- Blogging Art in 2008 - A Review (Part 1)
- Art in 2008 - A Review (Part 2)
- Blogging Art in 2008 - The Making A Mark Awards (Part 1)
- Blogging Art in 2008 - The Making A Mark Awards (Part 2)
- Making A Mark - popular posts in 2008
As in 2007, it was based around a set of broad goals which had proved a useful framework for thinking about and organising different activities. It was also informed by my guiding principle which is that more or less everything should fit with just one maxim – “Life is too short”. What this means is that I try always to do what I enjoy doing and avoid or forget about the rest (eg I no longer iron if I can help it!).
Learning – continuing my own personal development as an artist AND as a person who appreciates art. I enjoy learning period. This means, for example, I can enjoy learning about a certain type of art because I enjoy looking at it – not because I want to do it. I will be continuing to learn more about the history of art and specific artists and will continue to go to as many exhibitions as possible because I find these activities to be extremely helpful to developing my own perspective and ideas about my own art. I look so I can see.Learning about other artists: I found out about a lot of new artists in history during 2008, although a lot were not the ones I originally had in mind. I keep track of what I find out by creating an information site and new ones this year included ones for Goya; Maria Sibylla Merian; JMW Turner; Hiroshige; Hokusai; Vilhelm Hammershøi; Dame Laura Knight; Mary Cassatt; Winslow Homer; Andrew Wyeth; Chuck Close and David Hockney
In terms of my original plan some artists were badly neglected. I've only just started to scrape the surface of the wonders of Turner (J.M.W. Turner - Resources for Art Lovers published Feb. 08) and didn't manage to do as much I'd hoped in relation to different artists working in colour or series (eg Degas). They continue to remain artists which I want to learn more about.
A spin-off of learning about artists was the development of a site dedicated to Art History & the History of Art - Resources for Art Lovers which provides links to all the websites where information can be found about various artists.
Learning through visiting exhibitions
I seem to have visited and reviewed very many more exhibitions this year. Exhibitions have certainly become a much bigger part of my blogging life and in turn have provided me with the benefit of seeing an awful lot of art! I also commented on Juried art competitions - does size matter? and Art competitions and copyright - the AWS Gold Medal debate
For those of you who may have missed references to them earlier in the year here's a list of all the exhibitions and galleries I visited and/or reviewed on this blog:
- From Russia - French and Russian Master Paintings 1870-1925 from Moscow and St Petersburg at the Royal Academy of Arts (February)
- The Pastel Society UK - 109th Annual Exhibition (March)
- the opening of the Shirley Sherwood Gallery at Kew gardens and the inaugural exhibition
- the Royal Society of Portrait Painters Annual Exhibition (April)
- the Annual Exhibition of the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers
- The Summer Exhibition (twice) at the Royal Academy - which is impossible to review!
- BP Portrait Prize 2008 - exhibition opens (June) and the awards ceremony in Craig Wylie wins BP Portrait Award 2008
- Colin See-Paynton and "Of a Feather - An Avian Alphabet" at the Bankside Gallery
- BP Travel Award: Gareth Reid and the Finnish winter bathers(June)
- Not the Royal Academy - a Salon des Refusés (August)
- I wrote about the CPSA 16th Annual International Exhibition 2008 - Award winners
- the exhibition for the new Threadneedle Figurative Prize (part 1) (August). See also Threadneedle Figurative Prize (part 2) - Green, Mills, Murdoch and Schierenberg and Threadneedle Figurative Prize (part 3) - Brandford, Shaw, Williams and the DVD
- the SOFA Annual Exhibition (September)
- A visit to the Queens Gallery and the Royal Collection (September)
- RWS / Sunday Times Watercolour Competition 2008 - exhibition review (September) See also RWS/Sunday Times Watercolour Competition - prizewinners and selected artists
- I saw but didn't review the Surrey Sculpture Society and 'Picture Gardens - an RHS Photographic Exhibition' at Wisley.
