However I find I've been getting more and more irritated by people who are making judgements on some less than wonderful photographs while at the same time making carping comments. I'm very sure most would be horrified if similar comments made in the same tenor were to be made about them and/or their paintings! Some of the comments left me wondering how artists could say such things about a fellow artist.
Here's my post - Paul Emsley and the Duchess of Cambridge - two videos and a drawing which I recommend you view if only to see the videos and get an accurate perspective on the why/how it was painted as it was. Most importantly the videos identified in the post highlight the reference photographs used for the portrait and provide a much better colouration than the photographs of the portrait. The one I posted yesterday supplied by the NPG was completely drained of all colour.
|Reference photo on the left and portrait on the right|
a still from the video about The first portrait of the Duchess of Cambridge
- this is a woman in her 30s who is emphatically trying to be herself and is not trying to look like a supermodel or a fairytale princess
- the bags under her eyes are genetic - they were not created by Paul Emsley.
- when she got married she was a decade older than Diana was when she got married - the two are in no way comparable in age ie she should look "older"
- she has a degree in the history of art - and she knows what portraiture is about
- I think it highly unlikely that she was not aware of the type of paintings that Paul Emsley produces - he does not flatter people and he never paints them 'smiling with teeth' - this portrait will not have been unexpected or any sort of accident
- her grandmother in law is probably the most painted person in history. Many of her portraits look nothing like her - and she doubtless would have been a source of a few tips on the topic of how much the British love to criticise the latest Royal portrait!
- Sandy Nairne, the Director of the National Portrait Gallery - which has 11,000 portraits in the Collection - was quoted as saying - presumably in response to a question as to why she wasn't smiling 'properly'
There isn't a single open-mouthed portrait in the collection
Below are the articles by the journalists
- You can always tell when a journalist is looking for a double whammy for their archives - this is Charlotte Higgins (Charlotte Higgins on culture) mean-spirited contribution in the Guardian - Kate's portrait – straight from the Twilight franchise
- Even Adrian Searle continues the theme with The Duchess of Cambridge gets an undertaker's makeover
- The Independent is no better - Michael Glover: Paul Emsley's Duchess of Cambridge portrait is catastrophic
- The Telegraph opts out and reports on what everybody else said! Critics round on Duchess of Cambridge portrait
While by way of contrast
- Duchess of Cambridge delights in first official portrait. Why should we doubt this given (1) she wanted a portrait of her "natural self" not a woman "on parade" for her royal duties; and (2) she knows what she looks like when not "on parade" and we don't?
- Alastair Adams, president of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters was quoted by the BBC (Kate portrait: First painting gets mixed reviews) as saying something I rather liked
It's very human - when you look at it, the full face is in front of you, you look straight into the eyes and face. There are no airs and graces, there's no background context to allude to success or power - it's very much on a level of one to one with the viewer. It's quite natural, it's open, it's straightforward and very pure - it's immediate and not overly sentimental.My conclusion?
- First, people would do well to remember there's nothing media proprietors like more than the extra traffic caused by a bit of a controversy. They're also not above contributing to the feeding frenzy in order to generate comments and traffic and sell more adverts!
- Second, I suspect this painting will become known as the "Mona Lisa painting" within the collection of contemporary royal portraits and will become extremely celebrated in time - with people remarking in puzzlement about what was all the fuss about at the time. After all, it will remain in the NPG collection for centuries to come - unlike the articles written about it!
He's sent me a photograph of his painting of The Duchess of Cambridge. I can confirm that it looks nothing like the one which has been circulating in the newspapers and on the Internet.
The one I'm looking at has much better colour and the transitions on tonal values are much more subtle and very much more like what I'm accustomed to seeing in Paul's work.
Which means that in the real painting she does NOT look old or drained or a vampire or a gothic horror or any of the other really nasty and mean-spirited remarks which have been made about this painting.
To me this new photo indicates that the problem with the image people have seen lies entirely with the photographer and NOT the artist. I hope as this fact becomes more apparent that some of those who made nasty remarks will have the good grace to apologise!
