Friday, April 30, 2010

What types of art book do you like best? (MAM Poll Results)


The April Making A Mark Poll looked at What types of art book do you like best?  

The headline results (below) completely contradict the direction art instruction publishers have been taking of late - towards 'dumbing down' and ever simpler books for beginners with lots of pictures and very little text. 

Right click the image to open a larger version of the chart.

Of the people who responded to this poll:
  • over 90% emphatically do NOT want books for beginners!  Less than 10% wanted books about basic principles or step by step basic books
  • over half of you (53%) want 'how to' books which target the 'advanced' level of artist
  • just under half of you (47%) like 'how to' books which address a specific topic
  • over half of you (53%) like books about an artist
  • around a quarter of you collect exhibition catalogues
In other words the 74 people who provided 229 responses to the poll on this blog are artists who have moved quite a long way beyond first base, who want to improve their art but who look to the art and practice of other artists and advanced level instruction to do so.

You also like on average about three different types of art books!  It's clear you read art history books and collect exhibition catalogues just as much as you seek out the type of art instruction you favour.  That to me speaks of people who appreciate that there is much to learn from the practices of other artists in both the past and the present.  I expect you all probably go to a fair few exhibitions too!

Commentary on this poll

To my mind, these poll results amplify the very many comments you've made on this blog whenever I've written about art books in the past.  You have identified a lack of new books which adequately address your book buying preferences.  Again and again in the past you've commented on the lack of adequate instruction for advanced artists.

In my experience, I've noted that the very best in the advanced books tend to have quite a bit of text as well as excellent quality images - in complete contrast to the 'dumbed down' books which publishers plead is "what the market wants".

I'd suggest that what this poll indicates is that there is a market for books which place an emphasis on good quality in-depth information and are written for an intelligent and experienced audience.

I've personally found that my book buying and reading habits have completely changed in the last year.  I've now found an excellent source for library books, I've started exploring digital versions of old art books and I've started buying used books - as the quality of books published in the past often far exceeds the majority of current offerings.  It's also clear that when somebody does produce a book which is very specialised and provides good content to an advanced level that it will sell very well.
Consider for example James Gurney's book Imaginative Realism: How to Paint What Doesn't Exist.  On publication it became the #1 art instruction book on Amazon - and yet its structure and content was devised by its author and it is not published by one of the major art publishing houses.  Sometimes the artist/teacher/author does KNOW what's needed!
Resources for Artists

For those wanting to review the selections of art books that I've created in my 'resources for artists' series you may want to bookmark these sites which are updated on a regular basis.  They include: art instruction books, art history books and exhibition catalogues.
More Making A Mark Opinion Polls

You can find more Making A Mark Polls

The next post will be a new Making A Mark opinion Poll for May. 

    Thursday, April 29, 2010

    Exhibition: RI Painters in Watercolour

     Paintings of the Hebrides by Bob Rudd RI
    winner of the Turner Watercolour Prize for 'Skye from Arisaig' (top left)

    The 198th Annual Exhibition of the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours opened last week and continues at the Mall Galleries until 1st May.

    I went earlier this week and I have to say it was a real tonic!  I don't normally indulge in comparisons but to my mind it was much better than the recent Spring Show by the Royal Watercolour Society.  The latter looks at times as if it's trying to too hard to be a contemporary gallery located right next to Tate Modern rather than playing to its strengths of focusing on a medium which many people really like

    The features of this particular exhibition by the RI which I most liked were as follows:
    • this was not a 'play it safe in the recession' exhibition of the kind I've seen of late.  There was a good mix of work of different sizes and lots of good big works with real impact.
    • lots of work with really great colour - it really lifts the senses walking round.  I had a smile on my face much of the time!
    • the framing on most of the works really helped with the overall impression.  Neutral or white frames really helped work bounce off the walls
    • an exhibition by a watercolour society with lots of variety in the styles of watercolour painting on display
    • pure watercolours that looked like watercolours!  In other words artists who were exploiting the using watercolour paints to achieve the different effects which are possible.  It's not an exhibition which has become swamped by acrylics to the detriment of pure watercolour.
    • Using the Small North Room to display small paintings worked very well as they were not swamped by the larger paintings
    The proof of course is 'in the pudding' and there were LOTS of red spots on the walls and I gather business has been brisk all week.  Thwere certainly a lot of visitors there when I was there.

    I'm sorry I'm writing this with only two days left to see it - but if you have a chance do try and get to the Mall Galleries.  If you don't and you love watercolours I suggest you make a date for next year.  Plus if you enjoy painting watercolours why not try entering next year's exhibition.  This is how to exhibit with the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours.

