Saturday, October 31, 2009

MAM Poll (October) Results - What has influenced your style of art?

Main influences on your style of art
copyright Katherine Tyrrell / Making A Mark
The main influence on your style of art is YOU! Individual preferences reigned supreme on October's Making A Mark Poll. CLICK THE IMAGE to see a larger version of the chart and review the categories.

60 people responded and provided 160 responses in this month's multi response poll - giving an average of 2.7 responses per person

What's the main influence of your style of art?
  • The top influence on your style is the way you prefer to work - 21% of you voted for this as being their #1 influence on their style of art
  • 16% of you were very influenced by the way you prefer to make marks
I know 'the way way I prefer to work' was certainly my top answer.

However, if we all stop to think, I wonder how much of our preferences are determined by the media we use, the place we grew up, the art we're used to seeing and our first art teacher. It's important to recognise that a lot of our preferences are driven by what we 'know' and what we're used to. However they're often totally unconscious influences which we wouldn't necessarily articulate. They are aspects which you begin to become more conscious of as somebody tries to get you to try out working in a different way - and you discover, maybe for the first time, that you've got some inbuilt resistance to working in a different way. It's then interesting to tease out why that is.

I find it easier to say with confidence that my preference for working in dry media is not something that has been influenced by other people. That's a preference which carries over into all sorts of other areas and is about the feel of the media I'm using as it touches the paper or support. For example, I can't write with certain pens because they don't 'feel' right to me. I like the contact I get between media and the page without having a tool (like a brush) coming inbetween.

I'me guessing that the way we prefer to make marks tends to differentiate mainly those that like to be precise from those that like being more painterly or expressionistic. However if we think about that for a bit how much of these preferences are driven by
  • art that we've seen
  • emotions that we feel
In other words - how much of your style is determined by external influences and how much by who you are as an individual?

Other important influences included:
  • past art movements (14%) - I don't know what you all think - but I do know that I've certainly experienced a wish to work in the same way as particular painters from the past at various times. If you read many artists's artist statements you often see people referring to the artists who have influenced them. What I find fascinating is that it's perfectly possible to change your mind about this when you get to see paintings by that artist up close. Seeing the technique required to produce the desired effect can often lead to a rethink about whether you really want to paint like that!
  • your culture (13%) - I'm reminded from time to time that we tend to only look at art from our own cultures. It's good sometimes to remember that art is global and that different cultures tend to portray subject matter in different ways. It's also very interesting to see what happens when western artists try incorporating other cultures into their art
  • the media you use (11%) - I'm minded to say that this for me is again an indicator that an artist has found their style. If I can tell who the artist is irrespective of which painting media they are using then that artist has a strong style
Does your style vary with the media you use?

What are the less influential factors?

The factors which emerged as less influential included:
  • art teachers (8%) - we often hear about people copying the way their tutors work or trying to work in the same way as the author of an art instruction book. While it undoubtedly happens, this poll suggests that it's not seen as an important factor by most people
  • finding the right genre for you (8%) - which I guess means that those who have established a style draw or paint pretty much the same way irrespective of which genre a drawing or painting belongs to. I've always maintained that stylistic unity across different subject matter is a jolly good indicator that an artist has found the style which works for them
7% of the responses came from people who considered they didn't yet have any sort of style at all. On of the basis that people will only have said this once, this is about 11% of the people who responded to the poll.

Only a couple of people thought style was either something you have - or you don't!

Interestingly when I came back to this poll this morning I saw that I'd left out a factor which changed my style. That's about what happens when you switch sizes. Working on much bigger supports really changed the way I worked with pastel - it became a lot more painterly. That in turn influenced how I worked with dry media when sketching when I came back to working small.

But I forgot to ask you "Does size matter?" ! Maybe that's a topic for a future poll! ;)

Links:

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Video: Claude Monet at the Musée d'Orsay

Here's the third in my series of posts about the Musée d'Orsay in Paris. Today I've got a video of the paintings of Claude Monet. This is the link to Claude Monet Paintings in the Musée d'Orsay on my You Tube channel (HD version) - you'll find you recognise an awful lot of them. The sound of the museum takes me right back to when I was there four weeks ago.

Yet again, as you can see from the video, it was shot in a very crowded room by an individual (me!) who was still getting used to her new tiny hand held camcorder. See yesterday's post about my video of Vincent Van Gogh's paintings as to the reasons why it is possible to photograph, shoot video and copy paintings in the Musée d'Orsay.

