Monday, February 26, 2024

NEW Blavatnik Art, Film and Photography Galleries at the Imperial War Museum

Last Friday, I visited the Blavatnik Art, Film and Photography Galleries at the Imperial War Museum (IWM) for the first time. They are the galleries in the UK’s to explore how artists, photographers and filmmakers bear witness to and tell the story of war and conflict.

The Imperial War Museum is not typically a place I think of when wanting to see art - but recent developments suggest it should definitely be part of the education of any self-respecting artist of fan of art history who wants to understand better how war has been recorded from a visual perspective.

Not least because the Galleries include some iconic artwork as well as important films and photography.

The reason I was at the IWM last Friday was because I'd been invited by the Museum's Digital Producer/Director to some filming she was doing with Gareth Reid in relation to various of the outstanding paintings in the IWM's art collection.

Gareth Reid being filmed while sketching and making notes
about "Gassed" by John Singer Sargent

Some of you may remember Gareth Reid as the winner of the 2017 series of Portrait Artist of the Year and more recently Portrait Artist of the Decade (Review: Portrait Artist of the Decade as featured in Portrait Artist of the Decade Exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery - last few days). For me he will always Gareth Reid who I first met at the National Portrait Gallery back in 2008 when he was responsible for what I still think of as one of the best BP Travel Award Exhibitions in the history of the award (see BP Travel Award: Gareth Reid and the Finnish winter bathers).

He and I were both very impressed with the Galleries and their content. Read on to find out more.

The Blavatnik Art, Film and Photography Galleries

The Blavatnik Art, Film and Photography Galleries are located at the Imperial War Museum in London. They opened last November on Remembrance Sunday. 

The Galleries are free to enter, making more of IWM’s world-class collection available and accessible to all.

Entrance to the Blavatnik Art, Film and Photography Galleries
This is the first time in IWM’s history that a permanent gallery space has been created to display the three collections together - visual art, film and photography.

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Review: Semi Finals of Landscape Artist of the Year 2024

This is a review of the Semi Finals of Landscape Artist of the Year 2024 which took place at the historic shipbuilding village and maritime museum of Buckler's Hard in Hampshire.

Judging the seven paintings produced in the LAOTY semifinals

Below you can read about:
  • The Artists - but also see yesterday's post The Semi-Finalists in Landscape Artist of the Year 2024
  • The Wildcard Winner
  • The Location and Weather 
  • Themes, Learning Points and Tips
  • Decision Time: The Finalists
  • My take on the Semi Final Paintings - covering them in order of the Heats

The Artists

The Semi Finalists - after they had finished

The Artists were:
  • all the Heat Winners - We already know who all the artists are - and I did a recap of them yesterday in my post The Semi-Finalists in Landscape Artist of the Year 2024 - so no section devoted to artists in this post!
  • plus the chosen wildcard from the Wildcard Winners in each heat.  The Wildcard Winner who got a place in a pod and who was selected from the six Heat Wildcard was Rebecca Patterson from Aberdeen.
Rebecca Patterson with her Heat 1 painting of a nocturnal Dunnottar Castle

Rebecca Patterson took part in who took part in Heat 1 at Dunnottar Castle. She is a professional artist and a creative practitioner. She graduated from Gray’s School of Art in 2009 with a BA(Hons) in Painting and again in 2010 with a Master of Fine Art. She works with Grampian Hospitals Art Trust on their Art Room projects and the charity Life With Art which hosts creative workshops with vulnerable groups in Aberdeen.

During the course of the day, Rebecca drew her very own following as those watching were very interested in her very different techniques for creating art.

The very interested spectators around Rebecca's pod
- as the time came to remove the cling film!

The Hordes

The LAOTY Pods at the top of the
maritime heritage village at Buckler's Hard in Hampshire
plus just some of the visitors who stopped to watch

LOTS of people came to watch the semi-finals.  Rather too many to make it conducive to good artwork in my opinion. 

It was difficult to tell whether these were normal visitors who stopped to watch a bit or people who had specifically come to watch. I decided those with collapsible chairs were probably part of the latter group! However inspection of "bucklers hard" on Instagram suggests virtually all were there to get seen on the television...... i.e. very few mentions on social media. I think many of those who sat on the grass in front of the artists maybe thought they were going to get memorialised in a painting as well as getting their "face on the telly".