    TIP:  For the record, those who were candidates for admission as member had produced good quality suites of paintings generally on a theme.  These typically showed a strong unity of style across the suite and it struck me that most were representative of the type of subjects that each candidate prefers to paint

    examples of paintings by candidates for RI membership

    Now for who won what!

    The most stunning set of paintings were Bob Rudd's paintings of the Hebrides (see top) which were amazing.  One of them won The Turner Award and was very well deserved.

     Wardrobe by Alice Hall

    Alice Hall won the Winsor & Newton Young Artist Prize with her painting of Wardrobe.  What a brilliant way of painting a self-portrait!  Plus I admire the confidence to not even try and tidy up! ;)  Alice graduated in Fine Art from The University of Newcastle Upon Tyne in 2007.

    The Anthony J Lester award went to Chris Myers RI, RBA for Snowed In

    Snowed In by Chris Myers RI RBA


    The Frank Herrings & Son Easel awards went to David P Williams for Eggingham before the snow

    Eggingham before the snow by David P Williams

    Terry McGivrigan RI won the Arts Club Award for Kensington Scenography.  He paintings using acrylics in the studio working from sketches which are generally done in watercolour. I really like his work.


    Kevin Hughes RI won the Buzzacott Award for his watercolour painting of Heckwood Quarry, Dartmoor


    As ever I liked I loved Colin Allbrooks very landscapes with very subtle coloured 'mouse' colours
      paintings by Colin Allbrook 

      Sofia Perina-Miller's large painting of Sunflowers was very exuberant Sofia was born in Leningrad and moved to Scotland in 2000 and has been very inspired by the floral art of Charles Rennie MacIntosh

      paintings by various artists in North Gallery

      Anna Dudley Neill RI's technique was very curious and resulted in me having my nose up close to her paintings trying to work out how she was making marks

      Anne McCormack's figurative paintings in a sketchy style of acrylic were most attractive

      Wednesday, April 28, 2010

      BP Portrait Award 2010 - Shortlist announced

      The National Portrait Gallery has announced a record number of entries for the 2010 BP Portrait Award which has enormous international prestige as well as a £25,000 first prize.

      The Portrait Award aims to encourage artists to focus upon, and develop, the theme of painted portraiture within their work - and has been doing so very successfully for the last 31 years.

      This year 58 portraits have been selected from the 2,177 entries in this 31st year of the award. International artists aged 18 and over submitted their work for a major exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery which runs from 24 June until 19 September 2010.

      There were 276 more entries than last year making this a record year for entries.

      The Annual Exhibition for the BP Portrait Award is one of the Top 10 Art Exhibitions in the UK and has helped the National Portrait Gallery to rank as the 17th most popular art museum in the world in 2oo9

      The 2010 BP Portrait Award Shortlist

      The three artists shortlisted for the 2010 award are:
      Below you can find the bios and narratives about the artists supplied by the National Portrait Gallery.

      The birthdates after their name are relevant to the BP Young Artist Award of £4,000 for the work of an entrant aged between 18 and 30. None are eligible - which means it's going to be one of the other 55!

      It's great to see a really excellent portrait of somebody of African heritage. I've got a high res image of this and this painting in egg tempera is meticulous and very fine.

      The portrait of Daphne Todd's mother is shocking at one level and yet there is a long tradition of creating images of people on their death beds and this one carries huge emotional intensity.

      It's difficult to call at the moment, without seeing the portraits in person, but my guess is that the award will go to either Michael Gaskell who placed second last year and has been shortlisted prior to this or Daphne Todd, former first female President of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters.

      David Eichenberg (21.03.72) for Tim II.

      Tim II 2009 by David Eichenberg
      Oil on Panel
      13.25" x 12.75"(without frame)
      21.25" x 20.75" (with frame)

      Copyright: © David Eichenberg
      David Eichenberg studied art at the University of Toledo in his home town. While he has exhibited throughout the United States, this is his first BP exhibited work. His portrait shows his friend, the sculptor Timothy A. Stover, seated at a metal bandsaw in the fabrication shop in which he works, located directly below the artist's studio in an old warehouse in Toledo, Ohio. The artist wanted the painting to read like a work by Holbein, where every item in the portrait represents an aspect of the sitter such as the highlighted shape on the wall representing a map of Ohio, where Tim was born and living at the time of the sitting.
      Michael Gaskell (18.08. 63) for Harry

      Harry by Michael Gaskell
      egg tempera
      Copyright: © Michael Gaskell
      Gaskell, who has exhibited throughout Britain and was second prize winner at last year's BP Portrait Award is an artist from Sheffield, recently relocated to Leicester, who only got to know his sitter, Harry, when he agreed to sit for him. Having seen the sitter whilst he was out shopping with his family, Michael was persuaded to approach him by his wife. In the resulting portrait which was completed in a short burst of intense work over the winter of 2009-10, Gaskell tried to evoke a sense of what had drawn him to Harry, but he hopes that the image is also informed by what he gained from hearing about the sitter's experiences and aspirations.
      Daphne Todd (27.03. 47) for Last portrait of Mother.

