Thursday, June 29, 2023

Call for Entries: ING Discerning Eye 2023

The ever popular ING Discerning Eye 2023 exhibition will be at the Mall Galleries from 17 to 26 November 2023, and online until the 31 December 2023.
The ING Discerning Eye annual exhibition is a show of small, domestic scale, works independently selected by six prominent figures from different areas of the art world: two artists, two collectors and two critics. (ING DE website)
ING Discerning Eye 2022

What you need to know

The ING Discerning Eye Exhibition

The only restrictions on the exhibition are that 
  • all artwork must all be for sale, 
  • the artists must be UK based, 
  • artwork must be small - the size of the work can have a MAXIMUM measurement of 50cm in any one dimension
  • artwork is chosen by six different people - two artists, two collectors and two critics / people who have art-related occupation
  • the artwork exhibited by each selector comes from artists favoured by the selectors and works selected from the open entry
  • the selectors must choose at least 25% of their section from the open submission.
In 2023, the exhibition will be 
  • on display at the Mall Galleries between 16th and 26th November. 
  • plus a virtual gallery showcasing all the artists’ shortlisted works - with commentary and introductions by the selectors.
The Discerning Eye is a visual arts focused educational charity. 
  • Its principal activity is to hold a rather unique annual exhibition 
  • The Exhibition has been sponsored by ING since 1999 - and hence is known as the ING Discerning Eye Exhibition.
I'd like to start by applauding ING for their continued sponsorship of this open art competition / exhibition.
  • ING has been supporting this exhibition every year since 1999!
  • This makes it one of the longest corporate art sponsorships in the UK
At a time when art competitions are fast disappearing off the scene (Sunday Times Watercolour / Lynn Painter-Stainers / BP Portrait Award) it's really great to see a commitment to continued sponsorship.

The Selectors

Six Selectors

Once a year the organisers of the ING Discerning Eye exhibition invite six 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 duties of the selectors are to:

  • invite artists they know or whose work they admire
  • select artwork submitted via the open entry
Each selector's chosen artworks are hung in a dedicated area of the Galleries and hence you get a chance to see whether the selector has 
  • a carefully curated or a very eclectic approach to what they like
  • either embraces the open entry - or sticks very closely to the artwork they know and like with a minimum number of pieces chosen from the open entry

The 2023 Selectors are....

Two artists

  • Chris Levine, Artist
  • Julian Wild, Artist and Lecturer

Two art collectors

  • Tony Adams, Former footballer and Collector
  • Ian "H" Watkins, Singer and Collector

Two critics / people who have art-related occupation

  • Peju Oshin, Critic, Curator, Writer and Lecturer
  • Eliza Gluckman, Director, Government Art Collection

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.

In 2023, the prizes are valued at £14,000 - including
  • ING Purchase Prize, £5,000
  • The Discerning Eye Founder’s Prize - in honour of Michael Reynolds, £2,500
  • The Drawing Bursary Prize, £1,500
  • The Discerning Eye Chair’s Purchase Prize, £1,000
  • The Mervyn Metcalf Purchase Prize, £500
  • Parker Harris Prize: one year’s subscription to The Art Ladder mentoring programme for artists, and two one-to-one mentoring sessions, worth £600
  • The Discerning Eye Sculpture Prize, £300
  • The Discerning Eye Cityscape Prize, £300
  • The Discerning Eye Landscape Prize, £300
  • The Discerning Eye Portrait Prize, £300
  • The Discerning Eye Print Prize, £300
  • Regional Prizes, 7 prizes of £250 each awarded to an outstanding entry from the national regions
  • Tabish Khan’s Critic Purchase Prize, £200

Those who have not entered before

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:

Call for Entries: ING Discerning Eye 2023

Monday, June 26, 2023

Ruth Borchard Portrait Prize and Exhibition 2023

The Winner of the £10,000 Ruth Borchard Prize was announced last week - and the exhibition was opened.

This post is about:
  • the winner of the £10000 Ruth Borchard Prize 2023
  • the Exhibition - Online
  • the Self Portraits - the good and less good aspects
  • the lack of an Archive

Sadly, for those of use who used to visit the exhibition of diverse self-portraits by a varied collection of artists, theexhibition is only available ONLINE ONLY at present - until December 2023.

However there will be  a curated selection of distinguished and shortlisted artworks (that means NOT all the selected art) on display in an exhibition at The Atkinson Museum, Southport, from September - December 2023. The exhibition will coincide with the Liverpool Arts Biennial in 2023.

