Saturday, July 31, 2021

Lockdown Art #5: Weird and Whacky Recycled Waste Hats by Lynne Chapman

One of the really joyful aspects of the lockdowns was seeing people released from their normal timetables finding time to explore new avenues. 

For some this was because "needs must" as in the need to keep income streams flowing. 

For others it was more about needing to keep creating in the face of the vast endless vacuum which was a lockdown.

For yet others there was a need to create joy in their lives at a time when it much was frightening and depressing. 

Fabrications out of single use plastic waste materials by Lynne Chapman

One of the more rewarding experiences I had was watching Lynne Chapman continue with a project she'd started prior to the pandemic - about using waste materials to create art.

She started back in 2019, thinking about ways in which she could use single use plastci within her textile art.

She progressed during the pandemic to creating hats. Much of which looked weird and whacky - but ALWAYS brought a smile to my face. She certainly succeeded in creating joy for very many people during a dark time.

Friday, July 30, 2021

How to list artwork dimensions

Which way round should the dimensions of artwork be listed when providing information about an artwork (i.e. drawings / paintings / prints)

Height and then width OR width and then height?

There appear to be a diversity of views. My own personal view is that it should always be height and then width.

One of my personal missions in life is to persuade all art competitions and open exhibitions to get their forms right and list the dimensions the right way round! Hence this post!

So I decided to take a look to see if I could prove I was correct - having been irritated, yet again, by seeing artwork on a website with the dimensions listed (in my opinion) "the wrong way round"!

I looked for sources of information from:

  • leading art galleries and museums
  • reputable websites
HOWEVER I also found that there was a different perspective in the graphics and digital image / photography world!

So the answer is "it depends on what your are measuring" BUT 
  • if you're measuring artwork then there is only one right answer!
  • it's different if you're measuring photographs!

According to Art Galleries and Museums

It's height then width and then depth.

I'm listing below the art galleries and museums which were reviewed - with artwork inspected on a random basis. Plus I'm including some images from those websites to prove what I'm saying!

Basically I stopped looking after the National Galleries of the UK and USA plus the Louvre in Paris. I've no doubt there may be some cultural dissension on this matter in places where people read from right to left - but I'm only trying to persuade the organisers of juried exhibitions in the West to get it right. I've not gone for global domination - yet! ;)

Dimensions at the National Gallery (London) - height first and then width
A Young Woman Standing at A Virginal by Johannes Vermeer
51.7cm x 45.2cm

Height first - then width

  • National Gallery (London)
  • National Gallery of Art (Washington)

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

How to see inside art materials / supplies shops

I've just discovered something which allows me to see inside shops which provide art materials, equipment and related supplies - on my own screen!

It's probably been around forever but I've never ever seen it before. I suspect this might be because, this age of ordering online, shops are making greater use of it to market their premises as a "go to" place for art materials, equipment and other supplies.

How to see inside art materials shops

So what you do is 

  1. Go to Google Maps
  2. put the name of the shop into Google Maps 
  3. Click search
  4. Click on the picture of the shop which comes up top left of Google Maps
What happens next is you get to see all photos posted on Google which relate to that shop.
SCORLL DOWN on the left hand column to see all the available photos - and you get a really good idea of the amount and type of art materials available in the shop.

Check out some art shops

Below are some art shop where this works. 

Why not have a go yourself with the art shops you know - or have always wanted to visit?

UK - London

L. Cornelissen & Son, Great Russell Street, London

Monday, July 26, 2021

Is Venetian Red the key to the zappy red in Thomas Lawrence's portraits

For years I've been trying to work out why the red much used by Thomas Lawrence in his portraits should look so vibrant and have remained in such good condition to this day.

This post is about a possible explanation involving a colour - Venetian Red.

About Thomas Lawrence

Sir Thomas Lawrence (13 April 1769 – 7 January 1830) was a leading English portrait painter and the third president of the Royal Academy of Arts - holding the position for the years 1820-1830.

Born in 1769 his talents found early recognition and he became something of a child prodigy among the fashionable crowd of the 1770s.

When he became the effective successor to Sir Joshua Reynolds after Reynold's death, he was able to command fees far in excess of other portrait painters and he made (and spent) a lot of money. He was knighted after painting the victors of Waterloo.

