Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Joy of Spring - an exhibition of works in the Shirley Sherwood Collection

The Joy of Spring is coming to an end at the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art. The last day of the exhibition is the 9th August after which the gallery closes for the installation of the next exhibition.  It's an exhibition which is well worth seeing...
The Joy of Spring features a sequence of glorious paintings of spring flowers, each selected from the contemporary Shirley Sherwood Collection. This exhibition displays an array of wonderful spring flowers, from snowdrops through to magnolias and camellias. Iconic spring blooms such as daffodils and bluebells will also be included in the exhibition.
For those who have not seen it you can find some highlights below.  

I made notes on my iPhone while going round of the artists whose work I found particularly attractive and/or interesting.  While looking up the best links online to each artist I discovered some more information about them - which you can also find below.

One of the interesting things I noted when matching paintings to artists' websites is that there appear to be absolutely no records of the paintings bought by Shirley Sherwood on their websites. Nor do they seem to be available as prints. Just a thought for those aspiring to join the collection one day.

I found it interesting comparing the styles of paintings of different artists. Some make them completely lifelike while some are rather over stylised so that they look 3D but somehow don't look too real - perhaps because they are too perfect. I wonder if this reflects the change in tastes and styles of botanical painting over time?

My favourite painting is Susan Christopher Coulson's 'The Winter Garden, scented twigs and feisty flowers' which captures perfectly all those flowers which are part of the transition from winter to spring. I'm also a huge fan of her compendium drawings which are always designed both thoughtfully and effectively. I always spend ages staring at her artwork.

'The Winter Garden, scented twigs and feisty flowers'

© Suan Christopher Coulson
Other paintings I very much liked included:
This exhibition featured selected artworks done by Marilena Pistoia of Modena, Italy, for three publications: F. Bianchini and F. Corbetta, I Fruitti della Terra (The complete book of fruits and vegetables) and Le Piante della Salute (Health plants of the world: Atlas of medicinal plants) and Laura Peroni, Il Linguaggio dei Fiori(The language of flowers), all published in Italy by Arnoldo Mondadori between 1973 and 1984 and subsequently in America by Crown and by Newsweek. The artist donated all the original paintings for these books to the Institute.
Some of the paintings in the exhibition
Far Left: Susan Christopher Coulson
Next: Snowdrops by Kate Nessler
  • A huge wonderful painting of dandelions and other flowers by Rosie Sanders called ferns bluebell wild garlic yellow archangel and dandelion 
  • There is a stunning pink rhododendron painted in gouache on black paper by Sally Kier (who died in 2007).  Her obituary in The Guardian notes...
She was commissioned by Shirley Sherwood, a renowned collector of botanical art, to paint a pink rhododendron, which featured in her worldwide exhibition of botanical art in 1997. Her paintings were also included in the gouache section of Margaret Stevens' book, The Art of Botanical Painting. She sold more than 450 works, and several of her paintings were used as greetings cards and sold commercially.

  • Mieko Ishikawa's painting of flowering cherries (Prunus pendula) is impressiveShe apparently paints within three themes only:  “Flowering Cherries of Japan”, “Tropical Rainforest Plants of Borneo” and “Conifers.” There's a nice article about her on the ASBA site - Mieko Ishikawa's Story Behind the Art which focuses on her painting of the mysterious Rafflesia, a parasite of vines in Borneo.
  • There's a delightful painting by Pandora Sellers of Snakeshead fritillaries and cowslips 
  • Jessica Tcherepnine's 'Crown Imperial' looks as if it's dancing! The leaves are wonderful. 

TIP  Do one painting really well and others will commission you to do more!

Jones’ major book, Flora Superba (1971), published in the same year that he was awarded an OBE for his services to art, carried a preface from Sir George Taylor, Director of London’s Kew Gardens: ‘They are technically astounding, scientifically exact and aesthetically so thoughtful and pleasing that, without risking hyperbole, I would rank them amongst the very finest achievements in the whole gallery of botanical art.
  • Olga Makrushenko (b. Russia 1956) has a painting of a deep pink magnolia, painted in mixed media on paper. This is a gorgeous deep pink colour and design and it's a very fine painting (which is second from right below)

Extreme left - In the background is the painting by Paul Jones
and second from right is the painting by Olga Makrushenko

Also included in the exhibition are the working drawings and the finished artwork produced by Julia Trickey for the Royal Mail for the Post and Go Collection - British Flora (Spring Blooms) Stamp Set. Julia has also produced a publication Plant Portraits by Post (Published by Two Rivers Press) about the process and pitfalls of producing the Royal Mail British Flora illustrations.  Plus a painting from her last exhibit at the RHS Botanical Art Show.