There's a point at which onlookers get in the way of artists performing well.

I think those who produce this programme might do well to consider long and hard whether and when they announce the locations at which they are filming. However, I'm sure they've already learned some lessons from this experience.

PS If you get selected as a pod artist this year, ask them what they are doing about keeping audience numbers to more sensible levels.

Location & Weather

The location was unusual. Buckler's Hard is a historic shipbuilding village and a Maritime Museum on the west bank of the Bealieu River in Hampshire.

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

The Semi-Finalists in Landscape Artist of the Year 2024

You, like me, have probably already forgotten the names and backgrounds of the artists who are going to be in the semi-final of Landscape Artist of the Year 2024 on Sky Arts.

Here's a round-up and refresher for all those who will be watching TONIGHT at 8pm.

For me, the critical question is WHO is going to make a serious pitch for the final and then the commission in this semifinal round. Read on to find out WHY....

ALL the artists are painters - except for Kristina who is really a printmaker.

At the end I discuss the reasons behind who I predict will be in the Final and where you can discuss my choice!

Heat 1: Kristina Chen

Kristina Chen
(Instagram) is a Canadian printmaker who has studied in London. Her submission was a large monochrome work on very thin Japanese paper. Very little presence online when I looked for her after the first heat. However, I looked again and have now found her website which I couldn't find at the time of the first heat. She describes herself as 
a London based artist working between printmaking, photography and public installation.
It's also very clear from her 'about' page that she is very used to doing commissions for prestigious clients and public art installations. Nothing that vaguely resembles painting though...

Having seen her past achievements, I wouldn't be in the least bit surprised if she's in the Final - because I don't believe that the Judges never ever look at their CVs and websites!
However, her Instagram account is now private! Which seems odd for an artist who is trying to raise their profile via the media

Submission and Heat Painting by Kristina Chen

What I said

Kristina Chen rescued an impossible situation and benefited from the fact that both Kathleen and Tai liked the strange quality of her artwork. They do love seeing artwork they've not seen before!

I thought Kristina's submission was very impressive - and I identified her at the beginning, when we only had the submissions to go on, as being one of the shortlisted artists.

I also think it is infinitely superior to her heat artwork. However I have sympathy for the fact that what she had planned to do in the heat i.e. printmaking turned out to be impossible given the location. She was working on very light paper and it became obvious to her that working into the initial drawing / print using other media was the only way she could finish.

She captured the huge clefts in the cliff on which the castle sat and got a very real sense of the massive nature of the cliffs and the relatively small size of the castle. Plus she got the weather in the latter part of the day.

She wasn't my favourite, although I loved her submission. I said....

I'm not disappointed however I think her submission probably got her through. It will be really interesting to see:
  • whether she works out how to do printmaking outside
  • what she produces in the semi-finals
REFERENCE: Review: Episode 1 of Landscape Artist of the Year Series 9 (2024) 

Heat 2: Wesley Smith

I didn't like Wesley's heat painting, however I loved his submission

Wesley Smith (Instagram) is a chef and a painter based in Brighton’s North Laines where he paints landscapes and still lives. He spent 10 years living abroad in Taiwan and his paintings are influenced by Asia. His Instagram account is definitely worth a review - I'm more impressed by the paintings on there which demonstrates very clearly that he can paint a range of landscapes.

Monday, February 19, 2024

Review: Episode 6 of Landscape Artist of the Year Series 9 (2024) - Hever Castle

 ...and so we come to the last heat of Landscape Artist of the Year 2024. 

....and it's another big building. Although this time it's rather older than the ones in last week's heat - plus it comes with two moats - an outer one and an inner one!!

Episode 6: Hever Castle

This is my review of the sixth episode of the 9th series of Landscape Artist of the Year 2024.  As regular readers will know by now, it considers:
  • the location and weather
  • the artists' profiles
  • themes arising during the episode
  • judges decision-making
  • who was shortlisted and who won.

Location and Weather

The Heat took place at Hever Castle in Kent - which was the childhood home of Anne Boleyn (1501-1536)  who was the second wife of King Henry VIII and a Queen from 1533 to 1536. You can see the outer and inner moat in the pic below. Plus the topiary lawn which is a feature of the approach to the Castle.