Ruth Borchard Prize 2023 (£10,000)

The winner is Colin Davidson 

Colin Davidson is a contemporary artist, living and working near Belfast, Northern Ireland. Since graduating in 1991 from the University of Ulster with a first-class honours degree, he has structured his practice in themes, and since 2010 his focus has been on painting grand scale portraits, which have won widespread recognition and many international awards. As well as numerous commissions, Davidson’s portrait sitters have included Brad Pitt, Ed Sheeran, Liam Neeson, Brian Friel, Sir Kenneth Branagh, Christy Moore, Dame Mary Peters, Gary Lightbody, Marketa Irglova, Glen Hansard, Mark Knopfler and Seamus Heaney. His work is held in many public and corporate collections worldwide (from his website)

This was his winning artwork which he calls a 3D Painting. I guess, this is his original digital submission and it does suggest scale rather effectively - and is maybe a bit bigger than people imagined?

Acrylic paint and oil paint on Polylactic acid
105 x 78 x 54 cm | 41 3/8 x 30 3/4 x 21 1/4 in
As a painter, I am always looking for opportunities to use paint in new ways. To exploit the myriad different possibilities which oil paint, in particular, has to offer. Here is a recent self-portrait. I suppose it’s a big, 3-dimensional selfie. But it is, first and foremost, a framed, wall-hung painting. Using the medium of acrylic and oil paint itself to sculpt with.
The announcement was made via video and can be viewed on:


The work was selected from over 1800 entries by this years judges who included: 
  • Gabriele Finaldi (Director of the National Gallery), 
  • Melanie Gerlis (Financial Times Art Market Columnist), 
  • Andrea Rose (former Director of the British Council), 
  • Stephen Whittle (Principal Manager The Atkinson Museum), 
  • Lucy Jones (2021 Prize Winner) and 
  • David Borchard (grandson of Ruth Borchard).
(When they say "included" does that mean other people were involved too - and if so who are these Judges?)


The Ruth Borchard Exhibition - Online

The Self-Portrait Prize Online Exhibition presents a selection of noteworthy entries to the 2023 competition. It highlights the diversity of contemporary self-portraiture and the continuing importance of this uniquely personal subgenre of art. The Online Exhibition includes a cross-section of self-portraits from around the world, made by artists at all stages of their careers in a range of media
The Online Exhibition is available from 23 June to 20 December 2023

Given the Prize is run on a triennial basis, all the portraits have been made in the last three years.

What is excellent about the online exhibition is that:

Saturday, June 24, 2023

Review: New English Art Club Annual Exhibition 2023

When I walked into the Private View of the Annual Exhibition 2023 of the New English Art Club (NEAC) yesterday, I was immediately struck by the new approach to hanging the exhibition in the East Gallery (see my Facebook banner this week!)

The East Gallery on Private View Day

For the very first time large artworks have been grouped and hung from the top to the bottom of the East Wall. 

Plus the acronym NEAC is very strident on the north walls of both the East and West Galleries.

West Gallery - Preview Day

It shouts "presence" - and coincides with the Summer Exhibition 2023 of the Royal Academy of Arts - from which the founding members of NEAC broke away back in 1885 to provide an alternative venue for showing art.

Since then it has become the national art society that members of other national art societies want to be members of. Indeed, when the artists selected from the open entry are reviewed, very many of them are members of other art societies and some are candidates for membership.

However, having both on at the same time provides an excellent reason for those outside London to make a trip (and possibly stay over) and visit both on a back to back basis!

This is a review of the exhibition. I cover:

  • how to see the exhibition
  • events during the exhibition
  • observations on the exhibition
  • artwork I liked
I'll be doing the stats about percentage of artists / artworks / sales relating to the open entry in a future blog post. 

How to see NEAC Annual Exhibition 2023  

I would ALWAYS recommend that all those wanting to submit work to the exhibition try and make an effort to see it in person.

You can:
Works are also available to buy both in the gallery and online - but will remain hanging in the exhibition until it has finished. There was a healthy show of red dots at the Private View. 

I'll be doing my statistics review of the show - including prices and sales and the ratio of members to open artists at a later date.

Two paintings by Judith Gardner NEAC RBA
her paintings snapped up fast as per usual

Exhibition Tours and Events

You can find out more details on NEAC Events Programme

Prizes and Awards

You can read about The New English Art Club 2023 | Award Winners in this post. I've highlighted some of them in my albums of photos on Facebook.