I first came across Lawrence in 2010 - at an exhibition of his portraits at the preview of the major exhibition Thomas Lawrence: Regency Power And Brilliance at the National Portrait Gallery  (There are 689 portraits by Lawrence listed by the NPG in their index of artists and sitters)

About Lawrence's approach to portrait painting and use of red

This is my Exhibition Review: Thomas Lawrence at National Portrait Gallery which summarises both his career and comments on his approach to portrait painting and his use of colour. I won't repeat the background here except for this comment

"his use of colour is absolutely stunning - he uses vivid colours and in particular a deep red to exceptional effect"

Lawrence's portraits in the exhibition

"(I) wondered why his paintings look so fresh and which sort of red he has used which continues to look good some 300 years later. The curator I spoke to confirmed that these these are some of the best looking portraits they've ever had on display and yet there's no or very little evidence of restoration or cleaning."

Besides being an excellent portrait painter, he very clearly knew a lot about how to use art materials to ensure a portrait painting had both impact and longevity.

Red is a colour which immediately attracts attention. Most of us know it is as a "come and look at me" colour.

The really odd thing is that while paintings by other artists of his era may look good, inspection up close shows that the paintwork has deteriorated in some way or other - or may just have changed colour. Especially if a colour which is frequently seen as prone to losing saturation.

By way of contrast, Lawrence's portraits all looked as if they'd been painted the previous year and the reds were all exceptionally vibrant and in good condition.

I was immediately intrigued as to how come his paint looks so good compared to other painters. I concluded it had to be something to do with how he mixed his paints and what he used for pigments and media - and maybe what he used for a varnish.

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Lockdown Art #4: Spring Lockdown by Sarah Godsill

My lockdown art this week is by artist and illustrator Sarah Godsill.

As we all know when the first lockdown was announced on March 23rd, everything seemed to grind to a halt.

Sarah found it increasingly hard to concentrate on work and ignore news bulletins. So she decided to use the strange circumstances as a way to connect with friends and family by asking them for photographs of themselves in their most typical lockdown activity for a painting.

This is what she has to say about her painting shows people at work and play, round the table, cooking, reading, gardening, getting out for walks or stuck at computer screens. They come from all over the UK, Spain, USA, Canada, Chile, Venezuela and Singapore.

"I started to envisage a Zoom screen full of everyone’s images. I didn’t know how many photos there would be and I had originally planned to do individual paintings, but on a practical level it was easier to grid a canvas into 64 slots and add the images as they were sent to me.

As I worked on each individual image it was comforting to think about the people represented, whether they were far away geographically or just around the corner here in Frome. We couldn’t meet in person and hug - we still don’t know when that will be possible - so it was a lovely way to feel a bit of a connection with everyone.”

Spring Lockdown by Sarah Godsill
oil 100 x 120 cm

“It’s been a challenging year for most of us and especially difficult for those who have been affected by Covid19 or are shielding or caring for vulnerable people, but it’s also highlighted the most valuable things in life and all that we’re grateful for.

The incredible weather made it more manageable in the first few months and that really stood out in lots of the photos I received; I never used green in my paintings before this year.”
The resulting painting has now been accepted for hanging by 

  • the Annual Open exhibition of Bath Society of Artists  at the Victoria Art Gallery in Bath, which opens online on November 2nd.
  • the Annual Exhibition of the New English Art Club - where you can see it on the wall. I'm thinking it must have been spotted back in November by Peter Brown who is also a member of the Bath Society of Artists
Her photo (below) of the mandatory "me and my painting" illustrates neatly how big it is.

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Funding for Art and Design Education in England is cut

This is about news about:
  • 50% cuts in funding subsidy for art and design courses
  • a new campaigning organisation for the arts
  • the potential impact on students and those offering them courses 
  • what might happen as a result - including new digital courses accessible worldwide

The Art Newspaper is reporting a 50% cut in funding for arts and design courses in higher education across England - see UK government approves 50% funding cut for arts and design courses. Specifically:

  • the subsidy for each full-time student on an arts course will be cut from £243 to £121.50 next academic year (2021/22).
  • this cut in subsidy will save about £20 million
Apparently the government's thinking behind the cut to art and design courses is the need to reprioritise funding and divert it towards the provision of high-cost, high-value subjects that support the NHS... high-cost STEM subjects [science, technology, engineering and mathematics].

But where is the information on authoritative websites?