I don't have Paul's permission to post the image however I'm hoping I might be able to post it on my blog later this week - ideally after I've been able to see the painting for myself.]
Now on with the rest of this review
Art Blogs and Artists
Review of 2012 / Plan for 2013
- Haidee Jo Summers did her review in four posts - one for each quarter but then there has been rather a lot going on this year in the life of this busy painter
- I love Casey Klahn's (The Colorist) idea of selecting his top 12 paintings of 2012.
- His suggestion prompted Barbara Newton to do likewise - see her top 10 paintings of 2012 in my top 10 of 2012 on Barbara Benedetti Newton - Art Journal
- I rather liked this Review of 2012 by Urban sketcher Matt Jones which is a series of places he sketched!
- This is Ilaria Rosselli del Turco's Yearly recap on Ilaria Rosselli Del Turco - News
- Jeanette Jobson has a Review of 2012 on Illustrated Life. Jeanette never ceases to amaze me with the way her art continues to progress in both breadth and skill levels.
- This is Bridget Hunter's brief and to the point Not the end of year review based on lessons learned via Bridget Hunter's Paintings
- Worst ideas of 2012: Damien Hirst attempting still lifes was the review which made me smile the most - by Jonathan Jones in the Guardian - particularly this bit. The conclusion is a bit of a blockbuster too!
Normal critical words of dismissal such as "leaden", "pretentious", "crass", "empty", do not do justice to Hirst's still-life paintings. All are applicable but none really captures the magnitude of failure we are talking about. Hirst has absolutely zero ability as a representational painter.
- while Changes and Challenges brought sad news about what happened in 2012 to Maggie Price on Painting Partners. I'm sure those who know Maggie will want to wish her success with her plans for beating her challenge and better health in 2013.
Now for the other topics which normally crop up under this heading
- Tania Marien of ArtPlantae (Going Greener Gong 2012) has come up with a rather good idea for interviews using Blogger comments. Here's an example Coral Guest and the Renaissance of Botanical Art - and a great interview with Coral Guest, a botanical artist I admire a lot particularly in relation to her life size work (see Coral Guest in her studio wth Lilium regale painting)
- admire a lot.http://artplantaetoday.com/2012/12/01/coral-guest-and-the-renaissance-of-botanical-art/
- The next two SketchCrawl dates have been set! JANUARY 19th 38th World Wide SketchCrawl and APRIL 13th http://www.sketchcrawl.com/
- Urban Sketchers London will be at Tate Modern on the 19th - see Next Sketchcrawl - January 19th 2013
- Lynne Chapman has been Making Quill Pens for Drawing
- a great tip from Barbara Newton about how to paint in pastels at an easel while using an iPad for the reference photo
- I came across a Guardian article about Grayson Perry and drawing - see Grayson Perry lassos thoughts with a pen
- Derwent have created the Derwent Academy with its own website
A beginner looks at the landscape and asks " What does it look like", a more practiced hand asks "what can I do with this?"!
- This is a wonderful post about Andrew Wyeth: At the Kuerners on David Owen Art Notes
- Congrats to Casey Klahn (The Colorist) for coming up with the idea of behind Paint The Barn in Winter. The Paint the Barn Painting Challenge Group now has its own Facebook Page and people taking a particular image as the genesis for their own artwork in all sorts of media.
- One of the things which continues to amaze me is that I don't see more artwork which acts as a commentary on society today. I don't mean great inaccessible conceptual works about esoteric stuff - I mean incisive images which are accessible to all. Or is this the exclusive preserve of the cartoonist - see this A&I article about the work by Martin Rowson in 2012
- Two posts from James Gurney's blog Gurney Journey
- Two posts about Sherrie York (Brush and Baren) the artist who created the Best Picture of the Year (Nature) on an Art Blog 2012
- another very complimentary review - Sherrie York – Reduction Linocut Printmaking - by Ian Rogers on Grey not Grey
- After the death of Lucian Freud there has been a degree of jockeying for position for the title of Britain's greatest living artist. Jonathan Jones has now nominated Rachel Whiteread for that position - see Rachel Whiteread is Britain's greatest living artist. (Mind you that probably says a fair bit about who Jonathan doesn't like!) I like to follow what Rachel is getting up to as her seminal work House was located very near to where I live and it was my art-hating Council which decided it had to be demolished. I'm going to post a video about it this week.
