Wednesday, July 31, 2013

ING Discerning Eye 2013: Call for Entries


ING Discerning Eye - selected works
The 2013 ING Discerning Eye Art Competition is an opportunity for artists who produce small artworks.

The Call for Entries has been issued and the deadline is 7 September 2013

Below you can find:

  • a summary of the information for artists re who can enter what etc
  • informaiton about the deadlines and dates and where to find information about regional collection points
  • a note about the judges - with links to websites
  • a summary of information about prizes
  • links to websites and my blog posts showing images of the art selected and hung in past exhibitions for those unfamiliar with this art competition.

Do bear in mind that the selectors change each year.
The exhibition comprises both publicly submitted works and works independently selected by six prominent figures from different areas of the art world: two artists, two collectors and two critics. Each section is hung separately to give each its own distinctive identity. The impression emerges of six small exhibitions within the whole.
The competition is sponsored by  ING Commercial Banking.

Summary of Call for Entries - core information

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Liz Steel is in London and sketching High Tea!

Sketching High Tea at Fortnum & Masons - 3 hours after we started.....
I was 'missing in action' yesterday because "the famous Liz Steel" (Liz and Borromini; Sketching Architecture) arrived in London and together we visited the 245th Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts. (See 10 reasons to visit the RA Summer Exhibition 2013).

Followed by a walk across the road to the 4th floor of Fortnum & Mason in Piccadilly and High Tea in the Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon.

Liz and I arrived at 4.15pm and we left nearly 5 hours later - such a lot of catching up, talking and sketching with my fellow Urban Sketcher!

This is the scene at 7.30pm. I'm sketching in Coloured Pencils and Liz is painting in watercolour (in her 4th sketchbook of her trip!).  At this stage we've both eaten a savoury starter and our cream tea and sketched the patisserie twice and eaten none of them.  One more cake and one more sketch to go!

Right click the photo and open in a new tab to see a much bigger image of our unfinished sketches.

You can see:
You can also see more sketches of Liz's trip to Europe and photos of her participation in the Urban Sketchers Symposium in Barcelona on her Flickr Photostream.

Note:  We had a big giggle about the number of times she's now heard the term "the famous Liz Steel" in introductions or responses from people on first meeting her.  It's truly amazing how sketching can change your life - and international status! :)

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Animal and Wildlife Art - Two exhibitions

There are two exhibitions this month for animal and wildlife art. You can find details below of:
  • the Summer Exhibition of the Association of Animal Artists
  • the National Exhibition of Wildlife Art (NEWA)
Finally, I offer some points to ponder for groups of artists who want to mount exhibitions of artwork in places which are not commercial galleries.


The Association of Animal Artists - Summer Exhibition

The Summer Exhibition of the Association of Animal Artists (AAA) opens today at The Haworth Gallery in Accrington, Lancashire and continues until 15th September 2013.

Below are a few facts about the association for all those animal art fans who are not familiar with it

This is a relatively new art society. It was founded in 2009 with the aim of focusing on all types of animal art.
We are unique in that, not only do we welcome work of ANY animal, be it mammal, bird, reptile, fish or even insect, but, importantly, we also include the domestic animals we share our lives with, such as dogs, cats, horses and farm animals.
It welcome all styles of art - from traditional and detailed to more painterly and expressive.

AAA  is also an association which places a big emphasis on supporting charities which help animals - which I've found to be very common characteristic across groups founded by animal artists.  These are people where the subject matter really matters!
AAA is committed to supporting its animal charity partners and actively works to promote them, including Lancashire Constabulary Retired Police Horse Benevolent Fund, World Horse Welfare, Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (Martin Mere Wetland Centre) and the Thoroughbred Rehabilitation Centre.
It's also an association which encourages artists to work from life or to try something new and learn how to do so.

Their preview event today is being filmed by the Society of All Artists.

A spot of red (Woodpecker) by Gayle Mason
My friend animal and wildlife artist Gayle Mason (Fur in the Paint | Facebook Pageis a member of AAA and is displaying three works of art in the exhibition. 

Venue: Haworth Art Gallery, Manchester Road, Accrington, Lancashire BB5 2JS
Dates: 27 July - 15 September 2013
Times: Wednesday, Thursday, Friday 12 noon to 4.45pm and Saturday, Sunday 12 noon to 4.15pm
Admission: Open to all and admission is free - plus free parking.

National Exhibition of Wildlife Art


The 2013 National Exhibition of Wildlife Art opened last Friday and continues unto August 4th at its normal venue - the Gordale Garden Centre, Chester High Rd South Wirral, Burton CH64 8TF

This year is their 20th anniversary and in 20 years it has grown to become a very popular show - particularly with collectors who don't like to spend the time or the expense of visiting London.  That said visitors actually come from all over the UK.