Julia Trickey's artwork for the Royal Mail's British Flora (Spring Blooms) Stamp Set

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Selected artists - Sunday Times Watercolour Competition 2015

This post highlights the names - and the websites - of the 80 artists who have been selected for the 2015 Exhibition of the Sunday Times Watercolour Competition. Plus some of the images which have been selected for display.

Ellis Nadler, Anemone Hats
It's great to see somebody using their imagination while painting!
The Sunday Times Watercolour Competition provides an opportunity for artists across the UK to redefine and celebrate the beauty and diversity of watercolour and water-based media, whether through abstract or figurative, contemporary or traditional painting.


The Winners of the First Prize of £10,000, Second Prize of £6,000, and the Smith & Williamson Cityscape Prize of £1,500 will be announced in the Sunday Times during August, and awarded at a private ceremony during the exhibition at the Mall Galleries.

Some statistics

Over 1,200 works were entered and 90 works by 80 artists were selected. The ratio of selected to entered artwork is 7.5% which is considerably better than artists can expect in some other national art competitions.

The Selection Panel

This year's panel of selectors were
  • Sarah Dudman Artist - age 50, she was selected for the Sunday Times Watercolour Prize Exhibition in 2013 and 2014.
  • Desmond Shawe-Taylor LVO Surveyor of the Queen’s Pictures
  • Josh Spero Editor, Spear’s Magazine (that's the one for people with high net worth individuals) and Art Critic, Tatler.
  • Lucy Willis Artist - a very popular watercolour painter. Uses traditional watercolours in a traditional way - and everybody loves them!
  • Louis Wise Critic & Writer, The Sunday Times
You can see photos of scenes from the Judging Day in Behind the Scenes
“The final exhibition aims to reflect the scope of what artists are doing with water-based media today, and each selected work has been chosen on individual merit as being an outstanding example in its field. In the most successful cases, the artists' mastery and understanding of the potential of the media and technique completely resonated with their intent or subject, creating works which truly are greater than the sum of their parts.

As we worked through the selection stages, the decision became increasingly difficult. Decisions were debated, works were fought for, and at all times, the final choices were agreed against shared criteria, which essentially came down to the strength of the work as a whole. Had the artist used the unique and essential characteristics of water-based media to effectively convey their intentions at a very high level? The answer for all the selected entries is a clear 'yes'.”

Sarah Dudman
This does not augur well. It sounds like it's going the route of RWS competition of "water-based media" as opposed to watercolour painting in the sense that everybody and everybody's art shop understand the term.

One of the things that I've always liked about the Sunday Times Watercolour competition is that it had excellent examples of "proper" watercolour paintings i.e. those that were created using media which says watercolour paint!

Sunday Times Watercolour Exhibition 2015 - Selected Artists

Below you can find a list of the names of the selected artists

Those who have websites have their names in bold have links to their websites embedded in their names - where these could be found. Any errors please let me know (see side column for how to contact me).  I'd like to thank all those artists who have generated a decent website; got it onto the first page of Google - and provided easy to find details about the artist!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Georgia O'Keefe - major retrospective at Tate Modern in 2016

Yesterday the Tate announced its exhibition programme for 2016. It will include a major retrospective of the work of Georgia O'Keeffe as the Summer Exhibition at Tate Modern running between 6 July – 30 October 2016. Booking will open shortly and I predict this will be an extremely popular exhibition.

The above link goes to an article about what we can expect from the exhibition.
Tate Modern will present a major retrospective of the American modernist artist Georgia O’Keeffe, a century after her New York debut. The exhibition is the first important solo institutional exhibition of the artist’s work in the UK for a generation.
Below are links to my own research about O'Keeffe and her work in the last ten years.