The Lunch: decorative panel
by Claude Monet (1844-1926)

photo copyright Katherine Tyrrell

Paintings in the video

Here's a list of some of the major paintings by Monet which are in the video and links to the website. The English title has the link the description of the painting in English and the French title has the link to an image of the painting. Following these is either a small extract from the description on the website (in italics) or a comment by me. (Note: I'll be adding more later - got to run!)

Photographs of Monet paintings

You can also see a number of my photgraphs of these paintings by Monet (and others by Monet) in my Flickr set of the paintings in the Musée d'Orsay. On the right you can see ones that I didn't video.

Monet's version of Dejeuner sur l'Herbe (Luncheon on the Grass)
(this is the account of why it's like this)

photo copyright Katherine Tyrrell

Advice for a novice shooting videos

As regular readers may know, I've come late to digital camcorders - which I'm quite pleased about as mine is very small, very light and slips in my pocket!

People are writing to me and sending me jolly good advice about shooting videos - and I'd like to thank everybody who is doing that. Keep it coming. I will pan more slowly and use stop frames before zooming!

I'm also especially interested in ways of reducing shake and am now trying to find out whether they do shoulder-pods or body-brace for the new tiny camcorders.

Any more suggestions please let me know - and I'll do a composite post at some point about the good advice I'm being given.

Links:
Making a Mark reviews...... Travels with a Sketchbook in.......

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Video: Vincent van Gogh at the Musée d'Orsay

Following yesterday's post about the Musée d'Orsay in Paris, today I'm highlighting my video of the room containing 18 Van Gogh paintings in the Musée d'Orsay (usual YouTube /
watch in HD).

Self-Portrait (1889) by Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890)
H. 65; W. 54.5 cm, Oil on canvas

photo coyright Katherine Tyrrell

Like Rembrandt and Goya, Vincent van Gogh often used himself as a model; he produced over forty-three self-portraits, paintings or drawings in ten years.
It's certainly an experience to be in a room with quite so many Van Goghs. You'll note from the video that it's very crowded. However, that's what all the rooms are like on the top floor where the late nineteenth century and Impressionist paintings are displayed. However people always like to linger in the Van Gogh room.......

Some of the more important paintings by Vincent Van Gogh which can seen in the video are listed below. The museum highlights and explains these paintings on its website. The hyperlink is to the page where you can read more about that painting.
Thatched Cottages at Cordeville, Auvers-sur-Oise (1890) by Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890)
H. 73; W. 92 cm, Oil on canvas
photo coyright Katherine Tyrrell

Visiting the Musée d'Orsay: If you want to see the paintings in the Musée d'Orsay with rather fewer people, try and visit very early, very late or during lunchtime. I guess there must be a 'less popular' day for visitors but I don't have a clue as to which it is. (Does anybody else know?) We were visiting the day after it had been closed for a day (which happens every week - on Mondays) and I rather suspect Tuesday might be a busy day.

You should also note that queues for tickets can be long in the middle of the day.

More information: you can find out more about the museum or Vincent Van Gogh by clicking on the links to videos and information below.

Note: This video is shakier than I would have liked. I'm going to have to practice shooting videos while walking in a very crowded room where I'm trying to focus on the paintings and avoid getting in people's faces or having their faces on the video. Any tips?

Links:

Paris Art Museums - my other videos on YouTube
More information can be found on this blog and in my information sites:
Making a Mark reviews...... Travels with a Sketchbook in.......

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Musée d'Orsay

The Musée d'Orsay is one my favourite museums for all sorts of reasons. I love the art. I love the the structure which contains it. I love where it's situated and I love the views from the roof over the Seine across to the Louvre with l'Opera and Monmartre in the distance.

Musée d'Orsay - art and the artists

The museum is dedicated to artwork in the period 1848 to 1914 and is, in part, a temple to Impressionism. Essentially it starts where the Louvre leaves off. The artwork housed in the museum came from three different collections.

There's an immense range of work and it takes a long time to get round it all. Last month, I stayed the whole day in the museum until it closed. For the very first time I got round nearly all the paintings and saw many I'd never seen before. This is partly because of the way in which the museum is laid out. You can think you've been through all the rooms when in fact you've left out a huge chunk.

It's probably the best museum for seeing collections of paintings by the various artists associated with Impressionism anywhere in the world.

This is:
You can copy works in the museum
Freehand drawing
Freehand pencil sketches, not exceeding 30 x 60 cm, are allowed in the museum. However, for groups, previous authorisation must be requested when the booking is made.