On the day of the heat, the weather was fine - sunny with some cloud cover. So none of the artists in this heat had to compete with any of the challenges that participating artists in other heats have encountered this year.

Hever Castle, topiary and inner and outer moats

Very sensibly, they located the pods at some distance from the castle which made the latter small and opened up the need to create an artwork which included part of the estate and garden.

If you want to "play at being a pod artist" and try and paint the scene, you need to go to the green area (top left in the above image) over the bridge and between the outer moat and the cafe - with the view over the top of the topiary.  This is near to where you enter the Castle Grounds from the car park (speaks this past visitor!)

Cafe in the background and Outer Moat on the right

The artists' view from the Pods
of (foreground) the lily covered moat
(Middle ground) the topiary
(background) Hever Castle - on the right

The perspective from the pods provided three clear zones:
  • (foreground) the lily covered moat
  • (Middle ground) the topiary
  • (background) Hever Castle - on the right
Lots of green vegetation and lots of stone. The colour of the main features of course varied during the day depending on whether it was in in the sun or covered by the cloud which featured - on a variable basis - on the day and hence the object was in the shade.

TIP  Decide of the pattern of sun and shade before you begin to paint. 
  • Consider the pattern of darks and lights before you start
  • Take photos when you start and fix on a the parameters of your design. (what's in and what's out)
  • Delay fixing on how sun and/or shadow are going to cover your subject matter by making a decision only after you have drawn in
  • work out how the darks and lights will change as the sun moves during the day
  • make a record sketch of what the tonal shapes are (darks, lights and inbetween tones)
  • don't forget to include and record the shadows of objects in your design
see also my blog post Plein air art - 10 tips for working with sunshine and shade (3rd June 2009)

Looks to me as if the Wildcard artists were a little way further round from the pod artists - in amongst the trees with a side-on view of the Castle - with a choice of being under the shade of the big trees or being out in the sunshine!

The wildcard artists beyond the Outer Moat at Hever Castle

Artists' Profiles

I've now decided that the cameras which record the artists work MUST have stopped working - because the listing of the artists has not been updated past Heat 4. So we have lost:
  • the correct spelling of every artist's name
  • links to their social media sites
  • a video of how they created their landscape artwork
Below I provide links to their websites (if they have one) embedded in their names and a link to their Instagram account if they have one.

The POD Artists of Heat 6, LAOTY 2024 in the garden at Hever Castle

The artists in Heat 6 at Hever Castle are:

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

A short break (except for LAOTY)

I'm currently feeling absolutely inundated with a very long "to do" list of tasks which have been on the back burner for far too long

So, consequently, I'm taking a short break from "Making A Mark" - EXCEPT for my weekly reviews of Landscape Artist of the Year which will still appear each week.

You never know by the time I come back I may have sorted out the email subscription issue!

Friday, February 09, 2024

Review: Episode 5 of Landscape Artist of the Year Series 9 (2024) - Liverpool Three Graces

This is my penultimate Heat Review of Series 9 of Landscape Artist of the Year . One more to go and then it will be the semi-finals! This week's fifth heat came from Pier Head in Liverpool.

  • On one side of the Pods were the Three Graces - very large and historic buildings associated with Liverpool's past. 
  • On the other side was the River Mersey and the Mersey Ferries Terminal - which attracted a lot of the wildcard artists.

Heat Paintings lined up
in front of the former offices of the Port of Liverpool Building

Episode 5: Liverpool - The Three Graces

This is my review of the fifth episode of the 9th series of Landscape Artist of the Year 2024.  As regular readers will know by now, it considers:
  • the location and weather
  • the artists' profiles
  • themes arising during the episode
  • judges decision-making
  • who was shortlisted and who won.

Location and Weather

Subject Matter: Three large buildings for the pod artists
(note the pods on extreme right of Pier Head)
wildcards could choose the buildings
OR turn towards the Mersey Ferries Terminal, the River Mersey and the Ferries