Georgia O’Keeffe | Abstraction White Rose (1927)
Oil on canvas, 36 x 30 (91.4 x 76.2)
Georgia O’Keeffe Museum.
Gift of The Burnett Foundation and Georgia O’Keeffe Foundation
© Georgia O’Keeffe Museum
She straddles the line between figuration and abstraction with her abstracted paintings of flowers and landscapes and the figurative features of her deliberately abstract paintings.
"One paints what is around" Georgia O'Keeffe
I'm a huge fan of her paintings of flowers and these have very much influenced my own approach to developing macro perspectives on cacti and succulents. I also love her landscapes and her ability to see a rich and colourful language within the landscape of Northern New Mexico
"Nothing is less real than realism...details are is only by selection, by elimination, by emphasis that we get at the real meaning of things" Georgia O'Keeffe

My Georgia O'Keeffe Month

Back in 2007 I did a project on Georgia O'Keeffe which I recorded on this blog.  It was prompted by my July 2006 visit to the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I was a fan when I went and came away an even bigger one.

The Georgia O'Keeffe museum was stunning. I've felt an affinity with the work of Georgia O'Keeffe and her approach to art (her focus on landscapes, macro flowers and colour) for some time and have been keen to know how she achieves such deceptively simple images. I've been wanting to go to the museum for a very long time - on the basis that you can't beat seeing art 'up close and personal' as an aid to understanding art - and was not disappointed.
Subsequently I wanted to find out more about Georgia O'Keeffe and her art, her flowers and her landscapes.  Here's a record of the posts I published in 2007 and subsequently. These posts record the process of discovery and my conclusions as I studied her art. 

I adore flowers and images of flowers and enjoy the process of developing artwork based on a flower or flowers as much as looking at the end result. In developing my own work I've become increasingly drawn to the notion of exploring the flower through focusing on the structure of a single bloom. I now want to see how I can develop further and this is what this month will be all about. Naturally, in wanting to learn more about how best to do this, I've become very interested in the work of Georgia O'Keeffe - hence Georgia O'Keeffe month!
As you know I've been hunting down useful books for my Georgia O'Keeffe month. On Friday, I bought "Georgia O'Keeffe Museum Collections (Volume 2)" by Barbara Buhler Lynes at Kew Gardens. Having now had a chance to look through this book - which is the right way to describe a book which is mainly full page plates of colour images of her work - I've come to a few conclusions.
I've included some quotations from Georgia O'Keeffe which I copied down when I visited the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe last year.
I'm trying to get to grips with Notan - using "Composition" the book by Arthur Wesley Dow, first published in 1899, which was Georgia O'Keeffe's bible when she went through the same process.
This post follows on from Learning about Notan #1. I thought I'd share something about what Dow has to say about Notan - the Japanese concept involving the placement of lights and darks next to the other to read as flat shapes on the two-dimensional surface - and harmony in two value designs and then how this can apply to compositions involving flowers.
I've been finding it very difficult to reduce to just two value Notan. Although I understand the principles, it would appear my brain does not want to play!
Also included are reviews of books about her art

"O'Keeffe" by Britta Benke (subtitle Georgia O'Keeffe, 1887-1986, Flowers of the Desert) is a splendid and very informative book. It's also a complete bargain, being available for an amazing price whichever country you live in.
I also published posts about her work on other blogs

Georgia O'Keeffe's favourite 'place to paint' landscapes was northern New Mexico. My personal view is that her landscapes although less well known are just as worthy of public attention and acclaim as her very famous paintings of flowers.
Summary review: HIGHLY RECOMMENDEDThe landscape of New Mexico is just a strong motif in Georgia O'Keeffe's work as her popular flowers. This book explores the locations she painted in and analyses her approach to her landscape work in New Mexico. It provides insight into both the character of the place, the painter and the person.

I love this video of her talking about her work on YouTube

I love this quotation of what Georgia had to say to those people who developed their own (often perverse) ideas about what her flower paintings were about.
Nobody sees a flower, really, it is so small. We haven't time - and to see takes time like to have a friend takes time.

If I could paint the flower exactly as I see it no one would see what I see because I would paint it small like the flower is small.

So I said to myself - I'll paint what I see - what the flower is to me but I'll paint it big and they will be surprised into taking time to look at it - I will make even busy New Yorkers take time to see what I see of flowers.

...Well, I made you take time to look at what I saw and when you took time to really notice my flower you hung all your own associations with flowers on my flower and you write about my flower as if I think and see what you think and see of the flower - and I don't.

Georgia O'Keeffe

Monday, July 27, 2015

The Columbia Threadneedle Prize - Call for Entries

There are major changes for the next Threadneedle Prize for Figurative and Representational Art. 