      Last portrait of mother by Daphne Todd
      Copyright: © Daphne Todd
      Daphne Todd, from East Sussex, has been selected for the BP Portrait Award exhibition for the third time. This is her first BP shortlisted portrait (though she won 2nd prize in the Gallery's Portrait Award in 1984.) She attended the Slade School of Fine Art and was the first woman president of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters. She has chosen to portray her mother Annie Mary Todd on her death bed and thereby to create a devotional study. Daphne says her mother, who had just celebrated her 100th birthday having lived with the artist for her last 14 years, had given permission for her daughter to paint her.
      Judges and Prizes

      This year's panel of judges made the selection from the original paintings submitted for the competition. The judges were:
      • Sandy Nairne, Director, National Portrait Gallery, London (Chair)
      • Sir David Scholey CBE, Senior Adviser, UBS Investment Bank and former Trustee of the National Portrait Gallery, London
      • Ishbel Myerscough, artist and 1995 First Prize winner of the BP Portrait Award
      • Christine Rew, Art Gallery & Museums Manager, Education, Culture & Sport, Aberdeen City Council
      • Sarah Howgate, Contemporary Curator, National Portrait Gallery, London
      • Des Violaris, Director, UK Arts and Culture, BP
      In addition to a prize of £25,000, the winner of the BP Portrait Award will receive a commission worth £4,000. The second prize will be £8,000 and third £6,000. For the fourth year there will be a BP Young Artist Award of £4,000 for the work of an entrant aged between 18 and 30. The award and the winners of the prizes will be announced on the evening of Tuesday 22 June.


      Note: BP PORTRAIT AWARD 2010 AND BP TRAVEL AWARD 2009
      • Wolfson Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, St Martin's Place, London, WC2H 0HE Admission free From 24 June until 19 September 2010
      • In 2010-11 the exhibition will tour to Usher Gallery, Lincoln, and Aberdeen Art Gallery.
      Links:

      Tuesday, April 27, 2010

      CPSA 18th Annual Exhibition: selected artists and work


      The Colored Pencil Society of America (CPSA) has published the list of artists and work selected for its 18th Annual International Exhibition at Los Gatos in California (22nd July 2010 - 20th August 2010).

      The Juror is entirely independent of the Society. This year the juror making the selection was Janet Bishop, Curator of Painting and Sculpture, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

      I can see a lot of familiar names, a number which I don't know - but will be checking out - and some well known names which are missing this year.

      However I'd like to offer my congratulations to all the artists selected this year as I know each and everyone will have worked hard to achieve their selection.

      Artists and work selected for the
      18th Annual exhibition of the Colored Pencil society of America


      First Name Last Name Title of Artwork State

      Teresa

      Allen

      Tropic Sun

      OR

      Bonnie

      Auten, CPSA

      Labino Tribute

      MI

      Cecile

      Baird, CPSA

      Any Way you Slice It

      OH

      Jeffrey

      Baisden, CPSA

      Cross Creek

      FL

      Carole

      Bardes

      Giant Lily Pads on the Amazon

      FL

      Melinda

      Beavers, CPSA

      Sleepy Bears

      NM

      Holly

      Bedrosian

      Quiet Moment

      NH

      Jody

      Beighley

      Not a Through Street

      WI

      Pamela

      Belcher, CPSA

      Water Totem

      WA

      Kathryn

      Belletire

      Shinwazerie

      IL

      David

      Billingsley

      Seattle Ambience

      OR

      Jeannette

      Buckley

      From Marcia's Garden

      FL

      Pamela

      Burroughs

      Hannah's Bug Box

      IN

      Susan

      Calderon

      Silicon

      GA

      Mikela

      Cameron

      Too Close

      CA

      Jennifer

      Carpenter, CPSA

      Glass Harvest

      VA

      Susan

      Casault

      Double Gaze

      Canada

      J.Y.

