Sunday, July 31, 2022

REVIEW: "Winners" Exhibition at the Mall Galleries (Part 1)

On Friday I visited the Winners Exhibition at the Mall Galleries in London. Artists who have work on display are members of national art societies who exhibit at the Mall Galleries and artists who submitted to their open annual exhibitions.

This is a BRAND NEW exhibition which displays artwork from all the winners of awards and prizes at the Annual Exhibitions of the Societies which belong to the Federation of British Artists between 2020 and 2022 (i.e. during the course of the Pandemic when fewer people were travelling to exhibitions).  It's open until Saturday 6th August (10am - 5pm) - with a late night opening until 8pm on Wednesday 3 August.

Below you can find out more about the exhibition and read Part 1 of my Review plus view images of some of the artworks on the walls of the exhibition. (I'll be uploading more to my Facebook Page)

View of East Gallery

The national art societies are:

  • Royal Society of British Artists
  • Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours
  • Royal Institute of Oil Painters
  • New English Art Club
  • Royal Society of Portrait Painters
  • Pastel Society
  • Hesketh Hubbard Art Society
  • Royal Society of Marine Artists
  • Society of Wildlife Artists
There's no printed catalogue for the exhibition. However 
  • there is an online catalogue on Issuu - I can't work out the order of the artists and artwork. It's not alphabetical, it doesn't seem to relate to the societies and those who have more than one artwork in the show only get one artwork in the catalogue. It seems to be loosely based on colour. However I keep getting the impression it's not dawned on anybody that if it's not printed and only online you can do much larger images for each artwork / artist. You can do up to 500 pages per upload and unlimited published documents for not very much at all.....
  • you can also see THUMBNAILS of the artwork online (scroll down) and 
  • there is a handout providing brief details of every artist available from the front desk.
Below is a video of the exhibition.

Review of Winners 2020-2022

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Call for Entries: ING Discerning Eye Annual Exhibition 2022

The Discerning Eye is a visual arts focused educational charity. Its principal activity is to hold a rather unique annual exhibition sponsored by ING - and known as the ING Discerning Eye Exhibition. 

This post is about the call for entries for the 2022 Exhibition to be held at the Mall Galleries in November - and whats involved in submitting an entry or six!

The ING Discerning Eye Exhibition

ING Discerning Eye 2021: View of the West Gallery

Six Selectors

Once a year they invite different people - two artists, two collectors and two critics / people who have art-related occupations to select artwork to hang in the exhibition.

Hence it's not an open exhibition where you have to please all the Jury of Selectors - you only need to please one!

The selectors this year are:

  • David Ferry - Printmaker
  • Ansel Krut - Painter
  • Gurinder Chadha - Film Director
  • Kate Enters - Director of Artcan
  • Aindrea Emelife - Curator and Writer
  • Alison Bevan Director of the Royal West of England Academy

The selectors:

  • invite artists they know or whose work they admire 
  • select artwork submitted via the open entry

Small Works

The other aspect which is unique is that this is an exhibition about small artworks. Details below of what that means


There are a range of prizes and in this era of disappearing art competitions, it's worth noting that some are valuable. 

  • ING Purchase Prize* – £5000
  • The Discerning Eye Founder’s Purchase Prize** – In honour of Michael Reynold’s £2500
  • The Discerning Eye Chairman’s Purchase Prize** – £1000
  • The Mervyn Metcalf Purchase Prize* – £500
  • Discerning Eye Sculpture and 3D Work Prize** – £250
  • Discerning Eye Original Print Prize** – £250
  • Discerning Eye Cityscape Prize** – £250
  • Discerning Eye Landscape Prize** – £250
  • Discerning Eye Portrait Prize** – £250
  • Regional Prizes** – There will be up to 8 prizes of £250 each awarded to an outstanding entry from the national regions
  • Parker Harris Mentoring Prize*: Parker Harris will give a one-to-one mentoring session covering all aspects of professional development to a selected artist
* These prizes are selected by the individual prize givers, not the selectors.
**These prizes are selected by members of the Discerning Eye Educational Board, not the selectors.