These include:
  • a change in name and branding - it's now called The Columbia Threadneedle Prize
  • a change of year - there's no exhibition this year, the next one is in February 2016
  • an additional exhibition in Florence, Italy
  • plus a brand new website which is looking a bit too much like a corporate bank website for my taste (this is an art competition!) but I'm sure they'll be able to improve on this in time.
However it's still the UK’s leading open annual competition for figurative and representational painting and sculpture.

Below you can find out all the basics
  • who can enter
  • what you can enter
  • how to enter
  • the timeline of key dates
  • all about the prizes and the exhibitions
  • the selection panel
Plus access my archive of blog posts about all the Threadneedle Prize exhibitions to date.

About the Columbia Threadneedle Prize

The new website for The Columbia Threadneedle Prize
We would normally have an exhibition in September 2015 but the change in ownership of the company sponsoring the prize (now the Columbia Threadneedle Foundation) meant a change in timing was required as well as a change in name - hence the exhibition moves forward six months.

So the next exhibitions - there's now TWO - will be 2016:
  • Exhibition at Mall Galleries including Visitors’ Choice Award: 3rd - 20th February 2016
  • PLUS an  Exhibition at Palazzo Strozzi, Florence: 27th June to 24th July 2016


There are a number of prizes. 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

How to complain about a copyright infringement on LinkedIn

This post is about what to do about copyright infringements on LinkedIn.

I've just made my first formal complaint of copyright infringement to LinkedIn re the reproduction of the Art Business Page on my blog as a PULSE article on LinkedIn. [Update: this link now generates a 'Sorry this article is no longer available']

The "author" decided to:
  • give it an absolutely crap headline (obviously produced by a scraper bot
  • delete any reference to the name of my blog or me - or the copyright statements which are very clear in the side column or bottom of my blog.

How to complain about a copyright infringement on LinkedIn

First - tell it like it is!
The first thing I did was leave a comment on the offending article (see above)

Information about Copyright

This is the page which tells us about the LinkedIn Copyright Policy. To my mind it fails to take demonstrate very clearly that the company understands in full the conditions of the 'safe harbor' provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

Bottom line it MUST....
upon notification of claimed infringement as described in paragraph (3), responds expeditiously to remove, or disable access to, the material that is claimed to be infringing or to be the subject of infringing activity.

Notification Forms

It also provides links to the relevant forms:

You can submit your form electronically Fill out our online submission form to contact the LinkedIn Copyright Agent


I have to say I'm very surprised and puzzled by:

  • LinkedIn's Copyright Policy - To my mind - and I've reviewed a lot of these statements in the past - their policy seems to ignore the fact that websites which publish material which infringes copyright do NOT enjoy 'safe harbor' protection and protection from liability UNLESS they take action to remove it ASAP.  This needs to be made clear to members. They can send the notice I've sent them to the author if they choose - but action by LinkedIn should definitely not be dependent on his response. They have enough information (i.e. two pdf files which reproduce in full the page on my blog and the article on Pulse) to act on their own account without any reference to the author at all.
  • LinkedIn's Quality Assurance Policy for Pulse articles - Frankly if you are running a network for professionals I expect a professional and high quality approach to the quality assurance of articles published by Pulse. It clearly isn't hitting the standards it needs to if it can publish an article with a nonsensical title which appears to be the product of some sort of scraper bot.


I have indicated to LinkedIn that I shall also be reporting the Pulse article to Google - and I'll be doing that today as frankly their statement re. copyright does not lead me to think they are going to act promptly.

I've certainly found on previous occasions that the fastest way to get material removed from being indexed by Google is to make the copyright infringement report to Google rather than the plagiariser. (I've now reported the infringement using this copyright infringement form which relates to Blogger)

Today I'm going to introduce a footer to all my blog posts which will indicate that all text and images are copyright to me or the artists or photographers.


It worked! The content has been removed by LinkedIn!  By the time Google got round to looking for it to remove from their index it had disappeared - as confirmed by the second nice email from Google confirming it's no longer available or in their index.....
"Hello,Thanks for reaching out to us.Upon recent review of the following URL(s), we were unable to locate the content in question: you believe this is in error and are still able to see the content at the URL(s) in question, please reply with additional information so we are able to investigate. If there was a mistake and the content is available at a different URL, please file a new report at
Regards,The Google Team"

Copyright for Artists

For more about copyright for artists - and information I've accumulated over the years - please see my section about Copyright for Artists on Art Business Info. for Artists.  It contains links to:
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