      Chang

      Ribbons of Color

      CA

      Karen

      Coleman, CPSA

      Cecropia Moth

      VA

      Valerie

      Coulman

      Once Upon A Time

      OR

      Susan

      D'Amico, CPSA

      Image

      OR

      Julie

      Douglas

      Himself

      Ireland

      Shawn

      Falchetti, CPSA

      Opaline Dreams

      PA

      Jenn

      Falcon

      All is Quiet

      MA

      David

      Fonseca

      107 Cubic Inches

      KS

      Joan

      Ganz

      Homage to the Lady Yang

      NY

      Lori

      Garner, CPSA

      Head Rush

      TX

      Mary

      Geissenhainer

      Orange Crush

      MD

      Joan

      Gelblat, CPSA

      After the Storms

      GA

      Jeff

      George, CPSA

      Greetings from El

      CA

      Carolyn

      Haas, CPSA

      The Redeye

      PA

      Betty

      Hafner

      6:19 PM

      MD

      Shinji

      Harada, CPSA

      Grape in Basket

      Japan

      Janice

      Hargrave

      Crossed Legs

      MO

      Betty

      Hendrix

      Pie in the Sky

      NC

      Suzanne

      Hunter, CPSA

      Putting Down Roots

      TX

      Cynthia

      Knox

      Flame

      NY

      Maryann

      Kot

      Red Pears with Crock

      AZ

      Betty

      Lehnus

      New Mexico Sky, November

      NM

      Heidi

      Lindberg, CPSA

      Lime Light

      WA

      Betty

      Love

      Lord of the Dance

      FL

      Linda

      Mahoney, CPSA

      In Search of Rousseau

      TX

      Deborah

      Maklowski

      What's Next?

      MD

      Katya

      Malkin

      Abby

      PA

      Teresa

      Mallen

      Neptune's Leaves

      Canada

      Karla

      Mann

      Mister Big

      VA

      Suzanne

      Marcil

      In a Purple Haze

      FL

      James

      Mateer, CPSA

      Rooftops of Aubeterre

      OH

      Cynthia

      Mazzaferro

      Raindrops and Itsy-Bitsy-Spider

      CT

      Jane

      McCreary, CPSA

      Harmony

      AZ

      Karen

      Merritt

      Red Tag Sale

      NE

      Sheila

      Minnich,CPSA

      I Think I'm Seeing Spots

      OK

      Gene

      Mlekoday, CPSA

      Loons and Lillypads

      MN

      Rose

      Moon, CPSA

      Come to My House

      AZ

      Cynthia

      Morris, CPSA

      Look on the Bright Side

      MO

      Kay

      Mowery

      Tormented but Triumphant

      NC

      Glenda

      Mullins

      Petunia Profusion

      OK

      Rhonda

      Nass, CPSA

      Illuminated Lupine

      WI

      Melissa Miller

      Nece, CPSA

      Sunset Rider

      FL

      Eileen

      Nistler, CPSA

      Riding the Fence

      WY

      Gretchen

      Parker, CPSA

      Sunshine Shadows

      SC

      Paula

      Parks, CPSA

      Hot Stuff

      WA

      Elizabeth

      Patterson, CPSA

      Ventura Boulevard at Laurel Canyon, 10pm

      CA

      Elizabeth

      Patterson

      Waiting

      ME

      Carol

      Pederson

      Thoughts of The Future, A Senior Portrait

      MN

      Paula

      Pertile

      Twix Mini

      CA

      Sue

      Porcaro

      Red & Green #2

      CT

      Laurene

      Puls, CPSA

      Trudging Turtle

      OH

      Henry

      Ransom

      Earth Elements: Mesa

      GA

      Joan E.

      Robertson, CPSA

      Birds of a Feather - Not

      IL

      Dean

      Rogers

      A Moment of Wonder

      MI

      Barbara

      Rogers, CPSA

      Windswept

      CA

      Ester

      Roi

      The Lightness of Being

      CA

      Helen

      Rowles

      Desert Bride

      AZ

      Nadine

      Saitlin

      Imagination at Play

      FL

      Catherine

      Sawner

      Vertigo Canyon

      AZ

      Sheila

      Scannelli, CPSA

      A Diamond in the Rough

      OH

      Lynda

      Schumacher, CPSA

      The Hand of Man

      MI

      Terry

      Sciko, CPSA

      He Sailed Off into the Sunset

      OH

      Carol

      Scott

      Crystal #3

      LA

      Patricia

      Scott, CPSA

      The Mills Are Gone

      MN

      Megan

      Seiter

      Confections

      CA

      Patricia

      Sharpe

      Friend

      TN

      Gail

      Shelton, CPSA

      A Wrinkle in Time

      LA

      Judith

      Shepelak, CPSA

      Lady on Display

      IL

      Bill

      Shoemaker

      Aw Shucks

      FL

      Jill

      Silver

      Goldens Bridge Ruler

      NC

      Lee

      Sims

      The Three Graces

      NY

      Holly

      Siniscal

      Dreadful

      NV

      David

      Smith, CPSA

      When Opportunity Calls

      CA

      John

      Smolko, CPSA

      Passion

      OH

      Dianna

      Soisson

      Caught Up in the Moment

      MI

      Eileen

      Sorg, CPSA

      Track 1

      WA

      Laura

      Sorrell

      Red Shift

      TN

      Shirley

      Stallings, CPSA

      Water Colors

      WA

      Arlene

      Steinberg, CPSA

      Needs Repair

      NY

      Yvonne

      Stemp

      Pretty Little Punk

      PA

      Sabyna

      Sterrett, CPSA

      Who Is James Parkinson?