Copyists
Copying museum works of art, by professional or amateur copyists, or by art school students, requires an individual authorisation. This is issued to one named person, and for a single work. The request must be submitted at least one month before the required date of entry to the museum. The permission is valid for three months, and may not be extended.
Copying
The museum allows photography of the exhibits (Yay!) - so long as flash is not used.

During museum opening times, works may be photographed or filmed in the permanent exhibition halls for personal or private use, excluding use for groups or for commercial purposes.

The use of flash, incandescent lamps, tripods or other support, is not allowed without an individual authorisation from the museum director.

As a result - and because this time I had the time to go round on my own I photographed all the pictures I liked - and all the ones by artists I wanted to know more about - plus their caption labels - and uploaded them all to Flickr. You'll note that some photos are taken at slightly funny angles - this is done largely to avoid glare or reflections.

What I found when I got my photographs home is that you can see so much more - just as you can when visiting a museum in terms of how an artist makes marks with for example a brush. Here, for example of the artist's eye from one of the self-portraits done by Vincent van Gogh. You just can't pick that up from good reproductions in books.

You can see my Flickr set here - makingamark2 - Musee d'Orsay.

I'm making them public as I get them labelled - I'm doing it in batches and I think I'm about a third of the way through (inbetween writing lots of words about nutty planning policies!).

If you like, you can subscribe to this feed and this will enable you to receive periodic updates as I convert works to being public with titles. (I think you choose the frequency - I get mine weekly)

You can also use camcorders. I took mine and this is a video of the Degas bronzes on Flickr.

Musée d'Orsay - the building


The building was originally a railway station the Gare d'Orsay which was built for the Universal Exhibition in 1900. The museum is in this building because the trains got too long for its platforms. It closed in 1937 and was empty for a very long time. Obviously there were other priorities for a period of time. Latterly the outcry over the destruction of Les Halles in 1971 meant that it was saved from demolition threats - and there was a lobby to preserve this landmark building. It opened as a museum in 1986.This is the museum floor plan. The location of artworks is updated every morning, before the Museum opens, based on information from the previous evening.

Musée d'Orsay - the views

One of the things I really like about the Musée d'Orsay is the way you can get out on to the roof terrace next to the cafe which is at the top of the building. For some reason the door was locked on my last visit. As it was this time until somebody realised that it was actually a very warm day and maybe people would enjoy being outside. So they opened the doors to the terrace - at which point about half the care got up and walked outside!

I did my very first sketch in Paris on that terrace several years ago! It has the most stunning views of Montmatre and Sacre Couer.

Musée d'Orsay - Resources for Art Lovers


I've set up a site to record all the links about the Museum and you can find it here - although it's still early days! Musée d'Orsay - Resources for Art Lovers

The museum also has a range of information sheets:

Making a Mark reviews......

Sunday, October 25, 2009

25th October 2009 - Who's made a mark this week?


Britanny sketches: Ebb tide and Rocky Shore, Golfe de Morbihan,
coyright Laura Frankstone (Laurelines)

I wasn't the only person visiting France and sketching in recent weeks. Laura Frankstone of Laurelines has been posting more of her delightful Britanny sketches - some of which you can see above and more of which you can see in:
Carnac Standing Stones
coyright Laura Frankstone (Laurelines)

We did try to see whether we could meet up and I think we got within 30 km - but we were driving south to the Loire as Laura was returning to her cottage with husband and friends who'd flown in.

However Laura earlier had the company of Casey Touissaint (Rue Manual Bis) who posted about In Brittany with Laura.

Artists and art blogs

I came across three sites which were new to me last week
I was fifty years old before I actually began to paint full-time, but drawing was part of my life since childhood. I spent much more time in school sketching in the margins of my papers than taking notes
  • I've discovered that Kitty Wallis (pastel artist / owner of Wallis Paper) now has a blog - called Kitty Wallis - but ti's very early days. How about lending some encouragement? I'd certainly like to see more of Kitty's very fine pastel work.
  • I also came across botanical artist Mindy Lighthipe's website - she works in a similar way to Maria Sibylla Merian with an emphasis on drawing the insects together with planst and flowers
While old favourites were also blogging about diverse topics
and I'm still posting about my trip to France - but fewer postrs last week for two reasons. First my time has been hijacked by trying to protest about my local Council's plans to ruin my local neighbourhood - so fewer than I had hoped. Second I needed to learn how to make a video! Which I did - you can now follow me on my You Tube channel as I work my way through my camcorder memories!