You can see an online gallery of the artwork in the exhibition online.  They've always been overlayed with a watermark but this year it's absolutely HUGE watermarks which completely spoils the viewing of the artwork.

There's a balance to be struck between making sure images aren't stolen and actually being able to see the image in the first place.  Maybe the organisers could experiment with smaller images with a much smaller watermark and one page of images per artist?

The exhibition is usually very successful and has consistently sold a large percentage of the works on show.  In 2011, they sold 50%.  Whether this is via the show or because they put large images on the website is unclear.

The exhibition also siphons money from sales of original artwork to support the charitable work of Tusk, Chester Zoo and the Wildlife Trusts.

Prizewinners


Below are the names of the artists who have won prizes at the show.  I've also included links to their websites in their names - which means you can see better images of their artwork on their websites.  The links in the titles are to the artists websites.

Arquadia Award: Catalogue Number: 367 Tawny Owl and 368 Back At The Hen House by Julie Vernon

Chester Zoo Award: Catalogue Number: 18 I Spy by Susan Baxter

Daler Rowney Award: Catalogue Number: 108 Jungle Spirit (jaguar)109 My Girl (wigeon) and 110 Peacock Butterfly  by Paul Dyson

David Cook Drawing Award: 

Focus Optic AwardCatalogue Number: 264 Cuttlefish and Catalogue Number: 264 Seahorses by Nicolas Pain 

Great Art AwardCatalogue Number: 327 The Coalition and Catalogue Number: 328 The Procession by Katy Sodeau (Equestrian and Wildlife Artist)

Iris Print AwardCatalogue Number: 333 Living Fossil, agama Lizard by Ann Squire 
Rosemary & Co Award

Rosemary & Co Award: Catalogue Number: 342 In Harmony With The Water and Catalogue Number: 343 Otter Branching Out by Rhian Symes

The Countryman Award - for  'The most outstanding work on an avian theme'
Catalogue Number: 23 Godwits At Dusk; Catalogue Number: 24 On The Edge (dunlin) and Catalogue Number: 25 To The Air (turnstone) by Andrew Beckett

Welsh Border Life Award 

Venue: Gordale Garden Centre, Chester High Rd South Wirral, Burton CH64 8TF  View On Map
Dates: July 19th - August 4th
Times: open daily from 9:30am - 6:00pm with late night viewing on Thursdays until 8:30pm.
Admission: Free - plus free parking


Putting on an art exhibition - points to ponder on


For those thinking of getting new ventures off the ground in terms of exhibitions to display artwork by groups of artists here are a few points to to ponder on.
  • Art Collectors also live outside London! ;) Think about venues which have easy access from all parts of the UK.  Being near to a motoroway junction can make a big difference.
  • Free car parking can make the difference between people coming once and coming again this year and next year and in years to come.
  • Venues which are accessible by public transport can help visitor numbers (although I personally suspect free car parking is more important!  Views on this topic are most welcome!)
  • You can exhibit art in a gallery - but it doesn't need to be a commercial gallery.  Check out the opportunities offered by local authorities
  • You can exhibit art outside galleries - think about the type of venues which are compatible with your art and the interests of your collectors
  • Check the set-up in terms of people handling sales and the need to staff the exhibition with artists involved in the exhibition
  • Never ever under-estimate the time involved in planning, setting up, running and taking down an exhibition.  There is a very good reason why most art groups only have one big exhibition a year!
  • Do NOT forget the marketing or the time this needs.  These days marketing often means website, blog, twitter account, Facebook Page, flyers, articles for journals, mailshots to interested parties and advertising in relevant national and local press.  The important bit is to assess afterwards which aspects of marketing made a big difference and which were a bit of a waste of time.

QUESTION: What are your best tips for new art groups who want to exhibit their the artwork of their members?


Links to my related "Resources for Artists" websites

Friday, July 26, 2013

Who painted this? #37

Who painted this? #37
I make no secret of the fact that I like artists who can paint a group of people in a naturalistic way - as this artist has done with this painting.

But where are they - and who painted them?  (...and the rest!)

My clue this week is that I once tried portraying the same scene but ended up opting for the architecture rather than the people - who I ended up sketching separately.

For those who've not risen to the challenge before please take a minute to read the rules - see below.

How to participate in "Who painted this? #37"


PLEASE make sure you read the rules before posting a comment - and ONLY POST ON THIS BLOG what you think is the answer.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Derwent Art Prize 2013 - Selected Works & Artists

This is the Gallery of  Artwork selected for The Derwent Art Prize.

Below you can find the list of artists with the works selected for the Derwent Art Prize Exhibition.