- I saw but didn't review the exhibition about Mark Rothko at Tate Modern
- UKCPS Annual International Open Exhibition 2008(I missed the PV due to bad weather)
- 45th Annual Exhibition of the Society of Wildlife Artists (October)
- The Royal Society of Miniature Painters, Sculptors & Gravers - Annual Exhibition 2008 (October )
- two exhibitions at the Bankside Gallery - by the Royal Watercolour Society and the Society of Wood Engravers - in Bankside Gallery - Watercolour and Wood Engravers
- Susan Angharad Williams exhibition at ING (November)
- The Royal Institute of Oil Painters - 121st Annual Exhibition. (November)
- the Miró, Calder, Giacometti, Braque: Aimé Maeght and His Artists exhibition at the Royal Academy (November)
- ING Discerning Eye 2008 - a review (November)
- Renaissance Faces at the National Gallery (November)
- New English Art Club - Annual Open Exhibition 2008 (December)
I've learned that I need to be a lot less ambitious! My 2008 schedule for projects reduced the number and lengthened the time span of the major projects - and yet still proved impossible to complete. I've been much more flexible about timings and have parallel tracked a number of my endeavours. However I've reluctantly come to the conclusion that projects at the back end of the year are always going to be in competition with a very busy exhibition 'season' in the Autumn and I need to be more realistic about this when constructing my plan for 2009.
While I wanted to place a lot of emphasis on learning in 2008, it has had an impact on 'doing'. The reason for this is that looking at art and studying art takes a while to absorb. It would be a great pity if the lessons learned were not then transferred in some way into my work - however it's felt at times as if there was just too much to translate. I'll comment more on this in the 'Doing' section.
- Composition and Design This generated three of the most popular posts this year - Composition - Principles of Design; Composition - The Elements of Design; Composition - why tonal values and contrast are important
- Japanese Art and Artists - This design aspects of this project fitted in very neatly next to the previous project on composition and design. I very much enjoyed learning about Hiroshige and Hokusai. I think I'd like to link the 'road to' series of works to the concept of working in a series and the notion of a journey being one way of working in a series. All of which might be relevant to my perspective on developing views of the Thames and trips.
- Colour - This was a terrific topic to get to grips with in terms of scope and potential benefit - and I've got more books about colour which I'll be reviewing on 2009. I still feel like I need to write something which summarises what I learned.
- Creating a Series - I feel like I made a start but could do with revisiting this theme and the original plan for how it might develop. I managed only a limited look at series by Monet - including Monet's Series Paintings - Stacks of Wheat. However I did have a poll Making A Mark Poll: What's the main reason why you work in a series?
Unplanned projects: my plan is flexible and can accommodate topics which emerged during the course of the year.
- "Art and the economy" was an entirely unplanned 'project' even though I was predicting that a recession would have an impact on artists and the art economy back in January. I wrote a lot of posts on this topic during the course of the year which are now all listed in the information site I created Art and the Economy - Resources for Artists.
- Another area was Copyright and Orphan Artworks
- I also spent short periods pulling together information about Art Forums; Art Holidays and Venice.
Doing – in 2008, ‘doing’ is going to be partially linked to projects which are about learning. I’ll aim to produce art using what I’ve learned and the material I’ve accumulated to date. ‘Doing’ might well be focused around specific themes to create bodies of work. 'Doing' will also involve producing work for exhibitions.
My 'doing' was enhanced and undermined all year by the same thing. Too much information to know what to do with! 'Doing' slowed right down in the latter part of the year although I continued to draw in class and to sketch. This was because I felt like I didn't quite know where to go with my work. I'm now getting clearer in my head what I'd like to develop in terms of 'my look' but the 'how' still eludes me . I keep nibbling away at the edges.......
One of my other underlying goals has been to try and settle more on major themes for my work. I still feel like I cover too many different genres. However I know I will NEVER be able to settle on just one theme - I know I need variety. I've done much pondering during the year as to what my themes should be and I THINK I now know what direction to go in. I'll write more about this tomorrow
One of the highligts of the year in terms of 'doing' was Life drawing in the Royal Academy Schools Life Room
Sharing – this a major theme of my life, who I am and what I like to do. There will be a continuing focus on developing how I can share what I learn and learning from others who share what they do. I'm happy to contemplate some major projects in this field but am not about to rush into anything.Website: In June 2008, I created my new 'hub' website at http://www.makingamark.co.uk. This has three clear areas of focus - drawing, writing and sharing It has links to all my other sites.