Petit déjeuner @ Dolce e Amaro
8" x 10" in Moleskine - while sat having breakfast
copyright Katherine Tyrrell
Plus this is where I was last Sunday morning - Columbia Road Market on a Sunday morning

Note also that Urban Sketchers member Steven White has started a weekly sketching challenge in our flickr group. This week the challenge was trees.

Art photography

I had a couple of items about photography this week. I keep wanting to learn more and more about photography.........
Art business and marketing

After my comments about the availability of free information about marketing your art last week I thought it might be instructive to go looking for some more sites which also offer free information of the reputable variety - and it was! You can subscribe to both of the sites identified below for free to get articles like these.
  • I've got a lot of time for Art Calendar. Could be because they asked my view and quoted me once in an article! However I do like the way they share articles from their journal for free. You can get access to the full version of some of their recent articles on their website. Here are some examples:
It is entirely possible for you to sell your art in this marketplace even in this current climate, as long as you understand luxe buyers and their behavioral patterns, and can then develop and implement a marketing plan geared toward this audience.
Art competitions
Art exhibitions, galleries and museums
  • I made my first video this week and the second one is in this post Monet's Nympheas in the Musée de l'Orangerie. I'm planning a series of posts about the art museums I visited in Paris
  • The Sacred Made Real (21 October 2009 – 24 January 2010) exhibition opened last week at the National Gallery. It explores the intense dialogue between the arts of sculpture and painting - in realtion to relgious art - revealing that they were both intricately linked and Interdependent and a particular focus on hyperrealism
Paintings, including masterpieces by Diego Velázquez and Francisco de Zurbarán, are displayed for the very first time alongside Spain’s remarkable polychrome woodden sculptures
This prestigious competition aims to encourage the use of watercolour and water based media paintings among both contemporary artists and the public. A selection of works from the exhibition is on tour until the end of the year.
  • You can see fellow Watermarks blogger Tina Mammoser's work On the walls, in Blackheath at the Blackheath Gallery in Tranquil Vale (I've always loved that street name!)
  • Meanwhile I came across a bit of a different perspective on Damien Hirst's latest exhibition in Michael Savage (Culture Wars). In A tragic aspiration to cool he suggests that its the people at the Wallace Collection who should be criticised for allowing such bad paintings site alongside some real greats.

    In fact, Hirst’s paintings are shockingly bad. They are crudely painted, shallowly conceived, derivative and trite. They are pastiches of Francis Bacon, hewing close to the original but with none of the panache. But they are not only poorly crafted. The symbolism is laughably shallow – a skull and an ashtray, for example. Oh my gosh – I get it, smoking and death, that’s soooo clever…

Opinion Polls
Websites and blogging
  • The Definitive Guide to Semantic Web Markup for Blogs - was written two years and is mostly about wordpress blog themes. However it looks like it's still a good read for those who want to check out if their blog is behaving properly in delivering the goods to search engines. What do people with wordpress blogs think?
  • Social Media: The Need For Measurement is about what happens when people confuse the medium with the message and start using a communications channel without first deciding what they are going to do with it. Lots of great free tips and pointers.
The fist step should be to ask "why"? The same question applies to any marketing campaign, be it search marketing, radio, television, or anything else. Why does this website exist? Why am I doing this and what result am I trying to achieve?

Is it to boost traffic? Is it to make more money? Is it to cut costs in other marketing activities by replacing one with another? Is it to grow the RSS subscriber base? Get more links? Grow the mail list? A combination of all these things? And how do these relate back to the purpose of the site?

and finally......Just in case you missed the announcement on Friday and the very yellow image in both blog post and in my side column. :D

I got a very welcome email on Friday telling me that Making A Mark has been officially rated #4 in Top 25 UK Arts & Culture Blog.

When I finally got over the shock of having beaten the blogs of the Guardian, the Independent and the Daily Telegraph, I began to realise that quite a few of the other blogs are team blogs and what look like paid enterprises.

So I'm feelin even more cockahoop! It really does feel like Making A Mark - which is just me - has very definitely made a mark!

Many thanks to all my blog readers who left very nice comments on this blog post.


Making a Mark reviews......