I can find the information in The Guardian's 

The problem I had initially is that I went to all the relevant websites - and couldn't find a single item of information about this on:

Until I found this OfS confirms funding reforms (20th July 2021)

So is this going to make a dramatic different to art education in England? Simple answer is I don't know.

What is true is that
  • most funding comes via tuition fees and not through public subsidy.
  • HOWEVER, if you cut funding this means either
    • a decrease in tuition places
    • an increase tuition fees
    • a reduction in places offering courses
    • you have a major rethink about how to cut costs and maintain education (eg focus on course delivery and not the buildings which house education - see below for one example)
i.e. you can't carry on at the same levels if you cut half the subsidy.

Public Campaign for the Arts

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

The earliest landscape watercolour painting in England?

Today I saw what is thought to be one of the earliest landscape paintings in watercolour which survives in England.

I was visiting the Renaissance Watercolours display - in place of the Renaissance Watercolours exhibition that never was - at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Mainly I was there to see the album of wtercolours by the 16th century botanical artist Jacques Le Moynes de Morgues - but there were several other interesting watercolour paintings which caught my eye.

One of these was the painting of Nonsuch Palace by Joris Hoefnagel - which was a grand hunting lodge which used to exist in Surrey in the area now known as Nonsuch Park.
"Among the earliest surviving English landscape watercolours, it brings to life one of the greatest monuments of the English Renaissance, now lost to us." Rare painting of Henry VIII's 'lost palace' saved from export | BBC News
Nonsuch Palace from the South (1568) by Joris Hoefnagel
Black chalk, pen and ink, with watercolour, heightened with white and gold

Estimated height: 24.2cm / Estimate width: 26.3cm
Interestingly Hofnagel only visited England in 1568 - and was only here for  few months. One wonders how he came to get access which enabled him to paint the palace.
Nonsuch Palace from the South by the Flemish artist Joris Hoefnagel is one of the earliest surviving visual records of Henry VIII’s opulent hunting lodge designed to celebrate Tudor supremacy. The artist successfully captured a blend of traditional English architecture and classically-inspired elements such as the spiral columns. Hoefnagel meticulously reproduced the framed stucco panels that lined the palace walls. With fine lines of black pen heightened with white, the artist illustrated the moulded high-relief panels depicting Roman emperors, gods and goddesses as well as the Labours of Hercules. Hoefnagel then balanced the exquisite detail of Nonsuch Palace with the sweeping countryside in muted hues of green and brown. Hoefnagel utilised this drawing for an engraving in the fifth volume of Civitates Orbis Terarum, an atlas of towns, in which Nonsuch Palace received a dedicated plate, a credit to its fame.
The painting shows the south facade of the Palace - including the towers and the lavish stucco relief at the top of the walls. Plus the hunting grounds which surrounded the building.
Detail of the stucco relief at the top of the walls on the south elevation
In 1959, Hoefnagel's incredibly detailed painting was shown to be surprisingly accurate. Archaeological excavations unearthed pieces of a stucco figure leaning on a shield, directly beneath the point where a similar relief is shown in the painting.

Landscape painting in watercolour

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Count the number of art competitions that no longer exist....

The only thing that is certain in this world is "change".

Which is why, one of the things that is certain in the art world is that art competitions change over time.

What's surprising me right now is just how many of the more major competitions in the UK have completely disappeared in recent time. 

  • I last wrote about this prior to lockdown back in early 2020 in The Disappearing Art Competitions 
  • Since when we've had confirmation more have been lost and the art competition 'maketplace' has changed significantly in the UK.

I thought it was time for AN UPDATE. Below I list those art competitions

  • which will not be taking place in 2021
  • which still exist and will take place
  • those replacing past competitions
  • minor art competions

plus why art competitions are important to artists.

By way of a preamble, I am absolutely convinced this is all about two things:

FIRST we're still experiencing coronavirus interruptus syndrome, i.e. the very long "stall" associated with not knowing when things are going to get back to normal. Right now I don't expect thing to approach normal until 2022 - but I do also expect people to be planning for this right now!

SECOND there is an absolute DEARTH of key components for a prestigious art competition. These are:

  • key people whose networks enable them to prize out sponsorship money from corporate bodies which can afford it
  • strategic thinking within some regional museums - in relation to the traffic which can be generated by a good art competition
  • organisations which want to be associated with significant art prizes.
  • organisations with expertise and practical experience in developing efficient and effective art competitions with significant prizes (i.e. why are we losing all these top art competitions?)

