Friday, August 01, 2014

In praise of the older artist - Mary Anderson Grierson

It would appear that one of the perks of working for the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew for a long time is you get a bench outside the Palm House on your retirement or death. I came across a bench for Mary Anderson Grierson on Tuesday and looked her up when I got back home.
Hylocereus Undatus, night blooming cereus, 1985
pencil, ink and color wash
56 x 34 cm. (22 x 13.4 in.)
by the late Mary Anderson Grierson

Her obituary - she died age 99 - in the Telegraph provides all sorts of incentives for those of less tender years who aspire to do well as a botanical artist.



First of all she only started to work as a 'proper' botanical artist in middle age - at the age of 48.

Prior to this she worked, during the war, on analysing analysing and interpreting aerial photographs. It was during the war that she started painting wild flowers for pleasure.

After the war she worked for Hunting Aerosurveys producing contour maps which naturally required a lot of precision. They sent her to do a course in pen and ink drawing course at the Field Studies Centre at Flatford Mill.  She subsequently did a number of courses there with painter and illustrator John Nash, younger brother of the great war artist Paul Nash.  He was much interested in nature and drawing the countryside.

Mary Grierson then applied for a post organising exhibitions at Kew in 1960. However, having seen her portfolio of drawings they decided she'd be much better employed as an Artist in the Herbarium. Thus it was that she embarked on the second half of her life - as a professional botanical artist - having had no tuition except in skills related to drawing and painting.

In 1966 she received her first gold medal for flower painting from the Royal Horticultural Society. She subsequently received another four plus the Veitch Memorial Medal of the RHS, and later their Victoria Medal of Honour.

While working for Kew she was also commissioned to illustrate a series of volumes on Orchidaceae - published in 1973. She also illustrated The Country Life of Orchids, An English Florilegium, and a number of monographs including one on Hellebores.

She continued to work after she retired in 1972, age 60, and was then much in demand. She managed to fit in quite a few projects!
  • She began painting species of plants in Hawaii in 1973 - leading to the publication of A Hawaiian florilegium: botanical portraits from paradise in 1996. (The lovely thing about projects after you retire is you don't have to rush to finish them in order to make your mark!)
  • She was commissioned to produce illustrations for "Hedgerows of England" and "Coastal Plants of England". She proceeded to travel the length and breadth of the country to find the plants. The subsequent associated exhibitions were sell-outs.
  • She produced a major series of tulip drawings for the Van Tubergen Nurseries at Haarlem. These were subsequently bought by the Library at Kew in 1992
  • plus she continued to produce illustrations for Curtis's Botanical Magazine.
You can see a number of her illustrations which sold at auction on the Internet. Her work is now included in the collections of The British Museum, The Natural History Museum, as well as at Kew.

For me, the uplifting bit about this story is that she achieved much of this after reaching 60 - having only turned professional age 48. Which just goes to show that a whole new world can open up to you as you get older - if you are open to the possibilities of what life has to offer - and hone your skills in drawing and painting!

References:

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Derwent Art Prize 2014 - Two People's Choice Awards

The Derwent Art Prize offers two opportunities for the public to vote for the People's Choice Award in relation to the artwork selected for exhibition and - this year for the first time - all entries as well.  More about how to vote below.

Yesterday the Derwent Art Prize website published two galleries of images

Why not pretend to be a selector and take a look at all of them and and see what you think of both the pencil artworks which were entered and the works that were selected.

Would you have chosen a different set of c.80 works for the exhibition?  Which works would you have selected?

Each of the works also provide buttons which enable you to:
  • post to your facebook account
  • tweet an image
  • post an image on your Google+ account.

Selected artists


I'll be commenting further on the selected artists in a future post.


Some of the selected artworks in the Exhibition for the Derwent Art Prize 2014

Prizes

The prizes split in two. The first set are those determined by the judges.  These are
  • First Prize -  £6,000
  • Second Prize -  £3,500
  • Third Prize -  £1,000
  • Young Artist Award for artists under 25 years - £500
  • UK Coloured Pencil Society Award for Excellence - £250

Then there's the TWO People Choices Awards which are chosen by the public this year.  As a development from last year, the competition organisers have made all the entries available for selection for this prize.