View of part of the West Gallery

Observations about NEAC Annual Exhibition 2023

My observations this year are based on assertions in the catalogue and observations in the galleries on broad themes which are recurrent across exhibitions.

View of West Gallery on the afternoon of Private View Day

Bold claims matched by reality?

NEAC has never been afraid of making some bold claims. Below is a quotation from the email about the opening of the exhibition. While I would certainly agree with the second paragraph, the first is maybe rather over ambitious. I think there are one or two other art societies which might want to dispute this assertion.
The New English Art Club (NEAC) exhibits the very best in figurative, observational and painterly work in the UK.

The NEAC Annual Exhibition showcases paintings, drawings, and prints from its elected members alongside work by emerging artists whose ethos reflects its own: informed by the visual world and personal interpretation, while underpinned by drawing.
When you make a claim as bold as this - you have to live up to it.

Thursday, June 22, 2023

Review: Chelsea Physic Garden: Celebrating 350 Years in Paint and Print

Yesterday I visited Chelsea Physic Garden: Celebrating 350 Years in Paint and Print at the Bankside Gallery on the South Bank.

Dicotyledon Beds, Chelsea Physic Garden by Claire Denny
collage, gouache & ink
Frame: 45 x 45 cm | Artwork: 29 x 29 cm

It's a very good exhibition of the diverse perspectives of different by selected artist members of the Royal Watercolour Society (RWS) and Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers (RE).

The exhibition is being held to mark the 350th anniversary of the Chelsea Physic Garden.

View of the exhibition at the Bankside Gallery

There was a previous collaborative exhibition in 2021 - Chelsea Physic Garden: A Year in the Life. This came about as a result of an invitation from the Chelsea Physic Garden for artists to visit the garden and create art as a result
Over the course of the last 18 months, the artists have researched, visited (when possible) and recorded the Garden throughout changing seasons and varying restrictions, documenting perhaps one of the most extraordinary years of the Garden’s life. The result is a compelling and vibrant display of creativity and a wonderful example of what can be achieved in the face of adversity. The exhibition is truly refreshing and uplifting; a reminder of the joys and healing powers of both art and nature.
The initiative which started in 2019 was interrupted by the Pandemic. However at the same time it resulted in a greater understanding of the value of the garden.

I highly recommend a visit to the exhibition for those who like painting (or printmaking) gardens - or just enjoy Chelsea Physic Garden which is a delightful, historic and informative oasis in Chelsea - next to the river.

The exhibition banner on an external view of the Bankside Gallery

Paintings in the Exhibition - Two Painters

You can see an album of my gallery shots of the exhibition on my Facebook Page - see Chelsea Physic Garden 350th Anniversary - which are receiving some very positive responses from those who have viewed them. Believe me - they're better in real life!

View of the exhibition

I'm a Friend of the Florilegium Society based at Chelsea Physic Garden and am very familiar with the garden. Members of the Florilegium Society all draw and paint the plants rather than the garden.  (READ my page about Florilegium Societies to find out more about what they do). 

It was therefore very interesting to see the different ways in which the RWS and RE artists tackled the subject of the garden.

I'm going to highlight the artists who I thought best captured the look and spirit and history of the garden

Monday, June 19, 2023

GOOGLE BLOGGER: Album Archive no longer available after 19 July 2023

This is IMPORTANT for all those users of Google Blogger who would like to download their images.

For those using Blogger, you may be aware that all the images you have uploaded to Blogger over time are available in something called Google Archive.

The link to Google Archive for your Google Account is plus a long number which relates to the Google Account you use.

However Google Archive is going away.

Technology giant Google has announced that it is shutting down its Album Archive feature. It will no longer be available to Google users starting July 19, 2023. For those unaware, Album Archive feature allows users to view and manage content from different Google products

So if you want to access easily all the images you have uploaded to your Blogger Blog or other Google Products in the past, you need to download them

For me, some of the images are on old computers which I blew up through overuse(!), so the archive is important to me to remind me what exists in photography or paper form.

How to download your images from Google Archive

You can do this in one of two ways

If you've previously accessed Google Archive, Google knows and will have sent you an email about what to do. 

Basically, in the email Google explains how it wants you to use a function called Google Takeout

  • this is a bit longwinded - depending on how many images you have stored.
  • you say what you want done with your images
  • then Google downloads them - but this can take a long time - so you then have to watch out for the email which says they can now be accessed.
  • BUT whether you get what you want is debatable!
I can tell you what what you get this route is NOT necessarily the same as all the images in your Google Archive i.e. what happened to me

However if you go to the Blogger Album bit of your archive, you can also access past album stores of images and download them direct to your hard drive. 