This post follows on from my earlier posts:

Derwent Art Prize - a further selection of the images in the Website Gallery

For some reason it was announced in any old order - neither alphabetical by first name, surname or title of the work. Which is great if you believe that the alphabet plays a part in selection and not so good if you're looking for the name of a particular artist!

I've reordered them into an alphabetical order - see below.

The link in the artist's name is to their website - if they have one.  One of the reasons I've done this (this post has taken two days to write!) is because I think all those who are critical of the selection should maybe take a longer look at the artwork produced by the artists whose artwork has been selected.

There's always a question of taste when it comes to selection - but there's also a question of the extent to which people have dedicated their lives to being a contemporary artist and the extent to which this is recognised by people viewing the work.

The link in the title of the work is to the web page where you can see a large image of the pencil art selected by the judges.  I've then given the art medium used - although I understand there was no scope to state if more than one pencil medium had been used

I'm also including references I can find to any other prizes they've been selected for and/or won - in part to illustrate to those who are questioning the selection that more than one set of judges has rated an artist's work.

Derwent Art Prize - Selected Works & Artists

Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Derwent Art Prize - a discussion

Earlier this year I wrote this post NEW! The Derwent Art Prize - for pencil art about a new art competition with a major prize £5,000 for artists working in pencil.  It was great to see pencil art being taken seriously and the scope for some serious prizes for artwork in pencil.

The deadline for entries has passed. The judges have now reviewed the entries (artists were allowed to submit upto six) and there is now a gallery on the website with a number of images - some of which are excellent.

Derwent Art Prize - a selection of the images in the Website Gallery

However a number of issues have been thrown up by the prize and I'll try and summarise them below.  I'll also be commenting on the selected artists next week - when matters become somewhat clearer than they are at present.
  • Dismay at the Judges Selection. The gallery of selected works are predominantly graphite despite the range of pencils available.  
    • The selection - in terms of both subject matter and media - is being heavily criticised by some artists in public and in private groups.  It's certainly not impressed a number of pencil artists with a presence online - with some of the comments being quite vitriolic!
    • It's possible that the selection says a lot about the judges experience of different types of pencil.  I'm also really surprised that very little work in pastel, watercolour or coloured pencils has been selected - particularly if one assumes that one of the objectives of the competition is to raise the profile of pencil art in all its scope.  
    • However my impression is that some of the artists' comments may say more about the person making the comment then they do about the artwork selected for this prize.  My overwhelming impression is of artists who demonstrate little awareness of the range of contemporary art seen in major art competitions. 
    • I do agree that it is disappointing that the selection shown in the gallery does fail to fulfil what must have been one of the main objectives of this prize - to reveal what can be achieved by the variety of different types of pencil which are available today. However "it takes two to tango" - and selection is as much dependent on what is presented as on who gets to decide what is selected.
  • Utter confusion over The People's Choice Award. For some reason artists believe that all artwork is eligible or at least one image submitted by each artist. It's certainly the case the works which have not been selected by the Judges had been loaded to the website and had voting buttons next to their name in the last 48 hours. These have since been removed. However:
    • I can't find anything in the FAQs or the terms and conditions which suggests that ALL artworks submitted would be eligible for the People's Choice Awards
    • It's certainly convention of most, if not all, art competitions for a People's Choice Award  to be chosen from artworks selected for exhibition.  Why would it be otherwise?
Approximately 80 works will be selected for exhibition at the Mall Galleries, London, United Kingdom on 16 – 21 September 2013
  • Images in the gallery are let down by website structure and presentation:
    • no sizes given for the artwork - impossible to tell whether they are large or small - and this matters!  This is absolutely VITAL for any digital exhibition of artwork - speaking as one who has looked at many exhibitions of artwork online and then in an exhibition!  It is also particularly important for any art competition with online voting as the image relative to size should be an important part of the assessment process.
    • alphabetical listing is by title NOT as per the common convention for all art websites ie artist's surname
    • no slideshow available or ability to to page through the images. The website requires you to keep returning to the main page.  This becomes EXTREMELY TEDIOUS if you are reviewing all the images on the website - as one should before casting a vote.  [NOTE: That's assuming you're not casting a vote because you know the artist and they've shown you their image on Facebook on in forum or a private group online.  I implemented a strict "no lobbying" rule for my Making A Mark Awards having seen what happens when one artist posts an image on a popular website.]
    • images have been loaded on to the website which have not been selected for exhibition.  Why?  Is this because images appeared on the website as soon as they were uploaded?  I can't work out how anybody could ever access them except via what is evidently the artist's own link to their work (ie the ones I've seen have been via a link provided by the artist)
    • this is a link to the company making the website with their comments
    • Please note that the comments I've made are based on NOT having registered for the website.  That's because I don't give out my telephone number to websites unless absolutely necessary.  I'm not persuaded it's necessary for the purpose of voting - so won't be voting.
My own view - as a coloured pencil artist - has always been that if coloured pencil artwork is good enough as ART (as opposed to demonstrations of burnishing etc!), then it will have no difficulty being selected for art competitions and exhibitions by a variety of national art societies (If it's good enough for David Hockney etc....). However the commitment of very many pencil and coloured pencil artists to realistic and hyper-realistic artwork is not one shared by many judges of art competitions. One of the questions which CP artists might usefully address is whether the artistic attributes and nature of the artwork being produced in coloured pencil meets the standards of national art competitions and exhibitions when judged by people who are not CP artists.  The assessment of the standard of ART executed in pencil media needs to be made by people who are independent of the media - and this competition presents a wonderful opportunity for this to happen.