Thus we now have:
  • People’s Choice Award of £700 - from works selected for the exhibition and judged by visitors to the exhibition and visitors to the website.
  • People’s Choice Award of £700 - selected from all 2014 entries and judged by visitors to the website
I'm wondering if the 80th place in the exhibition might be for the People's Choice Award as judged by visitors to the website.

I'm also wondering what precautions have been put in place to prevent unfair interference with the voting.

The panel of judges for the main prizes are:
  • Kate Macfarlane, Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Drawing Room, 
  • Josh Spero, Editor of Spears Magazine and Art Critic for Tatler UK, and 
  • Professor Anita Taylor, artist, Co-Founder and Director of Jerwood Drawing Prize and Dean of Bath School of Art and Design.

How to vote for the People's Choice Award


You can vote for TWO People's Choice awards.

It's not terribly obvious how you can vote for the People's Choice award - until you click on an image and realise that they each have a big green "Vote for this image in the People's Choice Award" button.

You've got a lot of images to review so make sure you don't click on the first image that you like!

The Derwent Art Prize Exhibition


The pencil artworks selected for exhibition will be seen in London and Cumbria. They'll be seen first at the Mall Galleries in London between the 15th – 20th September 2014. The second exhibition will be at The Pencil Museum in Keswick, Cumbria in December 2014.

Monday, July 28, 2014

28 July 2014 - Who's made a mark?

I've had three weeks off from blogging.

  • The first week was because I had a bit of a shock health wise, ended up in hospital facing a battery of tests and decided to take it easy for a few days.
  • Followed by finishing up the final layouts for the book - which was rather more difficult than I'd been expecting.
  • Then I decided I needed a week off. I fitted in some long walks plus some drawing and sketching but a lot of it was taken up with trying to put things back where they were supposed to be "after the book" - and a surprise flood.

Throughout I managed to post a few things to Facebook so this is going to be an update for those who don't follow me on Facebook - plus a few extras in terms of blog posts by me.

Two charcoal drawings by Maggie Hargreaves

Winner of The John Ruskin Prize 2014
(see Art Competitions below)

Artists and Art Blogs


Artists Passing on

  • David Prentice died on May 7th this year. He painted some sublime landscape paintings. An exhibition of his paintings of the Malverns "A Last Look at the Malverns" could be recently seen at the John Davies Gallery. Unsurprisingly it was a virtual sell out. However you can see the exhibition catalogue online http://www.johndaviesgallery.com/prentice/. This was his obituary in The Guardian
The cover of A Last Look at the Malverns by David Prentice (1936-2014)
courtesy of John Davies Gallery, Moreton in the Marsh
  • Inbetween everything else I've been doing my forms for the Florum exhibition in Kent in September. I was very sad to hear of the recent death of one of the regular exhibitors Wendy Cranston FSBA SWA. I have admired and loved her wonderful gouache paintings of fruit, vegetables and flowers for some years. This post Review: Florum 2012 includes a great view of six of her paintings in the Florum exhibition in 2012. 
  • Botanical artwork in gouache by the late Wendy Cranston

Art History


Botanical Art


Colour


Drawing 
  • What is drawing? Does this mesh with your definition of what is drawing?  This is an article with images by the Victoria and Albert Museum
The term drawing is applied to works that vary greatly in technique. It has been understood in different ways at different times and is difficult to define.
drawing has creative, expressive and educational value; it remains fundamental to translating and analysing the world
  • I'm a speaker on a panel at Draw In! a weekend symposium to celebrate the value of drawing at the Belfast School of Art on 30th August. See http://draw-in.co.uk/ for more details.