By way of contrast, I am also noticing that some national art societies are getting very good at generating / replacing very good levels of sponsorship for prizes for their open exhibitions.  

  • I now highlight clearly those national art societies which people should take a close look at on the basis of prize money alone.
  • This should make artists think about whether they are applying for the right  open exhibitions!  PROMPT to my recent client: this is what I was talking about! :)

Art Competitions that no longer exist in 2021

BP Portrait Award

The last BP Portrait exhibition in the NP

Monday, July 19, 2021

Call for Entries: ING Discerning Eye 2021

This post is about the Call for Entries for the 2021 Exhibition of The ING Discerning Eye Exhibition which will be held at the Mall Galleries and Online between 11 and 21 November 2021

The Deadline for Entries is Tuesday 7 September 2021 (5pm)

The ING Discerning Eye is an educational charity, established in the UK in 1990, to encourage a wider understanding and appreciation of the visual arts and to stimulate debate about the place and purpose of art in our society, and the contribution each one of us can make to its development.

The exhibition comprises both publicly submitted works and works independently selected by six prominent figures from different areas of the art world: two artists, two collectors and two critics. Each section is hung separately to give each its own distinctive identity. The impression emerges of six small exhibitions within the whole.

Last year - due to the exhibition being held online only - there was a there were the number of entries was larger than usual and there were over 600 artists and nearly 1000 works.
Which seems odd to me - I'd expect there to be much more entries than this given the numbers received by other open exhibitions and competitions. 
I've criticised this competition in the past for having too many artworks by artists selected by the selectors from OUTSIDE the open entry. 
  • Maybe that changed in 2020. 
  • Maybe it will return back to the normal bias away from the open entry in 2021. 
  • Who knows? It would be nice if they were much more EXPLICIT AND TRANSPARENT about something which is a competition with paid entries!

What stays the same in 2021

The ING Discerning Eye Exhibition in 2021 will: 
  • be OPEN to all artists resident in the UK 
  • who can submit up to six original works 
  • accept digital only entries
  • include only 
    • works constrained by size i.e. only small works are permitted (it must be less than 20 inches (50cm) in its greatest dimension.)
    • which MUST be an original creation by the artist
  • comprise works independently selected by six prominent figures from different areas of the art world
    • two artists,
    • two collectors and
    • two critics
    • each selector is solely responsible for their own selection
  • AND all artwork submitted via the open entry MUST be for sale
In addition, the DE continues with the Discerning Eye bursary of £1,500
Plus the Call For Entries site will be via ArtOpps

What will be different in 2021 

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Book Review: Pure Pastel: Contemporary Works by Today's Top Artists

This is about a book about Pure Pastel: Contemporary Works by Today's Top Artists edited by Anne Hevener

The last thing I did when I was leaving the Annual Exhibition of the Pastel Society on Wednesday was pick up a book I'd not seen before in person. 

This is the latest book about pastel artworks and pastel artists published under the auspices of the Pastel Journal - also edited by Anne Hevener (until 2019). She invited 100 of those she considered to be the top contemporary pastel artists to contribute works to the book.

Normally I would have bought it on the spot - but I'm currently carrying a rollator up and down stairs on the tube and even thought this is carbon fibre, there was absolutely no way I could possibly carry this large and heavy book!

So I took a photo of the cover (so as to remember the title and details) and ordered it from Amazon as soon as I got home!

and this is the photo of the cover
- for this review
- in my sitting room this morning!

Essentially, it's a giant picture book - with artworks by leading pastel artists. Each gets

  • details of the artwork
  • a paragraph from the artist about how it came to be created - which are very diverse and also provide some useful tips in terms of approach and development of the artwork

What I like about it

  • It includes many pastel artists from the USA whose names are very well known to me - including the late Bill Creevy whose book for Watson Guptill first got me switched on to pastels.
  • It includes six artists members of the Pastel Society in the UK. These include:
  • I like the way it organises the artwork. I very much liked the fact it didn't go for the basic (and can be boring) categorisation of subject to organise the artworks. Instead, there are five chapters focusing on some much more interesting aspects of any artwork:
    • Colour and Light
    • Composition and Design
    • Mood and Atmosphere
    • Style and Expression
    • Concept and Story
  • There's an Artist Index at the back which provides 
    • the artists' credentials (members ship of societies / awards etc)
    • an indication of where they live (town; state/county; country) 
    • website address (however I found not all are current and/or live - which might be something to do with security certificates for the site)
    • email address
  • Reproduction values and colours and tones look very good to me. Certainly the clarity of how pastel is used by the artist is there - I tested these on Cheryl Culver's pastel works which I know well!