      VA

      Jerri

      Strid

      Seeing Clearly

      CA

      Daren

      Sylvester

      Solitude on the Lake

      LA

      Nancy Wood

      Taber, CPSA

      Key to Opportunity

      NM

      Terry

      Tallis

      Peggy's Cove

      OR

      Robin

      Tewes

      Winter

      NY

      Lisa

      Thomas

      Heirlooms

      IL

      Wendy

      Thompson, CPSA

      Eye of Nasturtium

      OR

      John

      Tolomei

      In the Bathroom

      CA

      Brent

      Topping

      Baja Sunset

      CA

      Amy

      Turner

      Summoning The Ancestors

      IL

      Wendell

      Unzicker

      On the Road #2

      NM

      John

      Ursillo

      The Venture

      WA

      Paul

      Van Heest, CPSA

      Monkey Shines

      MI

      Sandra

      Vaughn

      At Cedar Bog

      OH

      Ranjini

      Venkatachari

      Primary Colors

      WA

      Al

      Vesselli

      Self-Portrait 2010

      NJ

      Dee

      Wagoner

      Deep

      OR

      Linda

      Ward

      Attitude IsEverything

      LA

      Cathy

      Ward, CPSA

      The Girl From Damon Texas

      TX

      Adam

      Welch

      Head On

      NM

      Helen Hogg

      West, CPSA

      Feed Me

      WA

      Sylvia

      Westgard, CPSA

      Minuet

      IL

      Scott

      Westgard

      Cumulus Clouds

      IL

      Faye

      Wilkins

      Johnny Rocket

      FL

      Kenneth

      Woodworth

      Reproduction

      CA

      Debra

      Yaun, CPSA

      My Garden Tapestry

      GA



      The exhibition is at the Art Museum of Los Gatos on the outskirts of San Jose, California. Its address is 4 Tait Avenue at W. Main Street, Los Gatos, CA 95030 (Google Map/Streetview) Tel: 408-354-2646 Open Wednesday through Sunday, 12:00 to 4:00 PM

      Monday, April 26, 2010

      Top 10 Art Exhibitions in the UK in 2009

      Earlier this month I wrote about the Top 30 art galleries and museums in 2009. It was based on an article in The Art Newspaper about attendances at art museums and art exhibitions. Most of the article in fact focuses on the exhibitions

      It ranks these according to the average number of visitors per day - which I have to confess I find to be a very curious way of ranking exhibitions. Surely if you know you've got a blockbuster then you'll try and fit in as many days as possible? More days = more people through the door = more income.

      However according to this method of ranking having more days means your exhibition will not rank as well as one with a smaller number of visitors held on fewer days.

      Which means I officially don't 'get it'.

      Here's some reasons why.
      • A successful exhibition for any museum these days has to be one which makes money as well as being intrinsically a 'good' exhibition from an artistic perspective.
      • The costs of a large exhibition will always tend to have astronomical fixed costs associated with transporting art to and fro irrespective of the length of the exhibition - unless the exhibition is largely based on a museum's own collection. Hence I would have thought (this is the professional accountant in me coming out) that any museum would want to maximise the revenue earning potential in order to offset those heavy fixed costs.
      To be honest I'm also not sure I totally believe all the figures submitted to the Art Newspaper. I do know which ones have staff with counters counting people into the exhibitions. However I've noticed others which are (shall we say) not as vigilant. Hence why I've raised an eyebrow or two over some of the results.

      I can well imagine there might be a few raised eyebrows around the Art Newspaper too - and amongst other visitors and museum management and exhibition organisers. Roll on the day when there is a common standard for counting and it's verifiable!

      The Art Newspaper/s article also provides top ten rankings for different types of exhibitions around the world.

      Top Exhibitions in the UK

      Two of the images from the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2009
      copyright the photographers

      The top 10 exhibitions in the UK in 2009 were according to the The Art Newspaper's methodology, the following
      1. Saatchi Gallery | The Revolution Continues: New Chinese Art
      2. Bristol City Museum & Art Gallery | Banksy vs Bristol Museum
      3. Saatchi Gallery | Unveiled: New Art from the Middle East
      4. Royal Academy of Arts | Anish Kapoor
      5. National Portrait Gallery | BP Portrait Award 2009
      6. National Portrait Gallery | Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2009
      7. Tate Modern | Rothko
      8. National Gallery | Corot to Monet - a fresh look at landscape from the collection
      9. Royal Academy of Arts | Byzantium 330-1453
      10. National Gallery | Picasso Prints: Challenging the Past
      Which means 9 were in London, of which 6 were hosted by 3 museums - the Saatchi Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery and the National Gallery.