Portraiture


Art Business & Marketing

art fairs

auctions

copyright

  • Beware the company that snaffles images without permission from a well connected artist like Ester Roi or any artist who has a lot of friends on Facebook.  This Malysian company later paid up when presented with an invoice. So the moral of the story is don't just accept that your artwork might be copied and used elsewhere - send an invoice!
I’m very pleased to announce that I have reached a satisfactory settlement with CP Stationery, the company that used three of my images on their products without permission. They apologized profusely and were quick to send the agreed payment.
This victory would not have been possible without the massive intervention from so many of you. If anybody still doubts the power of social media, this case can provide a strong argument. Thank you for your amazing support and for taking the time to express your outrage here, on your page, and on the company’s page. (Ester Roi - Facebook Page)

websites and social media

  • On 8th August 2014 I'm doing a session on how to get your artwork online and make the most of social media as part of an all-day "techie stuff for artists" workshop at the Mall Galleries. I gather the workshop is now booked up - but if you fancy the idea of How to photograph your work and get it online (topic covered by other speakers include how to photograph your art and copyright for artists) be sure to let the Mall Galleries know!

Art Competitions



Art Fund Prize for Museum of the Year

BP Portrait Award 2014 Exhibition

I did a lot of video interviews this year - as did the people running this major portrait competition in the UK!  Portraits by 55 artists were selected from some 2,300 entries.

The face of Man with a Plaid Blanket by Thomas Ganter
BP Portrait Award 2014 Exhibition 


BP Travel Award

I've got two posts on the BP Travel Award
Making A Mark Videos 3:07

Jerwood Drawing Prize 

The John Ruskin Prize

  • Bury artist Maggie Hargreaves was announced as the winner of the The John Ruskin Prize 2014: Recording Britain Now at the end of June. The Prize in its second year invited artists across the UK to submit fresh visions of Britain’s urban, rural and social environment.
    • You can read more about her artwork on her website eg The Company of Trees. This is her blog Maggie Hargreaves. The two works were Slowly Creeping (2011) , 150x212 cm, charcoal on paper and Changing Space II (2009), 150x220 cm, charcoal on paper
The level of detail and large scale of these drawings invites viewers to enter the space depicted and spend time exploring it. Concurrently, as the drawings are approached, the image dissolves and the materiality and process are established; the artifice of the image construction is revealed as a piece of paper with handmade marks, pinned to the gallery wall. Drawing and erasing with charcoal reflects the transient shifting nature of the relationship between people and the surrounding living environment.
  • The exhibition for  is currently showing at Sheffield's Millennium Gallery featuring 23 shortlisted artists (from 600+ entries) until 12th October 2014.  Artwork by the selected artists varies from traditional techniques to contemporary visions of Britain.
  • The theme and condition for the third John Ruskin Prize will be announced in October.

Packing Room Prize

Call for Entries

Art Exhibitions


Global exhibitions

In Grounded: the great art treasures that no longer go out on the road, The Guardian explains the various reasons why art no longer travels - and stays at home. They range from inherent fragility or value to weight!

Exhibitions in London

Art Society Exhibitions

Art Galleries


Art Materials & Supplies

Art media

Art Suppliers

  • Pencils4artists has supplied a handy sized version of the Luminance Colour Chart on its website 
  • Great Art has now its catalogue online at http://ecatalogue.greatart.co.uk but I'm not very impressed with the search capability or navigation. That said this is a frequent problem with catalogues going online so we'll just have to see how they tackle it and they already have the scope to take orders with their existing website. Being able to find what you want and then go through a very simple process to order it is the "make or break" element to eventual usage of a site so it's very critical to get it right.  GA are still doing much better than Atlantis Art Materials and Art Supplies which is still running an extremely antiquated site and a 2012 catalogue.

Art Schools and Education


and finally......


Giants came to Liverpool last weekend in the form of colossal puppets. This is the article by the Guardian about Royal de Luxe's Merseyside spectacular which was an emotional tribute to lives lost in the first world war


PS I'm 3 "likes" away from 2,500 likes for my Making A Mark Facebook Page - will you be the 2,500th?

Saturday, July 05, 2014

There will now be an interlude.....

I'm taking a break from blogging for a week or so while I give some priority to other things going on in my life - but will hopefully be back soon.