Friday, October 23, 2009

MAM #4 in Top 25 UK Arts & Culture Blogs

I knew my blog was doing well in terms of readership but I got a very pleasant surprise this morning to find that Making A Mark has been rated #4 in the Top 25 UK Art And Culture Blogs. It's even beaten the art blogs produced by the top national newspapers!!!

I was even more pleased when I realised that, unlike some I've seen, this listing has actually been produced by a team who've used proper research across a range of relevant criteria and then produced an algorithm for weighting them! The site behind the listing is Creativetourist.com. This is the website created by a very reputable organanisation - the Manchester Museums Consortium, which covers a group of nine museums and galleries in Manchester (more about this tomorrow as I've not come across their site before).

The top 25 UK Arts and Culture Blogs

You can find these listed below. You can read more about each of the art blogs and how the list was compiled in this blog post - The Top 25 UK Arts & Culture Blogs.

1. We Make Money Not Art
2. Feeling Listless
3. Things Magazine
4. Making a Mark
5. Jonathan Jones on Art (Guardian)
6. Frieze Blog
7. Charlotte Higgins (Guardian)
8. Saatchi Blogon
9. Amelia’s Magazine
10. Art of the Estate
11. Culture Wars
12. Telegraph culture blog
13. UK Street Art
14. Madam Miaow Says
15. Art in Liverpool Blog
16. Follow the Yellow Brick Road
17. Artsy
18. The FACT Blog
19. Art Sleuth
20. Arts Blogs: The Independent
21. Art & Things
22. Where’s Runnicles?
23. Culture Vulture
24. View from the South Bank
25. Intelligent Naivety

I know a lot of these blogs and consult some of them on a very regular basis - but some are new to me and I'm certainly going to be checking these all out in the near future. You might like to do likewise! :)

In the meantime I think I'm just going to sit here with a big mug of tea and get over the shock!


Making a Mark reviews......

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Monet's Nympheas in the Musée de l'Orangerie

On our first day in Paris we visited the Musée de l'Orangerie to see Monet's final Nympheas - known as The Grand Decorations. I wrote about these two years ago Gardens in Art: Monet's final Nympheas as part of my Gardens in Art blog project.

The Two Willows by Claude Monet
200 x 1275 cm (three panels - 200 x 425 cm)
Salle 2, Musée de l'Orangerie, Paris
copyright Katherine Tyrrell

The Clouds by Claude Monet
200 x 1275 cm, (three adjoining panels 200 x 425 cm)
Salle 1, Musée de l'Orangerie, Paris
photo copyright Katherine Tyrrell

Note the scale of these works!

I'm created a YouTube slideshow of photos which shows you both the scale and the detail of the paintings - and how loose and painterly his technique is. Plus you can see all the photographs I took of all Monet's waterlilly paintings in L'Orangerie - Monet's Nympheas (which also has a slideshow facility)

I've also uploaded a video to YouTube which give you an impression of what it's like to visit them in the two rooms - you can view seven of Monet's eight paintings of waterlillies in high quality video here (click the little HQ button to see the High Quality version). It's split between Salle 1 and Salle 2. I have to say that I'm really glad that the first time I saw them was very early on a Saturday morning just after the museum had opened - and there were very few people there.

The video also gives you a clear sense of what a simply massive project this was. Prior to the Impressionists, artists who were accorded the highest regard included ones who painted large murals for grand buildings. Much as Michelangelo used to do for the Pope! Maybe this was Monet's way of saying he ranked alongside the greats of the past. It made me think that maybe David Hockney has been thinking along the same lines of late with the huge paintings he has been producing.

I'll be writing more later on about the Musée de l'Orangerie and about a book I bought about Monet's Nympheas - which was bedtime reading while in Paris. The post on my sketchbook blog about the day I visited the Orangerie will follow later today

PS That was my very first video upload - I'm still sure I must have done something wrong! I'm not too sure why it's taken me so long to get round to getting a decent camcorder and starting to create videos!

Links:

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Exhibition Review: Beatles to Bowie - 60s exposed

National Portrait Gallery - Beatles to Bowie website
The Beatles, 1964 by Robert Whitaker
Robert Whitaker Archive © Robert Whitaker (Used with permission)

Last Thursday a major new photographic exhibition Beatles to Bowies: The 60s exposed opened at the National Portrait Gallery and runs until 24 January 2010 before going on tour to Newcastle and Norwich. It includes 150 photographs of the 1960s including rare portraits of The Beatles, David Bowie, Jimi Hendrix and The Rolling Stones. Over 100 of them are being exhibited for the first time.
Beatles to Bowie: the 60s exposed will illustrate how image, music, fashion and performance combined to make these musicians the leading icons of their time and London the world's most important cultural capital.
Pink Floyd, 1967 by Vic Singh
© Vic Singh (used with permission)

I went to see the exhibition on Friday evening (which is late night opening). I was brought up short when reminded that 1st January next year marks the 50th anniversary of the start of the sixties. However I didn't object in the least to being reminded of images of people who were an important part of my youth.