There are some who think there's no such thing as bad publicity.  I'm rather more inclined to think that the concept behind the Prize is excellent but the execution to date has been a little wobbly and that hasn't helped Derwent's image in all quarters of the pencil world.

Can I emphasise that it's not at all unusual for the first year of any competition to have a few wobbles. Let's hope all is resolved by next week.

I'll comment further on the selected artists when the list is formally confirmed - which I understand will be Monday - when the voting will also begin.

However I still won't be voting.  I provide email addresses to websites but not telephone numbers!  I might just say which images impress me at this stage though......

Friday, July 19, 2013

Who painted this? #36

Yesterday I published a post about a botanical art exhibition - and today we have a painting of flowers.  But who painted it - and where does it live now?

Who painted this? #36

For those who've not risen to the challenge before please take a minute to read the rules - see below.

How to participate in "Who painted this? #36"


PLEASE make sure you read the rules before posting a comment - and ONLY POST ON THIS BLOG what you think is the answer.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Hunt Institute 14th International Exhibition of Botanical Art & Illustration - selected artists

Later this year, the 14th International Exhibition of Botanical Art & Illustration will be held at The Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation. The exhibition will include 41 artworks by 41 artists from 10 countries.  

The exhibition will be on display between 27 September and 19 December 2013 on the 5th floor of the Hunt Library building at Carnegie Mellon University.  The exhibition is open to the public free of charge. 

The International Exhibition is held every three years and was established by the The Institute in 1964 in order to support and encourage contemporary botanical artists. It features the works of talented botanical artists from around the world.  The artists who enter are:
  • top class botanical artists
  • ... who live anywhere in the world (this is an international exhibition)
  • ... who have NOT had artwork accepted and displayed in the Hunt Institute’s series of International Exhibitions
Heath-leaved Banksia, Banksia ericifolia L.f. [Banksia ericifolia Linnaeus filius, Proteaceae],
watercolor on paper, 38.5 x 57 cm,
by Julie Dagmar Nettleton (Australia), 2012,
HI Art accession no. 8038,
©2012 Julie Dagmar Nettleton, All Rights Reserved
Banksia ericifolia is believed to be the first plant specimen collected by Sir Joseph Banks at Botany Bay in 1770. Then in 1782 Carl Linnaeus named the genus Banksia in honour of Banks. It is an Australian native and a species characteristic of Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub which is found on North Head, Manly on Sydney Harbour. 

Selected Artists


The selected artists for the 14th International Exhibition of Botanical Art & Illustration are listed below.  I've said something about them if I've written about them before plus I've reviewed information on their websites:

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Sketching slideshow - iPhoto to slideshow to Quicktime Movie

Today I learned how to create a slideshow of a sketch I did yesterday when we visited the wonderful garden at Great Dixter in Kent.  I've already written about the visit on my Travels with a Sketchbook blog (see A step by step sketch of the Long Border at Great Dixter).

However I wanted to see if I could create a slideshow for this blog and Facebook of the step by step photos I took of the sketch as it was progressing.

First here's the slideshow, then I'll tell you how I got it!  I personally think it looks best in HD format on Facebook.  Apologies to those who saw this post early and got the wrong size version!



Those who know me well will realise I'm writing down the instructions of how to do it next time otherwise I'll try to do it again and won't be able to remember a thing about what I did.

How to produce a slideshow for your blog


I saved my six photos as 1000 pixels wide @72 dpi figuring that should be about right for Facebook!

Then came the search for the bit of software which would put them together in a slideshow which I could put on this blog.

It didn't start well!

First I reviewed both PS Elements 11 and iMovie to see if either would allow me to produce a short slideshow from six slides and concluded this wasn't going to be easy - and I couldn't see how it was possible!

Next I tried out searching for "how to" and came up with virtually nothing other than dodgy chaps who wanted me to try their app.  I'm "app averse" unless it has a good reputation and lots of people have already adopted it so that closed off that avenue.