What I'm surprised about

There's a few things which surprised me

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Lockdown Art #3 - images from the Pastel Society Exhibition

I'm looking for lockdown art at every art exhibition I'm going to at present. This has been a major event in our social history - and such events are always recorded in art.

I'm beginning to wonder if some are less obvious than others....

Here are examples I spotted at the Pastel Society exhibition - which continues at the Mall galleries until next Saturday.

Masks are an easy way of spotting #lockdownart - but they're all different - and there are two versions below - followed by a very complex graphite drawing interpreting the experience of being Covid Positive.

Face to Face by Peter Vincent PS

The first one is Face to Face by Peter Vincent PS who mostly creates landscapes in pastels. I loved this diptych of two simplified heads which focuses on the anonymity triggered by mask wearing. We only know they're a different sex because one has a bun at the back. There again chaps have bins these days too....

Face to Face by Peter Vincent
Pastel33 x 66 cm (43 x 86 cm framed) £595

Peter is a Fellow of the Chartered Society of Designers, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a member of The Pastel Society. He retired in the early 90s when computers made his skills in measured perspective drawing redundant and took up pastel drawing. he works unusually - employing a mask for shapes in his drawings.  He doesn't appear to have a website and sells through galleries - but you can see more of his work on the Mall Galleries website

I can't breathe by Neil Rogers

The next one is titled I can't breathe by Neil Rogers. His portrait focuses on one of the common complaints of those using cloth masks (I can recommend the proper medical ones with the filters which I use!)

Friday, July 16, 2021

READ THIS: If you get emails from Making A Mark

I've finally committed to a new email subscription service for Making A Mark - and I've decided to go with Mailer Lite

What I'd like you to do now - if you are an existing subscriber (i.e. receiving an email everytime I publish a new blog post) - is ask you to PLEASE SUBSCRIBE AGAIN  

This is because my subscriber list dates back some 15 years and I think a number of subscribers are no longer "live" - literally and/or figuratively - and I'd like to get back to a clean subscriber list. 

BELOW is what the top of the new email will look like - when you SUBSCRIBE to the new Mailer Lite Subscription list.

It will come from the email I use for contact purposes - and the sender is 'Making A Mark Publications'.

What the top of the email will look like



If viewing on a mobile/cell phone 

please click the CAPTION underneath the image and this will take you to a screen where you see a live version of this email subscription form and can complete it

I'd like to complete this form

when you get the verification email - otherwise you won't get email updates.


If viewing on a desktop or tablet 

Please go to the side column and use the subscription form there.

Or, do as suggested above and click the caption which says  I'd like to complete this form and complete the form on a separate screen.

If you're still getting emails via Feedburner

I'd be surprised - because the email subscription list disappeared today - hence this post. 

However, all you need to do is unsubscribe from Feedburner AFTER you have subscribed via the new subscription form - and that way you won't get two emails about the same post.


Today has been devoted to yet another attempt to find a substitute service for the really easy to use and set up Feedburner.

I've come to the conclusion - after seeing awful adverts on Follow.It that Mailer Lite is a superior service which offers a much more business-like service. Plus it gets a lot of rave reviews from people who have been looking in the RSS feed to email conundrum post Feedburner.

Mailer Lite is actually quite sophisticated - with some very helpful videos


You need to resubscribe to Making A Mark

I could import all my current subscribers - and I've got nearly 2,000 subscribers (via Feedburner) 


This is because:

  • I suspect there are any number of reasons why some are not opening their emails (eg changed email address / died / no longer using the internet as much or just not opening their emails!)
  • I get charged if I go over 1,000 subscribers! So an incentive to stay under....

I've also got to sort out other email subscriber services for other sites and I still am not entirely clear whether the charge is per campaign site or per the overall number of subscribers - so I may well end up paying out anyway. However, I'd like to avoid paying out unnecessarily.

Profuse apologies to all those who signed up to - I'll be writing to you all personally! 

and finally......

Mailer Lite is very new to me and I'm not entirely sure I've got it right yet.