Here's a few of my mental notes of what stood out for me
  • some stunning large images by David Bailey on the back wall - technically perfect with a huge aesthetic impact as well. It made me realise why people have had such a high regard for Bailey.
  • the exhibition includes the actual proof sheet of the film which includes the famous 1963 photograph of The Beatles leaping into the air for the cover of their Twist and Shout EP is also featured in the show. There it is with a red line cropping in to get the famous image
  • 10 showcases of 150 items - displaying the graphical art and photography used for record sleeves for albums and singles - plus illustrated sheet music, advertisements, flyers and magazine covers. I was instantly transported back to being a teenager in the 60s when I spotted a Petticoat front cover!
  • a Pop meets Fashion section - including photographs of Mary Quant and all the other famous designers of the sixties. There's also a display of dresses by Mary Quant, Ossie Clark and Biba(?) on Adel Rootstein mannequins which were designed to look like Sandie Shaw, Twiggy and somebody else whose name I forget. Interestingly the Mary Quant design seems to have stood the test of time.
  • Pete Townsend looking very respectable in a very well cut and tailored clothes in a photo of The Who!
  • I was a fan of Scott Walker so paid particular attention to that photograph!
David Bowie, 1966
by David Wedgbury
National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

I think anybody who lived through the 60s in the UK will remember quite a few of the photographs very well indeed - I know I spotted a significant number which were familiar to me. It was a revelation to see some of them as photographs rather than album sleeves! There's also a quite a few "Oh - I remember him/her!" moments to be had for the lesser known singers and musicians!

A range of photographers are involved with the exhibition from people I hadn't heard of then or since through to some very famous photographers.

The exhibition website has tabs for each year of the sixties. This part of the site is very short on images - but provides a good overview of what happened in each year.

Miffed by how few images there were I started to look a bit further and finally found a link to the commercial part of the site which is selling prints of photographs. Not the limited editions ones by David Bailey I might add! However, for those unable to visit, it gives you a much better impression of the sort of images which are in the exhibition. Plus if one of the images takes you back to your youth - such as an early image of Eric Patrick Clapton (who knew?) you might even want to order a print!

Links:

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

MAM Poll: What has influenced your style of art?

How did you develop your own individual and unique style of art?

If you read my analysis of the MAM Poll (September) Results: Preferred style of art then you'll know that I commented on whether I should have started with the question 'what is style?' Subsequently it occurred to me that it would be interesting to test out how we think we've arrived at our own individual styles of art.

So - seeing as how there's less than two weeks left in October I though I might have a quick poll for October to find out .............

What has influenced your style?

You may select multiple responses and can choose one or more of the following options:
  • I'm influenced by my culture
  • I'm Influenced by past art movements
  • I'm influenced by teachers
  • my preferred way of working
  • my preferred way of making marks
  • what's possible with the media I use
  • finding the right genre for me
  • You either have it or you don't!
  • I've not yet got an individual style
Un atelier aux Batignolles (1870) by Henri Fantin-Latour (1836-1904)
(a picture of Manet surrounded by his peers including Zola, Renoir, Monet and Bazille)
photo by Katherine Tyrrell

Do please feel free to comment on:
  • what you think influences style and/or
  • whether it's the same process for everybody and/or
  • how you developed your style and/or
  • whether your style has developed over time
  • whether it's 'in the genetics' or a product of persistence and hard work
Where is the poll? You'll find the poll in the right hand column in the usual place - just below the Blogger Followers widget.

Deadline for responses: The poll closes early on 31st October. The analysis of results will be posted late the same day.

Links:

Monday, October 19, 2009

Landscape photographer of the year 2009

I've often felt that landscape photographers have a lot to teach us all about how to frame a view and how to treat lighting and colour within an overall composition. I've been so convinced of this I even started buying books by people like Charlie Waite.

See if you can work out what are the key characteristics of the winning photographs in Take a View - the competition for Landscape Photographer of the year. You can take a look at them in:
You can also see the winning photographs in an exhibition in the Lyttleton Exhibition of the National Theatre between 5 December and 24 January 2010.