Finally I took a look at iPhoto - and it transpired this has a "create a slideshow" option.

Here's what you have to do to create a slideshow of an art process or paintings or whatever you want it to be about

  1. Identify the photos you want to use.
  2. rename them with the titles you want to use as captions if you want captions to show
    • If you review the slideshow you'll see I gave mine a narrative description of the stage of the sketch eg add coloured pencils
  3. Import photos to iPhoto and identify their location
  4. You need to add any information to the image at this stage
    • click the little "i" bottom right hand corner of the photo to add information
    • locate photo on a map to show where it was taken if appropriate
    • provide a description of what is happening in photo if appropriate
    • provide a title for the photo/slide
    • repeat for each photo in the slideshow if you want there to be a commentary on what's happening
  5. Click the + sign at the bottom left of the screen in iPhoto
  6. Choose slideshow from the drop down menu
  7. Save the slideshow with a title - these are the words which will appear on the first image as the title for the slideshow.  There's no scope to add copyright info so I started the title with the copyright symbol and my name
  8. Review how long each slide should appear for -  I used 7 seconds
  9. Review themes, music and the rest of settings - all fairly self-explanatory
  10. Bottom right of screen - click Export and this exports the slideshow to a move format which was Quicktime in this instance.
  11. Choose the size based on where the movie will be viewed.  I chose 960 x 540 pixels which gave 30fps and an 8.8MB filesize
  12. Upload to Facebook and YouTube and/or video host of your choice and make sure you've chosen the right size file!

That's about it.  I bet I've forgotten something! ;)

Let me know what you think about the video.

Please also share with us how you create slideshows as videos.

Monday, July 15, 2013

15th July 2013 - Who's made a mark this week?

I'm still trying to find a way of making this post regular and interesting and at the same time avoiding it wiping out me and my Sunday every single week.

I think the model I'm now going to try is one which involves a greater integration with my public facing Making A Mark Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/makingamark2) - for those on Facebook.

Making A Mark - Official Facebook Page
That way I have a tool to help me construct a post plus it allows me to see which type of posts interest the people who follow me - which is good feedback to have.  So:
  • I already list  every blog post on my Facebook Page - so it's a bit like having a feedreader(!) - and will continue to do this.  As with the feed for my blog to read the post you need to click the link.
  • I also frequently share posts by organisations or artists I follow on Facebook
  • Plus I also share links to things I've spotted which interest me
By basing "who's made a mark this week" in part on the public Facebook posts it also enables me to give access to extra info to all those not on Facebook.

Plus I'll carry on with posts which attract my attention from wherever!

One more thing - as the good summer weather has arrived my man and I will be getting about and about more - which means lightweight posting so long as the good weather lasts. (I probably shouldn't have said that - there will be an inevitable crack of thunder any minute.....)


Artists & Art Blogs


Artists Psychology 

Botanical Art and Artists

Coloured Pencils and Pastels

Drawing and Sketching

This last week it's been the 4th International Urban Sketching Symposium in Barcelona.  Here's a sample of some of the blog posts and images it has created
Plus the 1st Annual West Coast Urban Sketchers' Sketchcrawl - San Francisco Bay Area ran the weekend of July 12 - 14, in the San Francisco Bay Area for those unable to get to the Barcelona Symposium.  It has a blog (click above link) and its very own map of places to go to sketch

Painting and Painters

  • Richard Schmid Artist and Author is the link to Richard Schmid's new Facebook Page published in advance of the new revised edition of ALLA PRIMA II--Everything I Know About Painting. It publishes in September 2013 and will be 100 pages longer than last time.  Hopefully this time somebody will suggest a good BIG print run!
  • Another Richard - Richard Salter, an army artist features in the current edition of Artists & Illustrators - see Richard Salter the army artist. Now which of you paint with an easel like this and a very big bit of kit hanging over your shoulder?  You can view his Kabul paintings at the Mall Galleries this week - see below
  • Haidee-Jo Summers (Haidee-Jo Summers artist - ma vie en couleurs ) has been painting non-stop while on a plein air trip to Cornwall - see her step by steps in
Three days work by Haidee-Jo Summers - a mini exhibition in Mousehole
Rick Delanty - Plein air kit: annotated drawing

Vision

Who painted this? 


Art Business & Marketing

Art Galleries

Art Fairs

  • Having moved from New Hampshire to Washington State, Nicole Caulfield (Nicole Caulfield Fine Art) is starting out again with weekend art fairs in Portland and trying new ways of displaying her art.  Worth following as Nicole always seems to me to be spotting new ways of doing things.  Here's her first Saturday market!
  • Do any of you do art fairs on a regular basis - and would you like to share your stand?  Let me know - leave a comment.