Thursday, July 15, 2021

Review: 122nd Annual Exhibition of the Pastel Society

This is a review of the 122nd Annual Exhibition of the Pastel Society - as in the hung version - currently on view in all three galleries at the Mall Galleries in London.

I'm going to start with a number of comments about the exhibition and then highlight a number of artworks I liked - by Gallery.

I'll be referencing artworks by linking to the photos I took yesterday.

Portraiture featured on the end wall in the West Gallery
- with different dry media, different styles and different approaches to
making a mark with dry media

Overview of the Exhibition

There are some exhibitions you like a lot and some which include art you like but overall the exhibition somehow just doesn't quite grab you as others have in the past

This is one of those. I'm wondering if this is because it does NOT include all the artwork which sold when the exhibition had to be "online only" at the beginning of the year. 

That said I'd still recommend a visit - because some of the artwork on display is very good and I'd certainly recommend a visit for anybody who aspires to be in next year's exhibition!

I made notes while I was in the exhibition (thanks to Evernote!) of things which I noticed and these are as follows....

I think this was my favourite wall - in part because of how it was hung

Positive Notes

  • There are some large and very colourful artworks by non-members which I regard as a very good thing.  Many will not remember the works on Mark Leach (who died while President Elect) but I still miss his large and colourful artworks. It's good to see others contributing large and interesting pieces which embrace colour.

Winner of the Young Artist Award
The Beast's Negative Space by
Charlotte Bullock

  • There are lots of artworks in this show which show off the breadth and scope of what's possible when using pastels and other dry media. I always enjoy the artwork which really shows off the unique characteristics of the media employed i.e it's trying to look like pastel and not an oil painting!
  • There seems to be much more abstracted artwork than hitherto - which is no bad thing
Pastel drawings by Fellcity House
  • I ALWAYS like to see good drawing - and there's very definitely examples of good draughtsmanship within the show
  • There's some examples of an innovative use of pastel. I saw my first (I think) pastel and thread artwork by Marsha Roddy
  • The exhibition includes rather less lockdown art than I was expecting - however what is included is unusual. Sometimes keeping it simple says a lot.
Face to Face by Peter Vincent PS

Less Impressed

  • I saw rather more of artists trying to mimic leading members in this exhibition than in past exhibitions.  I'm not impressed by this - in part because I've never quite understood the point of trying to emulate leading members.
  • The exhibition includes some artwork which is trying to be photorealistic without quite pulling it off. I'm quite picky about photorealism. I tend to have an attitude of "don't show it until it's excellent". It's a notion worth pondering on for all those who try to reproduce photos.
You can see my photos of the exhibition - in sections, as if you were walking around the three galleries - on my Facebook Page (whether you are a member of FB - or not!). Links are at the end of each Gallery section below.


East Gallery - artwork I liked

Set of landscapes in pastels by Norma Stephenson

The standout artist for me was Norma Stephenson PS - who produced a knockout set of pastels. I think I maybe like them a lot as I very much like the palette she used for the works which seems to me to be lighter and more cheerful than some of her paintings which have always seemed to me to be quite grey. What I like about Norma's work is that she produces what are recognisably landscapes while making them semi-abstract by playing with colours and mark-making in an impressionistic way.

It's obviously working as the red dots indicate that two have already sold after the preview on Tuesday - helped I think by realistic prices!

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Pastel Society 122nd Annual Exhibition now on view - for real!

The Pastel Society's 122nd Annual Exhibition can now be seen in person at the Mall Galleries in London until 24th July 2021. You need to book a ticket online and visit between 10am and 5pm.

View of part of the West Gallery

I visited today and I'll post my review tomorrow. (see Review: 122nd Annual Exhibition of the Pastel Society)

However, you can see my photos of the exhibition on my Makingamark Facebook Page where I've uploaded the photos I took this morning into three albums. (see end of post for links to the albums)

(NOTE: Now I'm using a rollator to cope with walking, I'm finding I'm very tired when I get back from exhibitions - hence the delay between photos and review)

It is essentially an exhibition of work in dry media by leading pastel artists - most of whom (but not all) live in the UK. The artwork is created in pastel (soft, hard or oil), pencil, coloured pencil, chalk or charcoal. 

It was previously on display online on the Mall Galleries website as it was originally due to be hung during the third lockdown.