This week's heat was on the Liverpool Waterfront at Pier Head - adjacent to:
  • The Three Graces at Pier Head (from left to right)
    • the Royal Liver Building (1908-11) - one of the first buildings in the world to be built using reinforced concrete. It's a landmark building in Liverpool and is famed for the two Liver Birds which standing on top of the two cupola watching over land and sea
    • the Cunard Building (1914-16) - this is a mix of Italian Renaissance and Greek Revival styles. It used to be home home to Cunard's passenger facilities for trans-Atlantic journeys departing from Liverpool. 
    • the Port of Liverpool Building (1904-1907) - formerly the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board Offices, more commonly known as the Dock Office is a Grade II* listed building. It was the first big building on Pier Head and was constructed with a reinforced concrete frame clad in Portland Stone
  • The statue of the Beatles on Pier Head
  • The Gerry Marsden Terminal at Pier Head of the Mersey Ferries which was renamed in 2022 in honour of Gerry Marsden who made "Ferry across the Mersey" famous.
The Three Graces are part of what is Liverpool's FORMER UNESCO designated World Heritage site, the Maritime Mercantile City.  

Unfortunately, back in 2021, the status was removed after rather too many buildings of little architectural merit and no connection to the port were also built along the waterfront (see extreme right of the above image - which were part of the last heat). (see Unesco strips Liverpool of its world heritage status and World Heritage Committee deletes Liverpool - Maritime Mercantile City from UNESCO’s World Heritage List)


It was a very hot day - and yet again the pods are out in the sunshine. The artists get the benefit of fans but there is absolutely no shade. 
  • I'm not quite sure how the legal requirements for taking care of the health and wellbeing of the participants allows for no shade at all on a very hot and sunny day. 
  • Or maybe there is shade and I can't see it? I know the top of the pod is opaque. It would be nice to know it contains a strong UV filter. Thing is when I look at the programme all I can see is artists in pods in full sun (i.e. there are shadows from items on the floor of the pod) who are complaining about how hot it is. I know they put fans in the pods - but the problem with fans is they don't stop heatstroke or UV.
If I was in a pod with no shade on a hot day I'd walk out - or insist they sorted out some shade for me.

Pods on pier head on a very hot day with no shade.

The other problem with painting in bright sunlight is you cannot see colour properly. If you're also looking at white buildings, it becomes a bit like snow blindness.

What they need is a venetian blind system which the artist can control to cover the pod if required. Alternatively the equivalent of an upright sunshade within the pod - big enough for artist and painting.

So far as the wildcards are concerned, it's entirely up to them how they position themselves and whether they bring any shade with them. I'm thinking those tents fulfil lots of purposes from keeping you dry to providing shade....  See the winner of the wildcards to see how she handled it (below)

Artists' Profiles

I'm beginning to think that the cameras which record the artists work must have stopped working - because we have LOST the official listing (which is a great pity) of:
  • the correct spelling of every artist's name
  • links to their social media sites
  • a video of how they created their landscape artwork
It stops after Heat 3.

These are the artists who painted Pier Head in Episode 5

Below links to the artist's website is embedded in their name - if they have one.
  • Ruqayya Aftab  - a fine art student from Birmingham. No social media so far as I can see. Her submission was of a woodcut of a market in Pakistan.
  • Penny Bearman (Instagram) - from Deal in Kent. She considers herself to be an impressionist and likes to produce atmospheric landscapes and dramatic cloudscapes. 
  • Mark Bonnello  (Instagram) - an HGV driver living in County Antrim. He's a self taught painter who works mostly in oils. He has been taking his painting seriously since 2018 and has exhibited at the RUA, the RSMA and the ROI and lists his smaller works on his website.
  • Chris Dorning (Instagram) - a mixed media artist from Cumbria. He is a professional mural artist and likes painting on a bright red ground.
  • Kerry Doyland (Instagram) - from Essex. She qualified as an architectural designer in the 1980’s and started her own design company. She was awarded British Designer of the Year and Freedom of the City of London for her work in this field. She now paints in acrylics. Her submission painting was both beautiful and sad - of a terrace at a hotel in Venice which she visited after she lost her husband to Covid.
Below Kerry is seen with a camera hanging over her shoulder - should anybody be under any illusion as to what it's actually like for the artists in the pods!

  • Quentin Martin (Instagram) - a British architectural designer, artist and art tutor who enjoys painting. Working mostly in oils, his subjects mainly include landscapes. Produced en plein air, the work is as much about the journey, in search of the subject, as it is the subject itself. He has exhibited widely including many open exhibitions.
  • Ciaran Meister (Instagram) - a multidisciplinary artist, musician and filmmaker living and working in Wicklow, Ireland. He paints rural scenes with broad flat vertical strokes. His practice is concerned with mark-making and explorations of time and memory.
Liverpudlians are sound. Stopping and saying nice things about my painting in the best accent was a highlight.

