floor suggesting the recommended route around the gallery 
  • plus a lot of people with masks on!! :) 
I'm going to do something a bit different with this review.  Below I'll offer general comment about the exhibition - and then highlight some of the artworks which jumped off the wall for me. 

My first two posts covered all the other information of relevance

East gallery

General Comments

The RBA Exhibition in 2020 was the last of the "normal" exhibitions at the Mall Galleries before lockdown. It seems very appropriate for it to be the first of those to start the 2021 year of more exhibitions by the FBA Societies.

There are 466 artworks in this show. The range and scope of the exhibition is amazing. (You can see my photos of the exhibition here)

It includes:
  • paintings in different media 
  • drawings using in many different media. I think I saw more pastels and works in charcoal than I've seen in a long time
  • fine art prints - which are very high quality and look amazing when hung together
  • sculpture of the most amazing diversity in terms of theme, media and construction. Most is in the East Gallery
I LOVED the Print Wall - in the centre of the West Gallery. The RBA is fortunate to have some very accomplished fine art printmakers exhibiting in their show - and a number of them are members.

Print wall (left)

Print wall (right)

As always I'm grateful for feedback on the comments I made the previous year
  • the labels are now at the side of the artwork and NOT underneath and hence hidden by the shadow of the frame (Yay for those of us who struggle with having the right glasses on at times!) - and as such are MUCH easier to see
  • entries from younger artists have increased. I gather from the President that my comments last year about the exhibition being one I always recommend to young artists has seen an uplift in the number of entries from younger artists - and for me that's very much reflected in the artwork in the exhibition!
I think this year's annual exhibition of the RBA would be almost unrecognisable compared to those which used to be held not that long ago.  (see reviews at the end). Parts of it look like a commercial contemporary art gallery!

There was MUCH MORE new artwork and new-looking artwork this year - of which more below (after reservations)

Some reservations / suggestions for improvements

If I were to strike a critical note, I'd suggest that:
  • there is still some artwork which I would personally have pruned - member or not. I hasten to add there's relatively few such artworks - but enough to make the comment. 
    • Members cannot rest on their laurels when non-members outshine them
    • I very much approve of those national art societies which are now making their members' artwork pass the same scrutiny as the open entry - to keep members on their toes and make sure that it measures up to the standards of artwork submitted via the open entry. 
  • Some of the frames are overly "ornate", very traditional or too big / too heavy. My rule of thumb is if you find yourself noticing the frame more than the artwork, it's in the wrong frame! I can never work out whether such frames are used because 
    • they are expensive frames and keep being rotated until they contain an artwork which sells?
    • the artist uses them because their gallery think that's what collectors want? 
    • this is what people think sells? Anybody who does should read Do frames help to sell art? when I counted and classified frames of all the sold art. That was five years ago - maybe it's time to do this again.
    • see my previous blog post - Framing your artwork - a summary
In relation to online sales, it did occur to me that all the images on the Mall Galleries website ONLY include the artwork - and NOT what the artist is buying - which, of course, includes the frame too!!

I do think every artwork being sold online needs 
  • to reflect EXACTLY what is being sold i.e. including the frame. 
  • to show the size in relation to a standard room
  • i.e. all the standard features of most online websites selling art online.
The reality is that framing has moved on - and nobody wants the additional expense of replacing a frame which does not fit with their home. 

That said I was very pleased to see one artist who has been one of the main 'culprits' of the "old-fashioned frames" brigade - has changed his frame and gone for something much more simple and contemporary - and now I see the artwork and not the frame.

Artwork I liked

I went round the exhibition looking to see what jumped out at me.  I do a number of circuits. The first I just look at the art and nothing else. It's always interesting to see what appeals to my visual senses.

Best Portrait

The best portrait in the exhibition for me was this oil painting by up and coming artist Tedi LenaI just loved the detailed realism expressed in a very painterly way. His understanding of light is astounding in particular in terms of how it influences both composition and palette without being obtrusive in any way.  His characterisation of Adele and inclusion of all the usual paraphernalia of young lives makes this a very natural portrait of a young woman - with presence.

Adele in the Studio by Tedi Lena
oil, 120cm x 100cm, £4,500

Tedi Lena (Instagram)
  • born 1996 (age 25). He's deaf and communicates silently using sign language. (Read this article for more about the impact of hearing deficit on Tedi's visual acuity)
  • graduated with a BA (Hons) degree from the Sir John Cass School of Architecture and Design at the London Metropolitan University and was was awarded the Owen Rowley Prize, 2018.
  • also attended short courses at Hampstead School of Art and the Royal Academy of Arts. 
  • previously selected for the BP Portrait Award 2019 - with a great portrait of Frank Bowling.
PS I didn;t know any of this when I chose this painting!

He's certainly an artist I expect to see featuring in future prestigious exhibitions of portraiture in London.