ING Discerning Eye 2021: North Gallery

The Exhibition 2022

The exhibition is to be held at the Mall Galleries in central London - from the 11th - 20th November 2022

The website also has a Virtual Exhibition of the artwork in the exhibition.


This year I have an ALERT for all artists wishing to submit work - which I summed up in a facebook post last year. Nobody has written to me to say it's a "return to normal" hence why I'm raising this issue here.

I am giving the organisers the benefit of the doubt and assuming that last year this was an effort to reduce costs given there was no knowing whether the exhibition might have to be cancelled. 

However... it was, in my opinion, an absolutely ludicrous idea given that galleries do not have effective broadband reception throughout the galleries and not everybody likes to open their phone (and security!) to open access wifi!!! 

DO READ Cons and Pros of ING Discerning Eye Exhibition's tech makeover in which I voice my concerns at some length!

I sincerely hope the organisers are going back to proper professional practice of having:
  • proper labels - stating names, titles, media and price
  • a proper catalogue - including the same data which interested purchasers can consult and make notes as they go round.
I'm optimistic we've had a return to normal as the call for entries indicates the following
All exhibiting artists will be included in a fully illustrated print catalogue.
However I also work on the principle of I believe it when I see it - especially when it has such a significant impact on artists. Do feel free to enquire what's happening this year via the normal contacts

If you have not submitted before - or if you have submitted but not been selected, you can read more about past exhibitions and see the sort of artwork this exhibition attracts:
Welcome to The Discerning Eye Archives, here you can browse nearly 30 years of works exhibited annually. To start your search either select a year to view a full overview, or use the search bar to lookup particular artists, work titles or selectors.

The archive consists of nearly 15,000 selections, over the years we have expanded the data we store on individual works to include images, dimensions etc. However some earlier years may not have this information available.
Oddly it does NOT include images for the 2021 exhibition!!

Call for Entries: ING Discerning Eye 2022

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Fred Cuming 1930-2022

I was so sorry to see in the NEAC Newsletter that Fred Cuming died in June. 

I very much recommend that anybody who admired his work takes a look at the Obituary about him on the gets on the NEAC - Remembering Fred Cuming (plus others below).

His landscape paintings were always a joy to behold and I very much regret I'm not going to see them anymore - except online.

Fred Cuming's paintings - which I'm very happy to stare at for absolutely ages. You can see more of his work on his website - Fred Cuming RA. Those who like the coastline and skies around Britain will appreciate his work.
Central to his practice was to be the sketchbook, the making of what he called “notes” en plein air. Cuming would, as he said, “sketch and sketch … [keeping] sketchbooks everywhere, in my studio, in my bag, in the car”. At his peak, he would get through a hundred a year. Fred Cuming - Obituary | The Guardian
"Four Seasons" by Frederick Cuming RA (oil, 378 x 163 x 5 cm £115,000)
RA Summer Exhibition 2017

Below are some highlights of his life, formal obituaries elsewhere, some examples of his work and a reference to a previous blog post in which I highlighted a wonderful video about his work 

Monday, July 25, 2022

The Wild Table of Love

I had to visit Bart's Hospital today for more treatment for my osteoarthritis (this time in the hip!) and walked over to St Paul's Cathedral afterwards via Paternoster Square - which is where I came across The Wild Table of Love

The Wild Table of Love in Paternoster Square, City of London

The Wild Table of Love

I came home and looked it up on the Internet. You can read more about it on this page on the website of Gillie and Marc who created this extremely large bronze sculpture.
This public sculpture experience is an invitation to join the best banquet in the world. Expertly crafted in bronze, the table is set and the animals are already tucking in, all that is left is for the public to take their seats.

Rabbitwoman and Dogman, the internationally beloved hybrid characters who have travelled the world spreading messages of love, acceptance, and adventure, play host to the party. They sit at a huge banquet table, six metres long, adorned with some of the most delectable foods imaginable. Their guests; ten of the world's most endangered animals. Rabbitwoman and Dogman have opened their table to the animals as a symbol of love and support, welcoming them into their family and promising to protect them in every way they can.