Copyright

  • Photographer Mark Meyer has contributed an interesting blog post discussing transformative use within the context of the Richard Prince legal case and the fact that transformative use is actually specifically identified in law as a right retained by the copyright holder.  See Copyright: How did transformative use become fair use?

Marketing

Art Economy & Collectors

Art Exhibitions

Art Exhibitions in London

  • My visit to the Dulwich Picture Gallery came in the middle of a rash of exhibition openings which my eyes were not ecstatic about. Hence the delayed review - Review: Nash, Nevinson, Spencer, Gertler, Carrington, Bomberg: A Crisis of Brilliance. I think you'll get more out of this exhibition if you read the book first
  • This is my Review: Laura Knight Portraits, the NEW exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, London - opens 11 July until 13 October 2013. I really enjoyed my visit to the new exhibition of portraits by Dame Laura Knight (1877 - 1970). She was the first woman artist to become a Dame and the first to be granted a retrospective exhibition by the RA. Well worth visiting if only for the extremely impressive room of portraits relating to the Second World War.  
  • Jonathan Jones 

Art Society Exhibitions

Art Exhibitions in the UK

Between 1946 and 1955 the company commissioned three series of prints, some 40 in all, from most of the leading British artists of the day.
  • August 2013 marks the hundredth anniversary of Duchamp’s stay in Herne Bay. This website celebrates the centenary. It sounds so incongruous you have to take a look. 

Art Exhibitions in the USA

As I had hoped, I was able to get to the show in Brooklyn, and… wow. Just wow. I’ve insisted for years that Sargent should receive greater credit as a painter — credit he is finally receiving, along with increased recognition and popularity — but my already high assessment of his skills was raised even further by this show.

Art Education

Artists & Art Tutors

Art Books

  • So depressing! I've just had a list of new titles for review from a major art publisher and 80% are about drawing manga and zentangle! Pish!! Whatever happened to Fine Art? If you like proper art books why not try my website Making A Mark Book Lists which provides one bookmark to recommended art books lists for both artists and art lovers. 
  • For all those thinking of writing a book and going down the Creative Commons route this is a very helpful "how to" - HOWTO Negotiate a Creative Commons License: Ten Steps

Workshops and Events

  • There's lots of interesting talks, courses and workshops on the Royal Watercolour Society's Events Page - I'm just wondering what the Clore Room one involves which isn't available for free. The Royal Watercolour Society is based at Bankside Gallery (48 Hopton Street, London SE1 9JH), located on the south bank of the River Thames next to Tate Modern. 

Art Videos

Art History

Art Materials & supplies

Art Videos

Opinion Poll

Techies

  • For all those who still haven't done anything about their Google Reader data
All Google Reader subscription data (eg. lists of people that you follow, items you have starred, notes you have created, etc.) will be systematically deleted from Google servers. You can download a copy of your Google Reader data via Google Takeout until 12PM PST July 15, 2013.
  • Google has also terminated the RSS feed for Google Alerts - they now want everybody to subscribe through email.  As if no other feedreaders exist! 

and finally......


I'm becoming a huge fan of Grayson Perry - however even I was surprised by this article in The Guardian as he reveals yet another aspect to his artistic influence - see The great Grayson Perry frock competition
(Note: For those not "in the know" Grayson Perry - or rather his alter ego, Claire - likes wearing frocks)

Friday, July 12, 2013

Who painted this? #35

Who painted this? #35

It's worth mulling over that there's very often a connection between the painting I choose and what I've been writing about in the last week.

I can't tell you how many incredibly boring battle and war paintings I looked at before deciding to try a different tack!

How to participate in "Who painted this? #35"


PLEASE make sure you read the rules before posting a comment - and ONLY POST ON THIS BLOG what you think is the answer.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Review: Laura Knight Portraits

Yesterday I went to see Laura Knight Portraits - the first major exhibition ever dedicated to portraits by Dame Laura Knight at the National Portrait Gallery in London. It opened to the public today and runs until 13th October 2013.

Dame Laura Knight - War Artist
(left to right) The Dock at Nuremberg, charcoal study of the British prosecutor David Maxwell Fyfe
Ruby Loftus screwing a breech ring and Switch Works© The Estate of Dame Laura Knight DBE RA, 2013
The exhibition includes over 40 paintings and drawings and is ordered in a chronological sequence across her artistic career.  I'm going to include photographs taken in the exhibition in this review - but will also refer you to specific paintings on the Laura Knight section of the BBC Your Paintings website where you can see much bigger reproductions online.  So click the links if you'd like a better look and they'll open in a new window!

It's also a perspective on life in her chosen corners of Britain in the first half of the 20th century.

I was interested in Dame Laura Knight before this exhibition. However having seen the exhibition and listened to the Curator's Introduction to her story of these paintings within the context of her life I'm now a lot more interested.