Best Lockdown Painting

I think this was my best painting representing lockdown and the challenges of the last year. I was a little surprised not to see more paintings which took our changed lives as a theme.

In between Meetings by Verity Child just has that "all zoomed out" look about it!  Plus the details are all there - the dining table with the eternal bowl of brekkies or soup, the headphones, the phone and the dressing gown etc!

Oil, 60 x 90 cm, £1,450

Verity Child is also exhibiting as part of the RBA RISING STARS exhibition at the ROSL – 2021.

Best Urban Landscape

Pont Street Rain SE19 by Roger Cromwell
33 x 49 cm (50 x 66 cm framed)

I love artists who find paintings in the most unlikely places - in this case a wet pavement in Knightsbridge. The pavement positively glistened, the colours were also absolutely splendid - and I'm amazed at anybody who can paint upside down paintings and maintain the perspective!

Roger Cromwell also won an award for another painting of his in the exhibition called Storm Passing.

The Best "Almost a Drawing" 

I love this work and it was ideally placed - at the end of the West Gallery so you could see it from afar - and then get behind it and see all the rest of the exhibition through it. Plus I'm a big fan of artworks which look like real women!

Don’t Look Back by Gabrielle Bradshaw
Forged and welded metal 39.5 x 45.5 cm £2,200

I found Gabrielle Bradshaw's website and surprise, surprise - this is a woman who loves drawing! She also works in charcoal, pastels and watercolour and likes drawing figures. I think her sculpture is very original, contemporary and accessible. Very simple and very effective.

In terms of background:
  • She studied at Camberwell School of Art - and was awarded a First Class Honours degree in Fine Art Sculpture. 
  • While still at college she:
    • won the SOGAT award for an installation at the South London Gallery 
    • created site specific work for the Barbican Arts Centre. 
    • Her degree piece was exhibited with the London Group at the Royal College.
  • She's worked as a welder and set builder at the Royal National Theatre in London. 
  • Her work has also been exhibited and auctioned at Sotheby's.
  • She's also worked as a television artist, writer, and presenter across all the main channels including five series of the BBC1 children's art programme Hartbeat with Tony Hart.

Best Sculpture 

I really liked the puzzle aspect of this piece. It's intriguing. It's made of wood - but constructed in lots and lots of small parts which reminded me of Jenga. It has different facets which contain object. I wondered why it started dark at the bottom and lightens as it gets to the top - and what was the link with a war.

The Soldier by Lesley Hilling
Mixed media 185 x 83 x 120 cm £5,500

Lesley Hilling is a self taught artist working solely with recycled materials - creating assemblies from recycled wood and found objects. I think she has to to be into puzzles as well as I remember identifying one of her assemblages last year as work which stood out for me as being both original and interesting.

This is a video about the work.

Best Printmaker

I saw Miranda Halsby's Etchings with aquatints in different locations within the exhibition and liked ALL of them - without realising they were all by the same artist. I genuinely stopped and looked at each independently. (I never look at names in my first round of the gallery - I only ever look at the art. I only ever look at labels on my second 'go-round'.)

She displays exquisite draughtsmanship and sensitive use of colour - and something about the composition and colour palettes of each one which made them look different even if they were views of familiar scenes - including ones I've drawn myself.

This was my favourite - which is tucked away in an unobtrusive location in the North Gallery.

View of the Grand Canal by Miranda Halsby
Medium: Etching With Aquatint | Edition of 50 (39 Available)  | Size: 43 x 40 cm
£300 (£230 unframed)

A bit of background about Miranda Halsby
  • born in London in 1948
  • went to Kingston and Hornsey Colleges of Art.
  • trained and practised as an Occupational Therapist using Art and Craft as treatment in hospitals.
  • ran Highgate Gallery with her husband for 10 years
  • has shown with the RBA since 1997, winning the St. Cuthberts Mill Award in 2001 when she was also elected a member of the RBA
  • has exhibited widely

Best Group of Paintings

I was very surprised to see this group of three large almost traditional paintings by Chinese artist Huaicun Zhang. (Instagram) She is an artist and an author of children's literature. She is Tu Ethnic Minority people, British Chinese, a member of the Royal Society of British Artists and the Chinese Writers Association.

Three Ink paintings by Huaicun Zhang
- each priced at £10000

I hope the Mall Galleries are up to speed with the new money laundering regulations (blog post coming soon!) - because they're going to have to be if they sell any of these paintings! 

Links to reviews of previous RBA Annual Exhibitions

These are my previous reviews of the annual exhibition

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

RBA Annual Exhibition 2021 (Part 2)

I was apparently correct to be cautious about attending the Annual Exhibition of the Royal Society of British Artists at the Mall Galleries last week.  I met up with Mick Davies, the President yesterday and apparently some 500 people visited on the first day! 