Whiteread is abstract, serious and profound. She is the modern British artist who matters.
Who painted this
- Who painted this? #11 was posted on Friday and revealed the answer to Who painted this #10 - which was won by Jim Serrett (Jim Serrett Studio / Pochade Box Paintings).
I asked you about Your NEW Favourite Art Books and set up the January Making A Mark Poll to find out your attitude to ebooks for art. The question asked (see right hand column) is Do you read art ebooks?
Art Business & Marketing
A couple of posts from ArtInfo:
- Robert Genn on numbering your artworks - Consecutive numbering
- Copyright in the UK: in Modernising Copyright, the Own-It organisation summarises the final part of the Government's published response to its Copyright Consultation and its plans to bring in further copyright exceptions in line with the Hargreaves recommendations.
- thanks to Barney Davey for highlighting this gem of a Forbes article on Facebook - 9 Things Businesses Shouldn't Do On Social Media. While obviously not targeting artists and galleries, there's a few matters which both artists and galleries would do well to pay attention to.
- Established art websites have been getting themselves new domains and new looks
- Art.sy is now http://artsy.net. I gather having a URL which identified the website with Syria was not the best business move for all sorts of reasons. This blog post explains the reasons for the change
- Artsy Shark has a new look. I've got a big wide 27" screen and frankly I find it overwhelming. The fact that a website can stretch to the full size of my 27" screen doesn't mean to say I want it to! I guess this means responsive templates which automatically adjust to the size of your screen could make for some overwhelming experiences of websites.
- 6 Ways the Fiscal Cliff Deal Will Impact the Art World - it focuses in the main on the impact on charitable giving and how this might impact on the art world but also suggests that the end game is far from over.
- I had to look twice at this title to make sure I had read it right - it came out of left field New York Dealer Couple Must Pay Collector $18 Million for Running Off With His Art. I think this is the mega version of the gallery which "loses" your art and can't find the fund to pay you its value either.
- My first post of the New Year was my annual post about the Major Art Competitions in the UK in 2013. I'll be doing updates throughout the year via the Page with the same name at the top of the blog - Major UK Art Competitions in 2013. This provides overviews of calls for entries, deadlines plus links to tips about entering art competitions
- This is a remarkable drawing - Massive Pencil Mural Wins $200,000 Art Prize - and the story behind it is equally interesting
Art Society ExhibitionsUpcoming exhibitions
- Art Society Exhibitions in the UK 2013 - Key Dates lists all the relevant links and key dates for entries to the Annual Open Exhibitions of the different major art societies - insofar as these have been announced by the society.