Sunrise over the Old Man of Storr, Isle of Skye
by Emmanuel Coupe: Landscape Photographer of the Year 2009 – Overall winner

copyright Emmanual Coupe

You can also see more stunning photographs by overall winner Emmanual Coupe on his smugmug website. Note he also does workshops which focus on the fundamentals of aesthetics and composition. You canslo read an interview with him here.

The website for the competition provides some useful hints and tips - many of which are just as applicable to artists composing landscape paintings. There were also some more Tips and hints for getting a good landscape in the Times Online

What was also interesting was the categories they chose for the landscape photographs:
  • the classic view - an image that captures the beauty and variety of the UK landscape.
  • Living the view - a category for images of people interacting with the outdoors – working or playing in the UK landscape.
  • Your view - Pretty much anything goes, as long as it is in the UK and in the outdoors.
  • Phone view - which seems to be shorthand for spontaneity and capturing the unexpected
Over to you:
  • How do you categorise your landscapes?
  • What are your tips for achieving an effective composition and an overall aesthetic effect?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

18th October 2009 - Who's made a mark this week?

James Gurney has made his mark in the illustration world and currently is a top listed author on Amazon. I'm very pleased this week to feature his new book Imaginative Realism: How to Paint What Doesn't Exist.

I'm maybe a little bit late but that's because I was away when it arrived on his blog - see Special Delivery!

Front cover of the Imaginative Realism

I asked James how the book has been received to date by the buying public and this is what he told me - many congratulations James!
I'm happy to report that, according to U.S. Amazon, Imaginative Realism is the #1 bestselling art instruction book. We're thrilled. Jeanette and I have been visiting a lot of art schools on the west coast of the U.S., and what's struck us is how most of the art students are interested in fantasy and science fiction, more so than ever before, and they seem to be looking for books that address working from the imagination.
I have news for James. According to what I saw on Amazon it's actually...........

Popular in these categories: (What's this?)

#1 in Books > Arts & Photography > Schools, Periods & Styles > Realism
#1 in Books > Arts & Photography > Schools, Periods & Styles > Neoclassical
#1 in Books > Arts & Photography > Painting
Here are some of photos that James sent me of what was involved in producing the front cover of the book (I love the little zipper on his hat - it's the details which make it believable!). Now - how many of us make maquettes of what we want to paint? And paint the maquettes before we paint the painting? It certainly gave me pause for thought about some figurative work I have in my head - although not quite as fantastical and imaginative as the work James excels at.


James Gurney - in the process of producing the front cover of Imaginative Realism

I also know his blog Gurney Journey is one of the most helpful I know for providing information which is helpful to all artists - whether or not you're interested in fantasy art. Just as an example, check out his very many posts about composition. Which means you don't have to be interested in fantasy art to buy his book. You can read an example on his blog Eye Tracking and Composition, Part 3

If you want to know what the book covers right click on the contents page on the right and open it in a new tab and you'll see a much bigger version.

If you'd like to meet James you can check out the dates of his future guest appearances on his blog - see the left hand column. If you're a big fan of James, live in the USA and would like a personally signed copy of his new book you can have one if you order from his website. If you live in the UK like me then we have to wait to get a copy until after 29th October when it publishes in the UK. I'll be doing a review on Making A Mark reviews...... - meanwhile if you've already got a copy - like Nicole Caulfield - why not write your own review?

Postscript - James Gurney is the only blogger I know with his very own wikipedia entry!

Art Blogs


I've only been back at my desk and in front of my computer since Wednesday (blame the cats who needed a drop off/pick up service from their extended holiday away from London!) so this week 'who's made a mark this week?' is shorter than usual.

Drawing and sketching

Sketches of English tourists and spanish food in Paris!
copyright Katherine Tyrrell

Art Business and Marketing

  • On Making a Mark reviews..... I highlighted the fact that - as from 1st December 2009 - there are New Federal rules for product reviews/endorsements by bloggers
  • Marion Boddy Evans over at painting.about.com wrote about Crunching the Artistic Numbers
  • Art Biz Blog has two useful articles on
  • Tony Moffitt's blog - with free information for those wanting to sell their art - is no more - and I've removed it from my blogroll. I'm very puzzled by the way it all came to an end - with all the blog posts removed and what was IMO a poorly worded post saying the blog is now dead. However all the information is now available on a new site where you can access it if you pay for it. It's upset some people. There's certainly nothing wrong with trying to make some money but I'm not sure this approach is the best way. Plus I absolutely disgree with the notion that people don't value information simply because it's free! That's certainly not the feedback I get from very many of the readers of this blog and I guess others may well think likewise. For others providing FREE information about how to sell art - as well as some paid services - please refer to the Art Career, Art Business & the Art Economy section of the blogroll on the right. For others providing free information about making art check out the very many blogs which get mentioned in this post each Sunday and have a place in my blogroll.