The Animals
The ten endangered animals include; a hippo, Masai giraffe, African elephant, Bengal tiger, koala, chimpanzee, Grevy’s zebra, Northern white rhino, lion, and mountain gorilla. They have each been invited to the table as representatives of some of the best-known species in the world. And yet they all are dangerously close to the same threat, extinction.
A closer look

Copyright Making A Mark Publications

Another perspective

Gillie and Marc - creators of public art

Gillie and Marc Schattner are an Australian collaborative artist couple. This is what it says about them on their website.
Gillie and Marc have been called “the most successful and prolific creators of public art in New York’s History” by the New York Times. Creating some of the world’s most innovative public sculptures, Gillie and Marc are redefining what public art should be, spreading messages of love, equality, and conservation around the world. Their highly coveted sculptures and paintings can be seen in art galleries and public sites in over 250 cities. They’re Archibald Prize Finalists and have won the Chianciano Biennale in Italy, together with winning 2 years in a row People’s Choice Award in Sydney’s Sculpture by the Sea, among many other notable awards and accolades.
You can follow Gillie and Marc on 
  • and 
Copyright Making A Mark Publications

By way of counterbalance - Jerry Salt said....

Jerry Saltz - the art critic , who won a Pulitzer Prize for Art criticism in 2018 - wrote about a work they created in 2018 in an article in Vulture titled The New Astor Place Rhino Sculpture Is a Kitschy Monstrosity - and below are some extracts which articulate his feelings further
It is an ugly, bathos-filled folly that proves my adage that 95 percent of all public sculpture is crap. Thank goodness this crap is only temporary.

The artists may be ditzy and clueless when it comes to sculpture, but their hearts are in the right place.

The sculpture is bad burlesque recklessness, a travesty that theatricalizes calamity.

As an art critic, I also feel compelled to add that if you like the sculpture, I’m afraid it means that you have pretty bad taste.
I'm not quite sure where my feelings lie. I much confess that although I found it interesting I'm also glad it's only temporary!

Friday, July 15, 2022

Life Events

Yesterday afternoon, my mother passed away peacefully at home in her sleep age 93. It was not unexpected 

I need a break. So I've decided there won't be any blog posts on Making A Mark for a short while.

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

How to assess entries for an open art society exhibition (Part 2) - marking artwork

Today's Part 2 of my focus on assessing entries for an open art society exhibition is going to focus on a method I've devised for giving every entry in an open exhibition a specific mark.

Yesterday I wrote about How to assess entries for an open art society exhibition (Part 1) which focused on the increased use of digital selection following the introduction of digital submissions and, in particular, the pandemic

The rationale behind a marking system

I have 100 marks to award to each of a very considerable number of artworks. 

The challenge for me is to 

  • make the allocation of marks make sense to me 
  • try and achieve consistency across all entries during the time required to mark each one
  • ensure the marking is fair i.e. that each and every artwork ends up being ranked "correctly" in terms of my views of the relative merits of the different artworks
So how best to do this? 

My marking system

Monday, July 11, 2022

How to assess entries for an open art society exhibition (Part 1)

I think very many people might be surprised by how entries for an art exhibition get assessed by most art societies. 

I've written on this topic before in The agony and the ecstasy of art competition judging - which comments on the time involved in reviewing and judging 15,000 entries for the RA Summer Exhibition

This post comments on how the pandemic has influenced how artwork now gets judged.

How entries for open art exhibitions get assessed

In person versus digital

Traditionally, the practice has been to convene a selection panel which sits in a room as handlers bring artwork past. The speed with which the artwork moves depends on how many entries have been received and how much time has been allocated to the selection process. Bottom line it's not long.

Then we began to have digital entry - and selection of entries started to have a digital element to the process. Often with the "first cut" being done via digital assessment of the images submitted by artists, and then final assessment being made by a panel from the "longlist".

During the pandemic, efforts were made to keep annual exhibitions going and many switched to selection being wholly digital and online - and virtual exhibitions.