In London we're in the funny season as exhibitions changeover. Upcoming exhibitions include:
- Turner’s Sussex opened at Petworth House in Sussex on 12th January and runs until 13 March. The website says booking is essential but I couldn't quite work out whether this includes NT members
- This week an exhibition Giorgio Morandi - Works on Paper opens on the 16 January at the Estorick Collection in Islington and runs until 7 April 2013. Here's a review by Laura Cuming - Morandi: Lines of Poetry – review
- Fans of equine art will be interested to hear that Jewels of the Jockey Club - The Cream of the Crop will be exhibited at the National Horseracing Museum, Newmarket in the British Sporting Art Trust's Vestey Gallery (19th January - 23rd March)
- Amongst Heroes: the artist in working Cornwall (26th January 2013- 14th April 2013) at Two Temple Place considers artistic representations of the Cornish figure at work, primarily between 1880 and 1920
- The 75th Annual Exhibition of the Society of Wood Engravers finishes in Bath on 20th January and reopens at the Bankside Gallery from 29th January 2013 – 10th February 2013
- The Art of the Underground was my post about artwork associated with the London Underground which celebrated its 150th anniversary of running an underground train this weekend. The Poster Art 150 Exhibition opens in February at the London Tranpsort Museum
80 meditative landscapes and intimate still lifes by the master of poetic understatement
Exhibitions by artists
- Contemptible Subjects and Other Things of Interest at The Menier Gallery 51 Southwark Street London SE1 1RU 14th - 26th January 2013 is a show by three members of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters (RP) - Andrew James, Simon Davies and Anastasia Pollard. Their mutual respect for each others’ work gave birth to this collaborative project - and a Facebook Page. There's an article about the show in the February edition of Artists & Illustrators
- Curiouser and Curiouser is an illustrative re-imagining of the life and works of Lewis Carroll - and is another collaborative project which this time involves Ben Hendy (Ben Hendy Illustration) - one of the runners up for the Threadneedle Prize 2012. Ben highlights one of his works for the show in Pigeon
|Pigeon by Ben Hendy|
Hand coloured pigeon linocut
- You have nine days left on iPlayer to watch Richard E Grant on Painting Paradise an amazingly seductive account of the artists who painted on the Cote d'Azur in the south of France in the 19th and early 20th centuries. On Tuesday, on Channel BBC4, we get Episode 2 The Golden Era How the Cote D'Azur became both playground and studio for the modern art masters.
A couple of accounts about the impact of Hurricane Sandy on the art world of New York
- New York's Art World Assessing Impact of Hurricane Sandy [UPDATE 5]
- Hurricane Sandy Highlights the Problems of Digital Archives - which I think will prompt people to reassess how they keep their digital archives. Archives in the cloud have never seemed more reassuring.
- Jamie Williams Grossman has been conducting Lightfastness Test Results on Noodlers Eternal Inks, pigmented and iron gall inks, and more
After five months, there were no inks that looked exactly the same as their control samples. However, some did extremely well, and changed very little.
- Roz Standahl (Roz Wound Up) identified A Travel Palette That's On Sale which she recommends - the palette that is, not the paint
Making A Mark Art Blog Awards
In case you were away over the festive season, here is a list of the posts associated with the Making A Mark Art Blog Awards. You may see some blogs sporting their new blog shields listing the art award they got!
- Portrait Nominations for Best Artwork | MAM Awards 2012
- Landscape Nominations for Best Artwork | MAM Awards 2012
- Still Life Nominations for Best Artwork | MAM Awards 2012
- Nature Nominations for Best Artwork | MAM Awards 2012
- VOTE for the Best Artwork on an Art Blog in 2012
- Introducing The Making A Mark Art Blog Awards 2012
- Generating Art - The Making A Mark Awards 2012
- Getting out of the Studio - Making A Mark Awards 2012
- Learning about Art & the Art Business - Making A Mark Awards 2012
- The Home Front - The Making A Mark Awards 2012
- Best Picture of 2012 on an Art Blog
- The New York Times wrote about What Constitutes Good and Bad Web Design and used art galleries and museums of examples of websites which are completely useless at delivering the information which consumers want to know
- If you've ever wanted to test out different approaches to how you blog, this post How a Preview Image Increased a Landing Page's Conversion Rate by 359% sets out a method for testing different approaches
- ProBlogger posted The ProBlogger Top 20 of 2012 - which includes some useful things to be aware of for those trying who are blogging to try and improve their presence on the Internet. He provides a little snippet about each of the top posts so that you can decide whether you want to know more. One such is Quality Vs. Volume: The Traffic Spectrum, and How Bloggers Can Harness It
The Guardian carried an a professional article for healthcare professionals Prescribing art for older people about the Dulwich Art Gallery outreach programme for older people called Good Times. The Gallery partners with 65 organisations to take art workshops into the community - with all sorts of positive benefits for those involved. Worth a read - and it makes you think......