  • go to the three vertical dots top right corner of the view of your images in the archive
  • click download the album
  • you will then get a file of all your images.
how to download images from Blogger Album Archive

You have until 19 July 2023 to download your pics.

Sketches from 2011 in the Blogger Album for my Sketchbook blog

This is what I did a while back when I realised that Google was at some point going to get rid of access to the Archive.

I'm now checking to make sure I've accessed and downloaded everything I want to.

The big question for me is if they get rid of the archive what happens to all the images on my blog going back 18 years? 

Will they still load?

Thursday, June 15, 2023

Banksy Cut & Run - Solo Exhibition at Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow

Banksy is having a solo exhibition for the first time in 14 years and it's OFFICIAL i.e. unlike other exhibitions of his work, Banksy Cut and Run is being mounted with his full involvement and co-operation.

It's been in planning mode for two years - in total secrecy - and is now installed and OPENS on Sunday in Gallery 1 at the Gallery of Modern Art in Glasgow! Dates for public admission are 18th June until 28th August 2023. (Ticket details below). 

Tickets are currently available for general admission from 18/06/2023 to 01/07/2023

The show, which will feature work from right across his career, is called CUT & RUN: 25 years card labour. It includes:
  • new versions of his work made from the original stencils
  • works which are painted rather than just stencilled
Works include:
  • Kissing Coppers which first appeared on a wall of the Prince Albert pub in Brighton in 2004.
  • Mobile Lovers, from Bristol in 2014, which features a hugging couple who are both looking at their screen over the other's shoulder.
The BBC have been allowed to help highlight its opening and have a really informative article
Banksy to stage first solo exhibition in 14 years in Glasgow - which also has a video of what it looks like
The latest show aims to reveal the whole behind-the-scenes process of how his works are made, with original sketches on display as well as the stencils, which have been painted on to give them a new lease of life.
It will open right the way through the night at the weekend in order to cope with the demand for tickets. Hours are as follows
  • Sunday – Thursday: 9am – 11pm
  • Friday and Saturday: 9am – 5am the following morning
At weekends we are open all night but please be aware the show contains tight spaces, fragile items and disorientating light effects, if you show up appearing to be very intoxicated you may be refused entry.


  • Adult - £15
  • Child - £5
  • Student/OAP/low waged/tight fisted - £10
  • Carers free
  • A limited amount of walk up tickets are available each day from the box office.
This is the link to book tickets for a timed slot

Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow

The Gallery of Modern art in Glasgow opened in 1996 in a neoclassical building in Royal Exchange Square in the heart of Glasgow city centre.

The Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow - picture in 2018

It claims to be the most visited modern art gallery in Scotland.  It is open daily and is free to enter.
GoMA is the most visited modern art gallery in Scotland. It is a unique place that uses modern art to inspire an exchange of powerful ideas about life and human experiences.
Outside the Gallery, there is a statue of the Duke of Wellington which regularly has a cone placed on his head. Apparently it's one of the reasons why Banksy thought this was the right gallery for his solo exhibition.

CC BY-SA 3.0Link

GoMA and The Library at GOMA are open :
  • Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday & Saturday: 10 – 5
  • Friday & Sunday: 11 – 5
Entry is FREE

As indicated above, it will be opening through the night for the duration of the exhibition

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Simon Tolhurst - the man who draws cancer patients

It was a pleasure last night to see an item on BBC's The One Show about an artist, called Simon Tolhurst, who goes into hospitals treating cancer patients to draw the patients.

Below are a couple of screenshots from the programme of his drawing done while the patient was receiving treatment and then the patient looking at her portrait - and for me - her face says it all!

I gather this isn't the first time he's received a profile on the media - but it was certainly the first time I'd come across him. 

His official title is the HCC UCLH Portrait Artist in Residence at University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust - and he's been working in this way since 2013.

It's all part of the a a project run by Haematology Cancer Care (HCC) at the University College London Hospital (UCLH) Charity to make portraits of people at the UCLH Macmillan Cancer Centre. 
  • He visits the centre on a weekly basis and makes pencil drawing portraits of patients and their relatives. 
  • The project is free
  • All sitters receive signed prints of their drawing. 
  • More importantly, many of the sitters get a very real benefit in terms 
  • I'm proposing to exhibit all the drawings together at a later date and prints of selected drawings are displayed in the hospital. 
The project has been featured by both television and print media
You can see more of his drawings of patients and exhibition on his 

During the pandemic, when obviously he could not visit the hospital, he also drew NHS staff - via the Wellcome Institute and a video link. This was part of the Arts & Heritage team’s Creative Comfort initiative to support staff wellbeing. see UCLH Staff Drawings Update and Exhibition News!