If you’re thinking of entering @artistoftheyear definitely do. It’s a cool experience and impressive to see how such a big production comes together on the day.
  • Monica Popham (Instagram) - a digital media manager and landscape artist and illustrator from Gibraltar. Currently based in Guildford. The main body of her work focuses on the tangible quality of sunlight, and how it interacts with the architecture in Gibraltar and other Mediterranean towns. 
There were several weeks between the call and my heat, so I set out to practice as much as possible. There were lots of emails and calls during this time with an extensive artist questionnaire all about my background, painting technique and personality.
We were told our location was along the Liverpool waterfront so after looking on google maps, I assumed it was going to be either the Albert Docks, The Liver Building or the Liverpool Museum. After studying the blogs of previous episodes on Making a Mark (which I suggest any artist who is going on the programme to do), I practiced painting in the 4 hour window.
As always I'm hugely appreciative of those who give my blog and reviews a mention! 


The problems of painting on a hot day

Here's some of the things that happen to artists / painters on a hot day.

Wednesday, February 07, 2024

Review: The 6th John Ruskin Prize

Yesterday I went to the exhibition for The 6th John Ruskin Prize at Trinity Buoy Wharf - and I was VERY impressed! I HIGHLY RECOMMEND paying this a visit if you like artwork which has been made by thoughtful artists who make you think!

Below you can find out about:

  • what is the John Ruskin Prize
  • why it's worth a visit 
  • how to see it
  • who won the prizes on offer
  • names of artists shortlisted for the exhibition

What is the John Ruskin Prize? (In a nutshell)

Selected from over 4000 entries, the final shortlist of 78 pieces from 68 artists, makers and innovators have been given a platform for the unseen to be seen and the unspoken to be heard. 

The John Ruskin Prize:

  • is a multi-disciplinary biennial art prize in the UK
  • was inaugurated in 2012 by The Guild of St. George and visual literacy charity, The Big Draw
  • Entry is eligible for all artists, designers and makers - especially those whose artwork defies easy categorisation
  • encourages entries in a wide array of media
  • requires all submissions to respond to the theme of the biennial exhibition
  • The judging panel consisted of Narinder Sagoo MBE, Cornelia Parker CBE RA, Bob and Roberta Smith RA, Gary Hill, Julian Stair OBE, Dr Rachel Dickinson and Jane Barnes.
  • Organised and delivered by The Big Draw
The prize aims to reflect a central thread of John Ruskin’s thought; as a writer and artist - and as an impassioned critic, not only of art but of society and life - he believed that art has the power to reveal and celebrate universal truths, and that a good artist and maker in any medium should always be guided by that search.
The Prize used to hold an exhibition every other year - but the pandemic made sure that didn't happen so this is the first one since 2019.

These are links to the past exhibitions on The John Ruskin Prize website
If after reading this review and/or visiting the exhibition you're interested in entering the next one - in 2025 for an exhibition in 2026 - you may like to read the Submission Guidelines & FAQS for the 6th Exhibition

The 6th John Ruskin Exhibition

In summary:
  • Artists were invited to respond to the theme for the 6th John Ruskin Prize Exhibition in 2024, Seeing the Unseen, Hearing the Unspoken. This could be explored and interpreted in many different ways. 
  • Artwork for the 2024 Exhibition was selected from over 4000 entries from UK and international artists. You can see the Judges here.
  • The final  shortlisted artworks of 78 pieces from 68 artists, makers and innovators can be seen at The Buoy Store, Trinity Buoy Wharf, until February 17th (more details below)
Entries were welcomed from artists, designers, architects and makers, at all stages of their careers. For the first time, entries were open to 
  • the medium of photography 
  • creatives across the globe (but only in respect of digital entries).

Why this exhibition is worth a visit

The 2024 John Ruskin Theme - Seeing the Unseen, Hearing the Unspoken

The theme for the 6th John Ruskin Prize

One of the requirements of this exhibition is that ALL artworks must respond to the set theme. 
Make sure your work responds to the theme, Seeing the Unseen, Hearing the Unspoken? Submission Guidelines and FAQs
The exhibition theme is a major characteristic of The John Ruskin Prize. 
  • It's very much NOT just a "send us your artwork" exhibition. 
  • Hence, by definition, it appeals to a certain type of artist who has no problem creating artwork based on a concept.
It also means that the exhibition can include artwork which comment on current or recent topical issues.