Here's a new drawing.....

City of London from Tate Modern
pen and sepia ink and coloured pencils

© Katherine Tyrrell



Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Edward Sutcliffe wins BP Travel Award 2014

Edward Sutcliffe with Copycat - with Li Wu Da
Oil on canvas, 150 x 60cm

This is the proposal which won Edward Sutcliffe the BP Travel Award 2014 (£6,000).

Any artist who submits work for the BP Portrait Award can also submit a proposal for the BP Travel Award - but your proposal is only reviewed if you are selected for exhibition.

The Travel Award is based on the idea that an artist of merit should have the opportunity to work in a different environment on a project related to portraiture. The portraits painted as a result of the project then receive their own mini exhibition in the following year’s Portrait Exhibition.  Which means you are then able to say you have had an exhibition of your work in the National Portrait Gallery!

The proposals have been wide-ranging and have resulted in exhibitions which appear to have an ever increasing high standard. So if you submit beware you have a very high standard to live up to.

‘Straight Outta Compton’ BP Travel Award Proposal 2014 – Portraits from Compton Cricket Club


A few miles south of the glitz and glamour of Hollywood lies Compton, an area of Los Angeles synonymous with poverty and crime. It was from this environment twenty years ago that Compton Cricket Club was formed as an initiative to help encourage and empower the disaffected youth of a neighbourhood pulsing with gangs and lawlessness. It is their amazing story, rich in character and powerful in emotion that I am inspired to paint.

It is my ambition to Travel to Los Angeles this summer and witness this wonderful group of people that have transformed their lives through Compton Cricket Club. By spending as much time with the team as possible (whether on the pitch or in their everyday lives) and seeing the impact playing cricket has had on these amazing individuals from some of L.A.'s toughest streets, I will be able draw, paint and document the players, producing a group of astonishing portraits to be included in next year’s exhibition.

Cricket is a wonderfully chivalrous game that has never lost its Victorian ethos of fair play and I want my work from this project to be a series of startling paintings that fuse the starched whites and leather on willow (typified so vividly in the portraits on display at Lords) with tattoos, low slung jeans, and baseball caps that have come to symbolise the distinctive visual culture of South Central Los Angeles.

I have recently made contact with Katy Haber, the founder of Compton Cricket club and the club captain , Ted Hayes. Since the formation of the club they have both helped to arrange tours to the UK, Australia and are even currently arranging a trip to South Africa. They are both very excited about the possibility of my visit and feel it would be fantastic for the club. They have suggested where and when I should visit and would be invaluable in helping me to successfully complete this project.

Travelling for three weeks this summer will give me enough time to gather all the source material to produce a series of paintings for the following June. Budgeting £1000 for flights, £2500 for accommodation and living expenses, £700 for equipment for the trip and a further £1500 for materials and framing, I can successfully complete this project for under £6,000.

I believe that having this opportunity will enable me to create an exhibition of portraits that show an amazing visual fusion of two very different cultures and tell a wonderful story of the people that have fallen for the game of cricket embracing it's ethos of fair play and honestly.
   Edward SutcliffeApril 2014

More about past years of the BP Travel Award 

See my previous posts on this blog

Copycat by Edward Sutcliffe with Li Wu Da


Edward Sutcliffe is an 'old hand' at the BP Portrait Award. He has had work included in the exhibition in 2000, 2007, 2009-2012. His painting this year is of John Myatt - a well known art forger. Sutcliffe works in a highly realistic style and is interested in the processes of copying and mimicry, He commissioned Chinese artist Li Wu Da to paint the appended distorted mirror image of the portrait at the foot of the panel to add a further copy and reinterpretation.

What I liked most about this portrait is that on the face of it looks highly realistic until you look at it closely. That's when you realise that the skin is made up of an intense pattern of calligraphic type squiggles. In a way it's akin to a Chuck Close painting which looks very real at a distance and much less so close up.  It's abstraction within realism - something I've always found very curious and entertaining and so much more interesting than a straight copy of a photograph!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...