I'm now left wondering how many artists have attached themselves to other Cancer Centres or places where patients receive long term treatment for potentially life threatening illnesses. 

It would be nice to think this project is not just a "one off". There's been projects to bring Paintings in Hospitals for a long time. 

Maybe this should be broadened out to include "Artists in Hospitals" as well?

Thursday, June 08, 2023

Review: 162nd Annual Exhibition of Society of Women Artists (2023)

This week sees the 162nd Annual Exhibition of the The Society of Women Artists' at the Mall Galleries. I highly recommend you get along to the Mall Galleries if you can before it closes 5pm on Saturday 10th June.

This post covers:
  • how to see the exhibition
  • what I liked about this exhibition - and what niggles I had 
  • the Prize and Award Winners
  • an archive of my past reviews of previous SWA exhibitions
West Gallery - the end wall and what you can't see from the entrance!

It's an international exhibition with artwork being produced by women artists from the UK and abroad. 

I was a little apprehensive going see it yesterday. However my concerns about how well I was (recovering from bad laryngitis + experiencing bad hay fever!) went out the window as soon as I arrived and my eyes were assaulted by a visual feast. There's nothing like a good art exhibition to make you feel better!

This was once I'd got past the guard on the door. Lots of visitors to the exhibition and events meant the doorman had to count people in only after people left the previous evening. When I walked in I could see why - the place was buzzing with activity and people viewing the art

What I like about the SWA Exhibition

East Gallery at the end of the day - when you scan the gallery

These are some of the things that the SWA do really well in my opinion.

The SWA create a VERY diverse and eclectic exhibition with a wide variety of media, subject matter, individual styles and LOTS of innovative artwork
  • It's a bit like the RBA Exhibition - but on steroids. 
  • It generated a "wow" from me from the top of the stairs! It's an exhibition you will not forget visiting!
  • those who are interested can review my photos on Facebook (see links above) and those on the SWA's Facebook Page
West Gallery from the stairs

This is a Society which is not afraid of colour and the exhibition is always bright, colourful and energising.  I suspect this probably means dull and worthy artwork gets excluded at the selection stage.

some of the colourful artwork in the West Gallery

Colourful artwork in the East Gallery mixed with perspective on being female

This is a Society which ALWAYS has a ratio of 50:50 for member artworks and those selected from the Open Entry. 
This to me is the mark of an art society which takes it role in starting artists' careers seriously.

The artwork by members and non-members is mixed right across all three galleries. There's none of the nonsense of members insisting they must be in the West Gallery and all the open can go in the North! Hence there's a more unified sense with themes being used in part and a better balance across the exhibition. It feels like a more emancipated exhibition!

Thursday, June 01, 2023

Call for Entries: Royal Society of Marine Artists Annual Exhibition 2023

This is about the Call for Entries for the Annual Exhibition 2023 of the Royal Society of Marine ArtistsIt covers:

  • Exhibition Dates and Prizes
  • Who can enter
  • What you can enter
  • How to enter
The deadline for digital entries only is 12 noon on Friday 28 July.

One of the walls in the RSMA Annual Exhibition in 2022
The RSMA seeks submissions of art inspired by the sea and marine environment, including harbours and shorelines, traditional craft and contemporary shipping, creeks, beaches, wildlife - in short anything that involves tidal water.

The Exhibition and Prizes on Offer

The RSMA Annual Exhibition 2023 - at the Mall Galleries

The Society's annual exhibition is widely recognised as a showcase for the best in contemporary marine art, with selected work from the open entry hung alongside the work of RSMA members.
The exhibition will be 
  • open to the public between 21st - 30th September 2023 
  • at the Mall Galleries in London.
There is an invitation only Private View on 20th September. 

If you want to know what it will look like, take a look at some of my reviews of previous exhibitions listed at the bottom of this blog post.

Prizes and Awards

This is an exhibition which generates a decent level of sponsorship of various awards. Notably, unlike most of the art societies exhibiting at the Mall Galleries, the prizes and awards in this annual exhibition are predominantly monetary in nature - with over £9,000 in cash awards and over £350 value in art materials - plus two publication awards

I've categorised them below. You can see what won last year in my post  Royal Society of Marine Artists - Prizes and Awards 2022