Interesting aspects of digital selection is that 

  • Selectors will assess much more on the basis of what they as individuals think 
  • "groupthink" is instantly eliminated (assuming no discussion between selectors). 
  • Selectors will spend the amount of time they think they need to spend on selection. It's unlikely to be identical and there may be extremes.
A big benefit of digital selection is that
  • it cuts expenses for art societies dramatically - given there is no need to reimburse people for travel to get to places where artwork is being judged. These expenses can be significant for national art societies and can be a welcome saving.
  • once experienced, you need to come up with a very good reason to go back to being in front of the art to sift out the "no hopers" and "not quite good enough"

HOWEVER The main problems with digital assessment are:
  • people who don't read instructions and submit images which are too small. They're an automatic "fail" in my book as I can't assess an image which is too small.
  • people who digitally manipulate their images to make them look better than they are in reality. This typically affects colour and/or tone. It is possible to detect images where this has happened. Or at least I know how.... ;)
  • It's really difficult to get a sense of the size of the work. I have to make an effort to check dimensions when assessing. Anybody who fails to provide dimensions end up leaning towards a a fail for me.

Sift and sort or mark and grade?

Then there's the issue of how much effort you put into decision-making

Wednesday, July 06, 2022

Bye Bye Boris? About art and Boris Johnson

I've been completely distracted today by the machinations concerning the future of Boris Johnson. 

It's looking very much like he'll be gone for definite after the 1922 Committee elections next week (i.e. rule change and new confidence vote - which he will lose) - and maybe by the end of today (i.e. 35 resignations from the payroll vote so far and likely to continue)

So here's a review of my posts about art and Boris Johnson

Portraits of Boris

This is a portrait I wrote about in Portrait completed in 2 hours wins Ondaatje Prize.

As ever I was interested in what John Ward CBE, 90 this year, was exhibiting by way of pastels on mid-toned Ingres paper. His works were displayed alongside an absolutely splendid portrait of Boris Johnson MP by Felicity Gill (which looks rather better in reality than it does on her website) . Despite Boris describing the experience as a privilege and "glorious ego massage", Ms Gill describes how it was quite difficult trying to pin him down at his offices at The Spectator.

"The sitting was constantly interrupted....eventually I resorted to getting him to climb out of a window onto a small roof where he sat, captive, in an old deckchair"

Here's the portrait by Felicity Gill.......

........and then my sketch of half the portrait!

John Ward meets Boris Johnson at the Mall Galleries (2007)
8" x 10", pen and sepia ink and coloured pencils in moleskine sketchbook
copyright Katherine Tyrrell

Another portrait of Boris

My Review: Royal Society of Portrait Painters Annual Exhibition 2011 (Part 1) (May 2011) contains yet another portrait of Boris
Boris Johnson by Helen Masacz - the hair is excellent! Boris seems to offer endless fascination to portrait artists - I've seen a few of them in recent years.

Boris Johnson by Helen Masacz
oil, 42 x 30cm, (17 x 12")

An artist Mother - who painted Boris frequently

About Charlotte Johnson Wahl - artist and mother of Boris (July 20th 2019) is the post I wrote about his mother who was an acclaimed artist. She died recently.

It includes portraits of Boris as a child and growing up.

She held an exhibition at the Mall Galleries in 2015 called Minding Too Much

Boris and Chequers

This is an interesting post about How to sell a painting to a Prime Minister (April 27th 2021). 
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.

Tuesday, July 05, 2022

Just Stop Oil is both destructive and IGNORANT!

For many years, I used to visit the BP Portrait Awards Night at the National Portrait Gallery to photograph the winning artists. In doing so, I used to have walk past the demonstrators against BP's sponsorship of this important portrait competition.  I said "Excuse me" and they kindly moved to let me pass. Respect on both sides.

I understood where they were coming from. It made sense - even if I disagreed with them - as explained in a series of posts about sponsorship of art (see end of this post)

However words very nearly fail me when it comes to some of the utter stupidities of the Just Stop Oil's initiatives in relation to art galleries and famous oil paintings - but not quite.  Hence this post!