The standard of artwork in this exhibition is unusual. In terms of thoughtfulness, imagination and creativity, in my opinion, it far exceeds artwork typically seen in most open art exhibitions. 

Tuesday, February 06, 2024

RIP Robert Wade (1930 - 2024)

I've always really liked the Australian watercolour artist Robert Wade and I'm very sad to hear he has died. 

My first acquaintance with him was via one of his art instruction books. I found his book "Painting More Than The Eye Can See" (North Light Books 1990) to be an absolute revelation when I first encountered it in an art shop and needless to say it came home with me and now sits on a bookshelf just to the right of where I'm sitting. 

The books I used to find worked the best for me were written by people who were practising artists and teachers who emphasised the many different aspects of making art rather than the '5 easy steps' (I'm thinking of people like Charles Reid and Robert Wade). Art Instruction Books #1: different ways of learning | Making A Mark (January 2009)

He's also one of the people I used to follow on Facebook (this is his Facebook Page). He could always be relied on to post his work from time to time - even if latterly he was sharing posts he'd made in previous years.

Robert Wade in 2019

Below is the tribute by the Australian Watercolour Institute posted yesterday on its Faceboook Page following his recent death aged 94. Followed by my summary of his achievements based on his artist's page on the AWI website.

Vale Robert Vale OAM, our esteemed AWI member and acclaimed watercolourist. He will be profoundly missed.

In Robert’s words....
‘Watercolour captures each and every one who takes up the challenge to paint with this glorious and capricious medium. In painting the type of subjects that I do, my main concern is to create an expression of my emotion through light, form and movement. To be able to translate these feelings of excitement from my mix of imagination and reality, and then put them down on paper, takes much intense observation and interpretation. I call my process ‘Perceptive Observation,’ which I define as ‘seeing with your BRAIN, feeling with your EYES, interpreting with your HEART.’ Hopefully, this mix will eventually lead to a sensation that will flow through to the viewers of my work’.
Educated at Scott’s College, Robert A. Wade was introduced to watercolour at the age of six by his artist father but is otherwise self-taught, having undertaken no formal art training. He worked for forty years in the fields of advertising, screenprinting and graphic arts.

In 1986, he received the Advance Australia Medal for his contribution to Australian art and, in 2003, was awarded the Medal of The Order of Australia for his service to Watercolour as an artist, educator and promoter of Australian artists. He is the author of three instructional books, over 100 articles for art magazines and produced five films.

Art Prizes and Awards 

His profile page indicates that Wade exhibited with most of the world’s major Watercolour Societies, winning 

  • 13 major awards in England, France and the United States, 
  • as well as 120 awards in Australia. 
Among these are 
  • the Cornelissen Award, Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours, London, 1983; 
  • the Talens Award and Public Choice, Grand Prix International, Tregastel, France 1994; 
  • Clay Kent Medal, International Society of Marine Painters, Washington, D.C., 1985; 
  • eight major awards of the Salmagundi Club, New York; t
  • he Emanuel Krueger Memorial Award,1988; 
  • three Gold Medals for Watercolour at Camberwell Rotary Exhibition, 1981, 1985, 1987 and 
  • the 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award, International Watercolour Society, Istanbul.


His artwork is represented worldwide in numerous public, corporate, and private collections, including 
  • the Brooklyn Museum, New York; 
  • the Royal Watercolour Society, London; 
  • the Salmagundi Club, New York; 
  • the Bank of Tokyo; 
  • the National Museum of Watercolour, Mexico City and 
  • the regional Galleries of Hamilton, Mornington Peninsula and Castlemaine, Victoria, and Grafton, New South Wales.


Wade was elected a member of the Australian Watercolour Institute in 1983 and a Life Member in 2010. 

Other memberships included:
I always had the impression he inspired people all over the world. Indeed the last time I wrote about him was in connection with his friendship with Tony Bennett

Maybe the two friends will now be talking about painting in heaven!