Blogging - number of posts: In total I've posted well in excess of 400 blog posts in 2008. In the first three years of Making A Mark I've posted as follows
- 2006 - 349 posts
- 2007 - 393 posts
- 2008 - 358 posts
- created 50 posts on Travel with a Sketchbook in......(an average of one post per week)
- contributed several posts to both Urban Sketchers and Watermarks - two new group blogs which started in October and December 2008 respectively where activity has been unplanned
- set up a Ning community for the Watermarks group (again unplanned!)
- become the blogmaster for UKCPS News - the blog of the United Kingdom Coloured Pencil Society - during the busiest part of the year!
Blogging - Number of visitors: The exponential rise of the number of unique visitors has continued. In effect, I virtually doubled the number of visitors to this blog during the course of its third year. The number of unique visitors hit 200,000 in February, 300,000 at the end of July and reached 380,000 by the end of the year. I think at least some of the pre-summer traffic was a spin-off from the fact that the website for UK SATs examiners happened to have the name 'Making A Mark'! However EDS have now lost the exams contract and I'm guessing that maybe they won't be using the same website address in future!
Writing - Making A Mark Guides: I've also written a number of guides for a number of topic areas which are now available as pdf files. Download the Guides for free from the Making A Mark Publications page
Writing - The Book: This made absolutely no progress at all although I do think I'm clearer now about where it might go in terms of outline - so I guess that's progress.
Sharing - Resources for Artists: I've lost count of the number of information sites I developed during the course of 2008 - but it was an awful lot (I need to keep a list in 2009!) - including a whole bunch about gardens for those of us who like to draw gardens- see Great Gardens Headquarters! You can see all of them in Making A Mark on Squidoo
Sharing - Workshops were completely sidelined as I simply could not guarantee being able to deliver due to a temporary health issue which needed sorting. More about plans for 2009 tomorrow.
Sharing the Highs - One of the things that has given me the most pleasure during the course of the year is to highlight artists whose work - and working practices - I think are good. Hence
- the Making A Mark Awards - which we've had this week
- the people featured in my weekly 'whose made a mark this week' blog posts
- the mention that is made of all the artists whose work I like and highlight in posts about exhibitions I've seen.
SHOWING AND SELLING
Showing – besides showing work on this blog and my website, I will participate in a limited number of exhibitions. I may try and develop local gallery representation but this is not a priority.I exhibited during the year in the annual exhibitions of the Society of United Kingdom Coloured Pencil Society - see I've been juried into the UKCPS Annual International Exhibition and showed four works with the Society of Feline Artists (central London). You can see my feline work here. I also contributed to an exhibition in the USA.
Selling – This has had a very low priority for some time and is unlikely to rise much up the pecking order. I will continue to try and find ways of selling work that do not distract too much from learning, doing and sharing. Efficiency is the major priority.
I think I succeeded this year in making sure that submitting work for shows did not railroad all other endeavours as has happened in the past. I even learned how to cut a mat with my new quite sophisticated Logan mat cutter so trips to the framers could become more limited!
Selling is still not a high priority. I want to be to become more settled in the style which has developed in my head even if it's made less progress on paper. Plus issues to do with the economy seem to be conspiring to keep selling activity low key so maybe that's no bad thing!
Travelling – Travel undoubtedly broadens the mind and my travels support both ‘learning’ and ‘doing’. This is probably the vaguest area as yet with no firm plans but a number of ideasTravelling was very limited in 2008 for various reasons however I'm hoping I can start travelling again in 2009 - although it's a pity about the exchange rate. I did however manage to get out and sketch when able to do so and you can see the results in Travels with my Sketchbook in...... London, South of England, and Interior Landscapes - with food
I had a lot of compliments about the blog during the year - which I truly appreciate. Many thanks to all those who take the trouble to write saying how much they enjoy the blog and its content.
Here's a couple of the compliments
- July 2008 - this blog was added to Duane Keiser's "Links" on A Painting A Day. It's a very short list and I am very appreciative! I was similarly flattered to find my blog in the blogrolls of a number of other fine artists.
- August 2008 - Charley Parker (Lines and Colors) wrote a very nice review of my work and internet activities which I highlighted in Lines and Colors and a rather nice surprise