      Which means that the #2 ranked Museum in the World (the British Museum) did not contribute a single exhibition to the top 10. (see Top 10 art galleries and museums around the world)

      However if you rework it according to actual visitor numbers then the list goes like this
      1. Saatchi Gallery | The Revolution Continues Unveiled
      2. Saatchi Gallery | New Art from the Middle East
      3. Royal Academy of Arts | Byzantium 330-1453
      4. Tate Modern | Rothko
      5. Bristol City Museum & Art Gallery | Banksy vs Bristol Museum
      6. National Portrait Gallery | BP Portrait Award 2009
      7. Royal Academy of Arts | Anish Kapoor
      8. National Portrait Gallery | Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize
      9. Tate Britain | Francis Bacon
      10. National Gallery | Picasso Prints: Challenging the Past
      In this listing the Tate does very much better but over two sites.

      Plus there's still an overwhelming amount of interest in art which does not come from the conventional western world.

      I must confess I was surprised by the performance of the National Portrait Gallery - but it's always packed with visitors so I guess I shouldn't be. Especially as it's one of my favourite museums.

      Sunday, April 25, 2010

      25th April 2010 - Who's made a mark this week?

      West Smithfield ( Smithfield market in background)
      11.5" x 17", pen and sepia ink and coloured pencils in Moleskine Sketchbook
      copyright Katherine Tyrrell

      The drawing above is from my sketching trip on Friday which is told in The Courtauld, Old Bank of England and West Smithfield. Now the weather has perked up I'm expecting to be able to get out and about and sketch for longer than I've been doing recently. (Mind you I'm not quite sure where the blue skies and 22 degrees forecast for today have gone - so far we've had an ash cloud sky and rain!

      Art Blogs

      Area Based Art Group Blogs

      These are blogs run by and for members of art groups which are associated with a particular area. More and more art groups are realising the sense of having a group blog which can promote the activities of individual members as well as the activities which they engage in as a group. It's the 2+2=6 equation. The more they do to promote the group and each other the more benefit there is for individual members.

      One such group is the the South London Women Artists Group and SLWA Showcase is their blog. It is used to highlight:

      • open studios
      • group and solo exhibitions in which individual members are participating
      • various activities of group members
      SLWA was launched at Dulwich Picture Gallery in June 2008 and has a growing community of talented artists and a highly successful on-line showcase at www.southlondonwomenartists.co.uk
      Thanks to Tina Mammoser and Susan Wood for highlighting the work of this group and the upcoming exhibition (see exhibitions listing below). Do also click the link and take a look at Susan's wonderful glass work.

      I just wish there was a similar group for those of us who live in North London!

      If you've got an area based art group blog why don't you let me know and I'll feature it in one of my Sunday posts.

      Botanical Art

      More posts about the Annual Exhibition of the Society of Botanical Artists which finishes today.

      I gave Flowers in Art - Resources for Artists a bit of revamp this week and it's now much better organised - and has added videos (with more to come). If you've not visited it before this site is aimed more at the artist who loves drawing and painting flowers but doesn't aspire to botanical accuracy (in the botanical art sense).

      Drawing and sketching
      Painters and Painting
      • Marc Hanson (Painting My Way Through Life) is repeating the exercise he undertook last year and is spending all of April painting the sping colours plein air in April 2009 Painting Marathon Redux. You need to review all his posts in April to see what has been happening.

      • Following on from last week's feature about Julian Merrow Smith's new book I remembered to go and look at his wife Ruth's blog (Meanwhile here in France...) to see what she's been writing about the big event. This is a lovely post with lots of pics called Location Location Location

      It is five years since our last painting and lunch day out at Sormiou, one of the calenques near Marseille. Then it was to celebrate the beginning of a project. Painting number 102 to be precise. Now it is to celebrate the launch of a book of that project. Painting number 1309.
      Art Business and Marketing

      Art Competitions and Art Societies


      Art competitions


      Two calls for entries on my blog this week:
      The artists selected for the BP Portrait Award will be announced tomorrow - and will be the subject of tomorrow's blog post. They of course already know who they are!