A post on my Facebook Page

Friday, February 02, 2024

Review: Episode 4 of Landscape Artist of the Year Series 9 (2024) at Stonehaven Harbour

This is my review of the fourth episode of the 9th series of Landscape Artist of the Year 2024

Regular readers will be interested to know that in this one I'm calling out the short-listing decision and some other things that were said by the Judges. Maybe they were having an off day....

Heat 4 artists lined up with their paintings waiting for the shortlisting.

Those familiar with these posts will know by now, this review considers:
  • the location and weather
  • the artists' profiles
  • themes arising during the episode
  • judges decision-making
  • who was shortlisted and who won.

Location and Weather

This week the artists pods were erected along the harbour wall in Stonehaven in Aberdeenshire, 15 miles south of Aberdeen, on the north east coast of Scotland

Pods on the Harbour Wall at Stonehaven

Stonehaven Harbour was designed by the famous engineer Robert Stephenson (grandfather of Robert Louis) to provide a safe place for the herring fishing boats to tie up and be protected from storms at sea- prior to the collapse of the fishing industry at Stonehaven.

It's primarily now a centre for leisure and tourism - which would account for the large number of visitors to the place where the artists were painting. I don't think I've ever seen so many people getting so close to the rear of the pods.

The pods were side on to the buildings and boats on the inner wall of the harbour

The pods on the harbour wall and the view of the twon against the hill

The weather for the fourth heat was a not untypical daynfor the area. It was overcast with thick cloud and then rained heavily part way through the afternoon.

The Artists

Artists in the Pods

Artists pictured on a break from painting

Below you can find profiles of the eight pod artists. Links in the names are to their websites

I would include the link to the videos of the works in progress of each of the paintings alongside the names of all the artists and the social media links they provided at the time - but it's not yet been published. Maybe the production team are having an off day too? Or maybe they're having problems with the videos?

This is the link for where it should be when they get round to it
  • Amy Auld (Instagram) - a baker from Newcastle upon Tyne. Born in south-east London to Scottish and Nigerian parents, she studied at the Royal Drawing School and later went onto do her BA in Fine Art at Newcastle University. (I couldn't find any website or social media sites). Her submission was very tropical.
  • Andrew Barrowman ARBSA PS (Instagram | FacebookYouTube) - an award winning landscape artist and art teacher who lives in Cornwall and teaches in St. Ives and Truro. He paints en plein air in all weathers and from his studio at Krowji Redruth. He worked in charcoal for this competition. I've written about him recently on FB in connection with the Annual Exhibition of the Pastel Society where he has three excellent artworks on show right now. He exhibits regularly with a number of art galleries and the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists, New English Art Club, The Drawing Society and The Pastel Society. I recommend all aspiring plein air painters to take a look at his YouTube Channel.

  • Charlotte Corden (Instagram) - an Illustrator from Exeter. She has an MA in anthropology from University College London, and has studied at both the London Fine Art Studios and the Arts Student’s League, New York. Her submission
  • Tony Griffin (Facebook) - a Scottish artist born in Glasgow in 1963. He worked as an electrician for many years in Scotland and Canada then started to study art for two years at the Ontario College of Art in Toronto and then studied at the Glasgow School of Art and got a BA Hons in Fine Art Painting. You can see his submission here
  • James Leonard (Instagram) - a Welsh landscape artist based in the Vale of Glamorgan. He divides his time between painting the landscapes of Wales and the South of France. He studied Architecture and has specialised in its visualisation for more than a decade. He currently works as a Digital Agency Director.
  • Kieran Meehan - a cartoonist who was born in London in 1952 and then moved with his family to Glasgow in 1963. From the age of 16, he worked in several advertising agencies and design studios before becoming a cartoonist for several leading magazines.
  • Sophie Parr (Instagram | Facebook) - a contemporary landscape painter from Cheshire. She did her BA (Hons) degree Fine Art at Cheltenham and Gloucester College of Art. She teaches Art & Photography in a secondary school in Ellesmere Port.
  • Daniel Roy Sharples (Instagram) - an art teacher from Lancashire. Born in 1988 he grew up in Preston before studying illustration at UCLAN and training as a teacher. He is now Head of Art & Design at a Lancashire secondary school, while also dedicating time to developing his own practice and presence as an emerging artist. He paints in oils and enjoys plein air painting. He's exhibited with the ROI and RBA. He was one of the wildcard artists at Blackpool - see his blog post about this.