Yesterday when I visited (or rather when my ankle allowed me to visit) there were a lot of people viewing the exhibition. It was almost like pre-pandemic days! 

I guess a lot of people have been waiting a very long time to be able to see art hung on walls as opposed to online - and are very appreciative of the opportunity to do so!

Note: the current state of play with my "bone on bone and no cartilage" in my severely osteoarthritic ankle is that I can't visit when I'd like to - because some days I can barely walk. As it was I could hardly walk when I got home yesterday - having exceeded the rather small number of steps I can comfortably do without repercussions. It's made me realise how much I really need a rollator for regular sit downs! Apparently the disabled lift is being replaced at the Mall Galleries - which will also be helpful.

I was aiming to complete my review of the exhibition today - but instead I've focused on getting my photos online via my public Facebook Page. They're in the order that I, more or less, walked around the exhibition - except I started with the East rather than the West Gallery. Mostly they're views of sections of the walls - but I've also included:

  • some of the prizewinners (see my previous post for access to the listings of images, artists and associated videos)
  • some of the artworks which "jumped off the wall" at me - for various reasons
They'll help you make sense of tomorrow review of the exhibition - which I RECOMMEND people try and see if they can before the exhibition closes at the end of Saturday 24th April.

The beginning of the Facebook album of images of the RBA Annual Exhibition 2021

My review blog post will be tomorrow and I hope to also do a preliminary analysis of how the sales are spread across price ranges.

You can also take a look at this VIDEO introduction to the Exhibition by RBA President Mick Davies - filmed as the final touches were happening to the hanging of the exhibition prior to its opening

Monday, April 19, 2021

New rules and regulations for Art Business - and Artists

I'm trying to catch up on the amount of change in law and regulations impacting on both artists, art organisations and the art market in the last 18 months.

I'm creating new resource pages for:

  • international shipping 
    • rules of origin
    • export licences
  • money laundering regulations for art market participants where a transaction (or series of transactions with the same buyer) exceeds £10,000

Import and export of artwork etc

Since 1st January 2021, 

  • I've had LOTS of detailed queries about HOW to import / export art without falling foul of the new regulations
  • there has been huge traffic to my Art Business Info for Artists in relation to international shipping and the import or export of art (and other created artworks and/or art material)

As at the beginning of January, there wasn't much to go on in terms of what people needed to do post Brexit - so I held off making changes until the situation improved.

I'm now very slowly slogging my way through the HUGE amount of new documentation from HMRC and various government departments which relates to the import / export of art and art materials post 1st January 2021 i.e. post the UK leaving the EU.

My brain hurts! 

rules of origin for art business
View of the new page on Rules of Origin on At Business Info for Artists

To date:

  • I've got one new page up - on "Rules of Origin" 
    • in the SHIP ART section of Art Business Info for Artists
    • it's a dedicated page under International Art Shipping: How to ship / export art
      to other countries
  • I'm working on Export Licences - and when these are required - which will hopefully publish this week.
    • these are required in relation to specific types of art over a specific valuation
I've still got to get my head around the Northern Ireland question and the border in the Irish Sea....

Mandatory Money Laundering Regulations for all Art Market Participants

ALERT!!! Plus I know I need to create a NEW page related to Money Laundering Regulations for Artists (and Art Galleries etc.) in the MONEY section. 

This WILL impact on more than a few artists, selling exhibitions, art societies and art galleries because
  • The art market is a known target for money laundering and is officially regarded by HMRC as "high risk"
  • The EU Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directive (5AMLD) was enacted into UK law with effect from 10 January 2020 and anti money laundering compliance has NOT BEEN OPTIONAL since 10th of January 2020
  • The new regulations require a LOT of information to be collected and formally recorded and retained in relation to purchasers of artwork valued (as one lot or an accumulation) above the equivalent of £10,000
To be exempt, an artist (or art organisation) must be 
Not trading in or acting as an intermediary involving a “work of art” in a single transaction, or a series of linked transactions of £10,000 or more.
So basically, every time you price and deal in an artwork above £10,000 you (or your agent) 
  • MUST register to comply with the Regulations and 
  • MUST maintain all appropriate records - which will be open to inspection by those monitoring compliance (think VAT records!)
Art Market Participants (AMPs) which includes any person or organisation dealing in art - have until 10th June 2021 to register to comply with the Money Laundering Regulations (i.e. it was deferred because of the Covid-19 pandemic).

See for example The Art Newspaper's article (updated in March 2021) The art market is 'high risk' for money laundering, so ignore new regulations at your peril

More on this when my new page is published in the near future.

The pages improve with age!

As always with these sort of initiatives my first published page is the best I can do at the time. HOWEVER they always improve over time as:
  • I find more information 
  • fill the gaps in advice
  • make the entire page more related to the art business - while at the same time providing the context for "what an artist needs to know" (or art gallery or art collector!)