      Art Societies

      Art Exhibitions and art fairs


      Major exhibitions

      Other exhibitions
      Art Groups/Art Bloggers

      Below you can find details of some upcoming exhibitions by local groups of artists

      South London Women Artists @ the Bankside Gallery
      Nearly 100 artists will be showing work covering a range of media and genres that includes prints, painting, photography and sculpture.
      Tina Mammoser - South London Women Artists at the prestigious Bankside Gallery


      Art Education / workshops / Tips and techniques

      Art Education
      Workshops and courses

      Art Galleries and Museums

      • The Guardian has an article rrelating to the 10th anniversary of Tate Modern next month - Artists, critics and readers on 10 years of Tate Modern There are some very interesting questions and answers by Nicholas Serota with some answered better than others (as in no answer provided to the question asked!)
      The sheer scale of Tate Modern has been its triumph. Forty-five million visitors have now ventured through its cavern-like entrance to be confronted by the strange wonder of the Turbine Hall

      Art Supplies

      Book Reviews

      I had planned to get Ann Swan's book Botanical Portraits with Colored Pencils reviewed this week but a combination of the Planning Hearings and then feeling really tired after the Hearings finished left me without a lot of concentration. So it's coming up in the very near future - hopefuly next week

      Colour

      Two more posts from James Gurney about colour and lightfastness

      Copyright

      Four posts about copyright and the Digital Economy Act in the UK
      • Stop 43, the photographers campaign which stopped Clause 43 of the recent Digital Economy Bill from being enacted has three interesting posts last week
        • Gone, but not forgotten which is a rebuttal to the assertion by Timms that the government intends to reintroduce it in a new parliament. (Mind you, first they have to win the election which isn't exactly looking like a foregone conclusion at present!)
        • BAPLA, the aftermath, and the future which I found to be an absolutely fascinating and stimulating read about Big Culture and Big Media
        • Stop 32 have now produced a guide for all legislators (some of whom clearly demonstrated a need to be educated during the course of debate in Parliament) in On Digital
      Statements have been made by the Government to the effect that regulation of digital copyright is too complex for primary legislation, because too much remains unknown and powers must be granted in advance to regulate unpredictable future developments. This after more than four years of research and "consultation", starting with the Gowers Review in 2006 and continuing with the Lammy Review in 2009.

      That is a patronising and lazy attitude unworthy of the intellects who took part in Clause 43's gestation and drafting. The primary characteristics of digital data, digital media and digital networking have been widely known, well understood and straightforward to describe for nearly thirty years.
      • By way of contrast, according to the Guardian, Nick Clegg promises to repeal the Digital Economy Act. While clearly something needs to be introduced to legalise different aspects of the Digital economy it needs to be good law which has received proper debate as opposed to the very poor bill which was being rushed through at last knockings just over a week ago. Repeal followed by a decent Act would be a much better way forward.

      Opinion Poll

      Don't forget the opinion poll about What types of art book do you like best? - it's in the side column and will finish next Friday.

      A new poll will be posted on Saturday - suggestions for poll topics are most welcome.

      Websites, webware and blogging

      and finally........

      This is what design hell is like for website designers. Have you been guilty? I'm planning to post soon about Websites for Artists and usability criteria!

      Saturday, April 24, 2010

      Society of Botanical Artists 2010 Prizewinners

      This post highlights the botanical artists winning the various awards at the 2010 Annual Exhibition of the Society of Botanical Artists - which closes tomorrow.

      The banner for the Society of Botanical Artists Exhibition hanging outside Central Hall Westminster, with Westminster Abbey in the background.

      The Joyce Cuming Presentation Award

      This is a legacy award which this year went to Angela Stanford for a very large painting of an ornamental gourd.

      Cucurbita peo - Ornamental Gourd 1 (gouache) by Anglea Stanford

      The President's award for work in other media

      The President's cash prize for work in media other than watercolour was awarded to Alison Holt Assoc SBA for Chartreuse (freehand machine embroidery ob painted silk). She's an artist who is enormously talented in machine embroidery. I didn't realise at first that it was embroidery at all.

      The Margaret Stevens Award

      This award for an artist whose work reflects their concern for the environment is awarded in 2010 to Marta Chirino SBA GM for Aquatic Plants (a drawing in ink). This is a link to a one person exhibition she had in Madrid in 2009

      Aquatic Plants by Marta Chirino SBA, GM

      The St Cuthberts Mill Award

      Paper to the value of £100 has been given for an outstanding watercolour painting by Julia Trickey FCPGFS GM for watercolour painting of an Oal Leaf in Autumn at five times its actual size. Ms Trickey teaches workshops for those wanting to learn about botanical painting near Bath for beginners and improvers.

      Quercus rober - Oak Leaf in Autumn x 5 by Julie Trickey


      The Margaret Grainger Memorial Silver Bowl

      The award is given to the best painting by a member elected in the previous two years. This year it was won by Eiko Hamada SBA GM CBM'09 who was admitted to full membership as a result of her entries in last year's show.

      The image below shows all five works that she entered

      Botanical artwork by Eiko Hamada SBA GM CBM'09

      The Daler-Rowney Choice Award
      Products from the Daler Rowney Catelogue for an award chosen by Daler Rowney went to Susan Dalton SBA CBM '03 and '04

      The Society of Botanical artists Certificate of Botanical Merit

      A number of artists won Certificates of Botanical Merit. The images are a sample of the work.