Since then, some artwork sold online and has been shipped to its new owners. So what the Society have done for this exhibition is invited those artists who sold work to submit new work to "fill the gaps"

Sales include some of the artworks which won prizes, so I'm going to refer you to these two blog posts to see the artworks which won awards

View of the East Gallery


You can also see my photos of the exhibition on my Making A Mark Facebook in three albums - and you can see them whether you are a member of FB - or not!

 All the works are for sale
  • prices start from £300 
  • all artwork can be purchased using the Own Art scheme that allows for the cost to be spread, interest-free over 10 months.

Monday, July 12, 2021

Making A Mark on Facebook (12 July 2021)

This highlights items I've featured on my Making A Mark Facebook Page during the period 1st - 12th July 2021 - with a bit more detail. For those who "don't do Facebook" and those who may have missed some of the items.  

Latest banner image is Gillie & Marc: Tandem Lovers
- seen last week on a trip to Canary Wharf


How an Art Museum Betrays Its Social Class Bias | Hyperallegic

When I worked as a security guard at the Toledo Museum of Art there was no mechanism by which the frontline staff could help shape the museum's content.

A really interesting article about class bias within the museum system.

I've often thought some curators were guilty of not knowing a lot about how artists work (i.e too steeped in art history and academic art - and never ever got their hands dirty!). It would seem some curators are often not very sensitive to how "the other half" live either. 
Plus you get to find out more than you possibly knew about Wayne Thiebaud.  

An awkward, lifeless shrine – the Diana statue is a spiritless hunk of nonsense | The Guardian

It's not often I agree with Jonathan Jones - but I do on this one. That's just not her face - and it feels very stiff. It certainly doesn't resonate with me. I think I'd have rather seen her with her landmine kit on - that's an image once seen never forgotten.

Plus I also commented on the Best comment yet - from old Waldy.
There were some astute comments on my last post (re Jonathan Jones's article re the unrealistic proportions of the kids bodies. My observation would be that bare feet also tend to go with clothing which looks a lot less like middle England middle class on their way to church on a Sunday. There is something very incongruous about this sculpture and such decision-making by committee tends to suggest the wrong people were on the committee.

Leonardo Da Vinci project finds 14 living descendants | The Guardian

Researchers hope to understand genius of artist by reconstructing his genealogical profile 
My view?  This project to identify da Vinci' 'talent' gene seems to be:
  • EITHER: deeply sexist (i.e. talent for art only runs through the Y chromosome)
  • OR: deeply ignorant (i.e. I thought everybody knew that if you want to find genuine reliable descendents, you have to go through the FEMALE line!!)
  • OR: both??
What do you think?

As the Art Industry Has Ballooned, So Has the Number of People Claiming to Be Expert Advisors. Here’s How to Tell If They Actually Are

Beware the individual touting the title "Art Adviser" UNLESS they have significant credentials to their name and can demonstrate an understanding of professional standards.

Artist Activities

Saturday, July 10, 2021

Lockdown art #2: Lowry and VE Day

Art UK this week posted a review of The ten most popular artworks on Art UK during lockdown on its website - during the period between 24th March and 14th May.

The top ten paintings are NOT what you might have expected.

As I read through the list it did not help that #10 was The Great Fire of London, 1666 by Jan Griffier I (c.1652–1718)- with the reminder that fire tends to follow pestilence!!

However as I progressed down the list - past the painted whale eardrum (which featured in featured in Yorkshire Museum's Curator Battle on Twitter for the creepiest exhibit!) - we finally got to a sublime painting

When you're in the third lockdown, what do you yearn for?

The end of course!  Plus people!

The bunting also seems quite apposite for this weekend....

The TOP painting was VE Day by LS Lowry (1887-1976) - a painter much loved by the British public. I've always thought his paintings with lots of people were the most loves of all - and that's in part because although he's often described as painting "matchstick people", his people are in fact individuals who are doing things, conversing and engaging in activities. They are in fact the very opposite of stick people!

The painting belongs to the Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery - in Argyle Street, Glasgow - and is described as follows

Thousands of ant-like people are seen thronging the streets of this city to celebrate the end of the Second World War in Europe. The industrial buildings are enlivened by flags and bunting. Lowry manages to convey the lively atmosphere of the scene by including so many people, painting them in a very simple manner. Lowry was famous for his 'matchstick' people and his townscapes showing factories and mills. Many of his pictures were inspired by things he actually saw in Manchester, Salford and other towns in the north of England. Few artists painted ordinary people going about their everyday lives so Lowry's pictures became very popular.