About Laura Knight


Dame Laura Knight (1877 - 1970) was the first woman artist to be made a Dame of the British Empire, in 1929 in her mid 50s.  She was also only the second woman artist (after Anne Surymerton) to be admitted as a full member of the Royal Academy of Arts in 1936 having been admitted as an Associate Member in 1927.  It has to be said that this was an era when the avant garde artists were not queuing up to become members!  It was said at the time that the RA needed Laura Knight as much as Laura Knight needed the RA!

Her art education involved her enrolment at the Nottingham School of Art at the age of 13 (in 1890). She was probably the youngest pupil they ever enrolled.  She was a student there until 1895 when her other died and Laura had to start earning - by taking on her mother's pupils.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Review: Nash, Nevinson, Spencer, Gertler, Carrington, Bomberg: A Crisis of Brilliance

The exhibition Nash, Nevinson, Spencer, Gertler, Carrington, Bomberg: A Crisis of Brilliance, 1908 – 1922 (12 June – 22 September 2013) is the pictorial consequence of a group biography A Crisis of Brilliance: Five Young British Artists and the Great War which was published to much acclaim in 2009 - and is a great read!  Its this year's summer exhibition at the Dulwich Picture Gallery.  The book's author David Boyd Haycock is also the curator of the exhibition.

At the time of its publication Jenny Uglow in The Guardian wrote 
We should call for a joint exhibition of their work, to complement the moving portrayal of their lives in this engrossing and enjoyable book.” 
and so it has come to pass.  The exhibition includes a wide range of works from major national collections (including Tate, the British Museum, the National Portrait Gallery, the V&A and the National Gallery of Canada); as well as from regional galleries in Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester, Oxford, Southampton and Barnsley; and important and rarely seen works from a number of private collections.  It features over 70 original works by the group and explores the artists’ development

David Boyd Haycock, the curator and author, in the first room of the Exhibition
The exhibition essentially tries to tell the story of a group of artists who had two things in common .

Monday, July 08, 2013

POLL: Which is the best platform for art videos?

More and more artists are producing art videos - for the purposes of promoting their art or as art instruction - or as I do just simply for sharing what an exhibition or the interior of a gallery looks like.

The Making A Mark poll for July is about finding out where's the best place to put them once you've created a video. In other words, it's trying to identify what most people think is the best platform.

POLL: Which is the best platform for art videos?


  • YouTube
  • Vimeo
  • Flickr
  • DVD for sale
  • Something else

You can vote as a video maker or as a video viewer or both.

This is a link to the poll - which you can also find in the right hand column.  It closes at the end of the month and the results will be reported on this blog soon after.

During this month I'll be trying to find out more about:
  • making art videos
  • best uses for art videos
  • software for making videos (next month's poll maybe?)
  • where else videos can be published
If you have any useful information about making videos which you want to share with readers - please leave a comment below.

All my videos are on the Making A Mark Videos Channel on YouTube (see below and link in the side column) - but I'm not sure that's the best place for them - it was just the place which first sprang to mind once I realised they were too long for Flickr!  YouTube made learn how to do channel art in order to do this post!

Making A Mark Videos Channel on YouTube



Sunday, July 07, 2013

How to live with Introverts

This is a great guide to a Printable Infographic about How to Live with Introverts - a.k.a. people who think painting alone in their studios or plein air is the best thing ever!  I think it's a really brilliant explanation for the big difference between Introverts and Extroverts and who some artists hate going to their own Private Views!

INFOGRAPHIC: How to Live with Introverts Guide Printable
copyright SchroJones

I'm intrigued as to the psychological profiles of artists and how they function in society - and within art societies.


I have a theory that it's very likely that the percentage of artists in the population who are introverted will be much higher than the average for the population as a whole

I'm also trying to work out how to do a poll about this - but am currently stuck!  Any suggestions?

This Infographic (or 'Comic') has been produced by Schroeder Jones This link is to a printable copy

UPDATE


I forgot! Last year I did a poll about artists and introversion and extroversion - read the results in my blog post Artists are Introverts! Discuss...

This was the result of the poll

Chart of responses to Making A Park Poll (April 2012)


There's no "who's made a mark today" because:
  • it's very hot
  • Andy Murray is playing in the Finals at Wimbledon!
Update - he won - to be the first male Brit to win Wimbledon for 77 years in a match played on the 7th day of the 7th month!


Friday, July 05, 2013

Who painted this? #34

Who painted this? #34
Not your average subject matter! I have a feeling people will get identify this painting by recognising the style of painting and the palette - although I could be wrong.  I know the painter well but have never seen this image before today.