      Passion Flower Bits (watercolour) by Tina Bone Assoc SBA

      Sarracenia purpurea Huntsman's Cup (watercolour) by Beth Phillip
      Cydonia oblonga 'Vranja' - Quince (coloured pencil) by Janie Pirie

      Note:
      If you would like to know more about Botanical Art and/or learn how to paint botanical art

      EITHER see the website of the Society of Botanical Artists for a list of course tutors who are also SBA members or details of the distance learning diploma course

      AND/OR check out all the links to resources listed in my information sites below

      Friday, April 23, 2010

      Call for entries: Sunday Times Watercolour Competition

      This post will please all watercolour painters. It's all about the 'call for entries' for the Sunday Times Watercolour Competition. This is due to be formally launched in the Culture Section of the Sunday Times on 9th May.
      The Sunday Times Watercolour Competition, now in it’s 23rd year, is the largest watercolour competition in the UK, and is one of the only remaining prizes to celebrate the diversity and beauty of the undervalued medium of watercolour. The competition celebrates all works produced in water-based mediums, whether they are abstract, figurative or landscape.
      Park, acrylic, gouache and ink on paper, by Jonathan Huxley

      What are the main changes for 2010?

      1 The Exhibition moves back to the Mall Galleries. I've quizzed both the Bankside Gallery and the Mall Galleries about this when I spotted the absence of the exhibition in the Bankside listings. Both are being diplomatic and fairly silent. I don't think the enormous building works on Blackfriars Bridge which have eliminated Blackfrairs Tube for two years plus render access to the Bankside Gallery more difficult are exactly helping. There's also no question that there's more space in the Mall Galleries for an exhibition of this sort.

      I really applauded the link up between the RWS and this competition in 2008. They were natural partners. However some times good ideas just don't work out as you'd hoped.

      My view is that, in the future, it would be good to see a relationship with BOTH Watercolour Societies and BOTH galleries - as I'm sure there's scope for activities and displays relating to this exhibition for mutual benefit.

      2. The exhibition is much shorter. This year it's just for a week in early November - so no scope for forgetting or getting flu!

      3. A new sponsor
      Smith & Williamson have taken over from the Royal Watercolour Society as the principal sponsor of this exhibition. (I'd include a link but it takes forever to load!)

      4. A brand new prize The 2010 Sunday Times Watercolour Competition sees the introduction of a brand new prize - the RI Turner Awards for Young Artists for artists aged 16 to 20 years. I'm going to do a separate post about this next week to make sure it gets a bit more of a profile.

      I think this is a totally brilliant idea and am really pleased to see it focusing on artists in this age range. I hope all the secondary schools and art schools will highlight it and enourage young people to enter.

      Sunday Times Watercolour Competition Prizes

      The Sunday Times Watercolour Competition offers one of the highest valued prizes in the United Kingdom. The first prize is £10,000 and it awards a total of £20,000 to artists who demonstrate a high level of skill and creativity.

      Prizes in 2010 include:
      • 1st Prize (£10,000),
      • 2nd Prize (£6,000),
      • the RI Turner Watercolour Award for Young Artists (totalling £2,000),
      • the Smith & Williamson Cityscape Prize (£1,500), and
      • the Penguin Classics Commissioning Prize for Cover Art (£500 and a commission to create the cover art for a Penguin classic).
      Judges for 2010

      The 2010 judges will be:
      How to submit work for the Sunday Times Watercolour Competition
      • What can I submit? Artists can submit up to four works at regional venues throughout the UK in June and July.
      • What's the deadline for entries? The deadline for entries is in London on 2 and 3 July 2010.
      • How much does it cost? Entry is £15 per work.
      • Can I get forms online? Yes. Entry details and application forms should be available online at Sunday Times Watercolour Exhibition on the Parker Harris website (they're pointed to the wrong exhibition at the moment and I've alerted Parker Harris)
      • Can I apply online? No - entry forms should be submitted with the work which needs to be hand delivered to one of the regional venues.
      • How do I get an application form by post? Send an SAE to: The Watercolour Competition, Parker Harris, PO Box 279, Esher, Surrey, KT10 8YZ.
      • How do I entre the Young Artists competition? Entry for these Awards is online only - and is separate.
      • Further Information Telephone the organisers Parker Harris on 01372 462190 or email watercolour@parkerharris.co.uk.
      Note that Parker Harris who organise a number of exhibitions are now also on Facebook and Twitter.

      The Sunday Times Watercolour Competition Exhibition

      An exhibition of approximately 100 works will be held between 2 - 7 November 2010 at the Mall Galleries, London SW1.

      PS I'm off out to see Michelangelo at the Courtauld right now but will be back later to add in links to posts on this blog about past Sunday Times Watercolour Competition/Exhibitions
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