There's something very weird about the Kelvingrove website. It doesn't have its own website and when you click the collections page I get an error message. Which is a pity as I was trying to create a link to the artwork on its website - assuming they include it for public view.

Feel free to suggest more artists and artworks as examples reflecting how artists have responded to lockdown.

Thursday, July 08, 2021

Call for Entries: Society of Wildlife Artists Annual Exhibition 2021

If you want to enter the Annual Exhibition by the Society of Wildlife Artists the deadline for entries is Friday 20 August, 12 noon

Last year's SWLA Annual Exhibition

The images in this blog post are from last year's annual exhibition.

Call for Entries

It's just under a year since the last time I wrote a Call for Entries for this annual exhibition - when we weren't too sure whether it would be held. In the end it had the close early

Hopefully this year it will the normal exhibition at the normal time for the normal number of days.However there's a pretty good chance I won't see it if I have my surgery before it opens.

Anyway - back to what you need to know

Artwork in the West Gallery


Online Selection Only - digital images essential

Artists need to be aware that their artwork will be judged on the basis of the digital image submitted - and NOT on the actual artwork itself - as selection by the Panel will be done remotely and online.

So it doesn't matter how good your artwork is if you don't produce a decent digital image for submission......

This means 

  • don't create a small image at a high (print quality) resolution - as it will only be viewed on a screen. 
  • Instead, create a large image at an OK resolution i.e. all detail is crisp and clear

If you're not confident about producing decent digital images see my guides:


If you've not submitted before the best thing to do is VISIT the show first.

The next best thing is to REVIEW
  • the online catalogues - which includes photos of members' artwork
  • my blog posts reviewing past exhibitions (see end) which provide LOTS of images of artwork selected for the show from the open entry as well as artwork by members 
  • artworks in last year' exhibition 

Who can enter?

Artists are invited to submit work for exhibition alongside members of the Society of Wildlife Artists at their 58th Annual Exhibition, The Natural Eye 2021

The 58th Annual Open Exhibition of the Society of Wildlife Artists is open to non-members and there's always a good number selected and hung throughout the exhibition.

In addition, it's open to artists from outside the UK - and every year we see entries from international artists selected for the exhibition.

What can you enter?

Wednesday, July 07, 2021

"Figurative Art Now" opens online - and transport responsibility has changed!!

The online exhibition of "Figurative Art Now" has opened online on the Mall Galleries website.

Before I review the exhibition, I want to comment again on the issue of who picks up the transport cost for sales - because there has been a significant change.

You may remember that:

  • I didn't publicise the Call for Entries - which was for a very specific reason. The grossly unfair and not well publicised condition that the artist paid for the transport to the buyer no matter where they lived in the world! Which just filled me with horror given all the issues to do with export and customs for artists who may never have shpped an artwork before
  • I then put up a post Figurative Art Now: how fair are the T&C to artists? just before the deadline for entries highlighting this - and a lot of people who had already entered rushed back to the dashboard for entries and changed their prices to cover postage and packing as per the terms and conditions!

I also made my views known to a few key people.

I'm guessing this is maybe what has helped trigger a change of heart over who pays for the transport of the art to the buyer.

I'm VERY pleased for all the artists to say that 

  • if you click on an image of an artwork, you are taken to the unique page for that artwork
  • and the page now states very clearly - under Fulfilment Info

This work will be sent directly from the artist in the UK. The purchaser is responsible for the cost of transport; please see our Art Sales Collection and Delivery page for more information.

Mall Galleries will support and facilitate transportation quotes and provide artwork locations where required.

Note the column on the right which makes clear that
the buyer is responsible for transport


This is reiterated on the Art Sales Collection and Delivery Page on the website.

What's still not clear is who is responsible for packing - and I think this needs to be made EXPLICIT.

My view would be that 

  • if the work is small then that's something the artist can easily arrange. 
  • However, for larger works packaging is a VERY critical part of the safe transport of an item and it's more usual for those transporting to also arrange packing - as they know best (or should do!) what's required for safe transport.

I guess we'll just have to wait and see on that one.

I'd appreciate feedback on how it all works.

At least it's now much more consistent with the arrangements for the ad hoc purchase of artwork from artists via the 'Buy Art' section of the site - which had ALWAYS made it clear that the buyer picks up or pays for transport.