The demonstrations

Graffiti sprayed onto walls of art galleries and glueing themselves to paintings
is standard practice for these demonstrators

To date there have been various demonstrations around the UK involving destruction of property and demonstrators gluing themselves to very old artwork and archival frames as follows

  • June 29th - Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum - 
  • July 1st - Manchester Art Gallery
  • July 4th - National Gallery
  • July 5th - Royal Academy

Not so one of my followers who very neatly summed it up when he pointed out 

It's the wrong sort of oil!

or another who commented

Ian Dugdale
Just think about all the petro-chemical solvent that will be needed to remove all the graffiti. Wouldn’t be needed without their actions.

So let's highlight 

  • it's the wrong sort of oil
  • the wrong places are being attacked for no good reason
The one on the left apparently enjoys foreign holidays involving lots of flights

The wrong sort of oil

Some of the protestors are art students.

You'd think they'd know that oil paint has nothing whatsoever to do with petroleum!

The oil used in oil paint is very often linseed oil.

Linseed oil is:

  • pressed from flax seeds - which have been grown for centuries if not millenium without adverse effects
  • biodegradeable
  • non toxic
Other oils used as a viscous medium for oil paint include walnut oil and poppy oil.

They all sound very green to me - and precisely the antithesis of what these very silly  infantile protestors are complaining about.

The wrong places i.e. no oil sponsorship


Indeed BP has very nearly stopped backing the arts per se.

On the page on its website dealing with sponsorship of the arts in the UK it highlights the following

In 2016, in support of our strategy, we announced a further five-year investment of £7.5 million from 2018 for a range of projects at the British Museum, the National Portrait Gallery, the Royal Opera House

So basically, not one of the art galleries targeted have been in receipt of oil money - and one of them is closed at the moment!

There are no grounds whatsoever for attacking these places.

On 14th June I walked home from an art exhibition along Horse Guards
- only to find that some very expensive machinery involved in 
cleaning red paint thrown on the Treasury Building by Just Stop Oil demonstrators

Indeed I also find the waste of public money involved in cleaning off the paint thrown at the Treasury to be abominable, given others (from Gandhi to Greenham Common to Dame Deborah James) have demonstrated extremely well how effective other forms of PEACEFUL campaigning can be. 

Destructive protests just serve to alienate very many people.

The rules of effective protests are

  1. First do no harm
  2. Get your facts right
  3. Don't annoy the wrong people 
So far as I'm concerned they're getting it very badly wrong on EVERY SINGLE LEVEL! 

While I support environmentalism, in no way do I support people who behave in such an ignorant and destructive way to no good end. 

Many think - and I agree - that they need to grow up and stop behaving like young people with a bad attack of the teenage tantrums.

REFERENCE: BP sponsorship

I've written about BP's sponsorship of the Arts and the various views taken about it on a number of occasions:
My view is clear - as stated back in 2015.
I'll state my case up front. I really am not in the least bit bothered by BP's sponsorship of art galleries and museums. I'm far more concerned about:
  • fossil fuel companies behaving in a social responsible manner
  • those trying to repair their reputation paying a fair price to society for the privilege of being associated with a prestigious art gallery or museum which only exists due to generous state support. 
Of course I'd rather that energy sources came from renewable sources. However until somebody makes energy consumption from non-fossil fuel a cost effective and efficient proposition for most of the companies and families in the UK (and elsewhere) I don't see much alternative to the continued use of fossil fuels.

That in turn means oil companies will be looking for ways of sanitising their image - and offers a wonderful opportunity for sponsorship - so long as this is at the right price.

Saturday, July 02, 2022

Peter Brown's Paintings of Glastonbury Festival

Peter Brown has a new Online Exhibition of his paintings of Glastonbury Festival between 2016 and 2022.

It was such a joy to be back painting at Glastonbury this year after two years of COVID cancellations. To celebrate, I’ve put together this online exhibition of my paintings of the festival that I’ve done over the years: 2016, 2017, 2019 and this year 2022.
Peter becomes the equivalent of an artist in residence for the duration of the Festival - as he has been in years past.

You can see the exhibition on his website at

About Peter Brown