Art Economy

In the past year, according to Art Market Research, contemporary art prices have dropped by 63%.
  • The Guardian has an article this week about When the bottom fell out of the art market. I found its messages hopeful in part - definitely worth a read.
  • In the meantime, a year ago Damien Hirst had a very successful multimillion pound auction the day after Lehman Brothers went bust. This year the recently published Art power list has relegated Damien Hirst from the top of the art world’s power list to a modest 48th.

Art Competitions and Art Societies

Art Education / Workshops / Tips and techniques

Art exhibitions and fairs

This week we may have witnessed one of the pivotal moments in the history of art. Not only has Damien Hirst, arguably the richest and most powerful artist in history, received the critical pasting of his life, but there's a sense that our whole perception of what art is, or should be, may have subtly – or not so subtly – shifted. (Daily Telegraph)

The results of Hirst's experiment with actual artistry aren't encouraging. Twenty-five canvases installed in two galleries rearrange his morbid fetishes, wearily shuffling a pack of greasy, dog-eared cards. (The Guardian)
  • David Hockney has an exhibition opening in New York and the New York Times has an article about him and landscape paintings of East Yorkshire - see New York Times - Hockney’s Long Road Home. Hockney is exhibiting 28 recent landscape paintings of Yorkshire at PaceWildenstein in a two-venue exhibition. This is Hockney’s first exhibition of new paintings in New York in over 12 years. The show features including 14 new works that have never before been exhibited, as well as 14 from the recent exhibition in Germany. David Hockney: Recent Paintings opens at 32 East 57th Street on October 23 and at 534 West 25th Street on October 29, and will be on view through December 24, 2009. The public is invited to attend an opening reception on Thursday, October 29 from 6-8 p.m. at 534 West 25th Street.
  • Frieze Art Fair finishes today and is open to the public whereas Zoo continues until the 19th. I'm afraid I tend to associate Frieze as being about a 'see-and-be-seen' mentality and all that is less than wonderful and exploitative about the contemporary art scene in London.
everyone is cruising at the fair – for the art, the gossip, a glimpse of the celebs and the super-rich.

Colour


Opinion Poll


I posted the results yesterday for the September poll in MAM Poll (September) Results: Preferred style of art. I was intrigued by the result. What did you think?

Websites, webware and blogging

  • Very few artists have ever been able to support themselves purely from their art. Many also favour teaching as a way of generating income and the digital age has caused a number to review how they deliver their tuition. I'm currently keeping an eye on the debates about how you get people to pay for online content - which is largely focusing on news but has messages which are relevant for those selling instructional content. My old consultancy firm KPMG has done a survey which reports that Consumers still favour traditional media - but for how long?
  • Twitter has been misbehaving - see Twitter - Be careful. However on a more positive note Twitter cracks down on spam through the introduction of a spam button.
  • Thank you to Matt Cutts for alerting me to the blog associated with a new O'Reilly book. Reputation Wednesday is an ongoing series of essays about reputation-related matters. Some techie stuff about systems which will be of interest to a limited number of readers.

and finally......


Another book - or rather two books. I got my hands on a personally signed copy of two new books by Maggie Stiefvater - who many of you will remember from when she was being an artist by day so she could be an author once a week. Shiver was released in the UK at the beginning of the week and is already #7 in the Amazon charts for her genre. I've also got a copy of Ballad: A Gathering of Faerie which gets published here on 1st November and is the follow up to Lament: The Faerie Queen's Deception.

Plus the best bit for me was that, after five years of corresponding online, I finally got to meet up this week with Maggie and her husband Ed in the middle of her incredibly frenetic book tour of the UK associated with the book launch.

The moral of this story? If you want to write an book - of the art instruction or any other variety - make sure you have a very popular blog and are are prepared to engage in lots of marketing activity in all sorts of places! The achievements of both James and Maggie are both examples of what can be achieved if you do!

Making a Mark reviews......

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