How to participate in "Who painted this? #33"


PLEASE make sure you read the rules before posting a comment - and ONLY POST ON THIS BLOG what you think is the answer.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

How to list art exhibitions on a CV or website

At the beginning of June I asked you How do you list your exhibitions on CV or website?

You've been responding all June and the poll received 166 responses.

The three most popular options


In order of popularity, the three top ways of listing art exhibitions on a CV or website were:
  1. always most recent exhibition first (28%)
  2. always include year of exhibition (20%)
  3. always include title of exhibition (18%)
How do you list your exhibitions on CV or website?
CLICK THE IMAGE to see the chart at full size

Always most recent exhibition first - This chimes well with the notion that people want to see what you've achieved recently and where your work can be seen at the present time.  They're much less interested in how you started out - so listings should always start with the most recent and work backwards.

Always include year of exhibition  - When an artist says he or she exhibited with a major art gallery - but it turns out that was many years ago - that undermines my confidence in that individual.  When I find there's actually a very good correlation between what the CV or website say and what the text says in their promotional material or website OF THE GALLERY, my trust in that artist is enhanced.  It's very unwise to say something on your website/CV which is not endorsed by the associated gallery.  (The most obvious one is to suggest you are a gallery artist when actually you showed a piece of art in a group show a long time ago!)

Also I want to see how an artist has progressed over the years.  Did they have a big bang and then tail off.  Does their career go in fits and starts? Or is it a steady upward trajectory in terms of frequency of exhibitions and steady improvement in the quality of the gallery where they show.

Always include title of exhibition - The titles of solo exhibitions are important because they provide a clue to what an artist is about. I'm personally not a fan of esoteric and obtuse titles for the sake of it.  My personal view is that titles also have less importance if essentially they relate to the annual exhibition of a group of artists.

Less popular options


Also in order of of descending popularity
  • every solo exhibition - date order
  • all group exhibitions - date order
  • select list of both solo and group exhibitions
  • all solo & major group exhibitions only 
Common sense obviously needs to be applied here.  Who ever reads long, long lists of exhibitions?  Not many I'll be bound - hence if you repeat the same exhibition every year then state the name and say when you started and how many times you've exhibited.

In contrast, which of you are impressed when an artist provides a sufficient but moderate amount of information e.g. the countries they've exhibited in or the names of people or institutions or museums who have the artists's work in their collections.  It always says "serious and highly rated artist" to me.

Think about it - it's rather like applying for a job.  When was the last time you mentioned the name of your primary school on a CV?  School qualifications become much less important as you achieve first and higher degrees and professional qualifications.  The same principle applies to exhibitions.  

Options which found little support


These are also in order but start with the LEAST POPULAR.
  • every solo exhibition - group by type / venue / date
  • always oldest exhibition first 
  • all group exhibitions - group by type / venue / date
We simply don't need to know it all. Keep a list by all means - but keep it on your computer not on your website or in your gallery's promotional materials.  Also do not go back to the year dot!

7 Tips for drafting lists of exhibitions


In summary:
  1. Keep it simple
  2. Understand what people want to know
  3. Stick to what's important
  4. Start with the most recent
  5. Eliminate the less important and the long ago
  6. Make sure your CV is always up to date
  7. Make sure your website is always current

I'll post the Making A Mark Poll for July on Saturday.


Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Better vision - occupational lenses for artists

Have you ever heard of occupational lenses for near and intermediate vision?

I learned something new when I visited my optician yesterday to get new prescriptions for intermediate and reading distances following my eye surgery (see Normal vision will be resumed as soon as possible). 

 I commented that I'd been thinking of having a pair of bifocals for computer and reading vision - but wanted to wait to see how I got on with my new computer glasses for occasional reading.

Occupational lenses


The optician told me that if I did a lot of reading at the same time as computer work I might be better off having some specific occupational lenses.  (Interestingly this is a topic which has not yet found its way onto Wikipedia!)

She told me that these are typically used by people who work with different and relatively short distances in their immediate workplace - basically any working situation where the emphasis needs to be very much on the whole of their near and intermediate vision.

People who benefit are crafts people like watchmakers, jewellers where the near sight can then be magnified to the level required for the precision and details required and the intermediate used for their vision of their workbench.

Occupational lenses are also commonly used by office workers whose working day is dominated by having to read (looking down - near) and use a computer screen (intermediate) at the same time.  Some of these are bifocals and others are varifocals.

It struck me that this is a solution for the many artists who work in a studio with repeated use of similar distances - such as the botanical artist working from life (ie why I was asking!)

I found this blog post Glasses for the office by Neil Dixon (stuph...) to be very useful to understanding how they work.  It's by somebody who had occupational lenses prescribed for the office but found them particularly beneficial for his leatherwork as well.  His diagram is very helpful.

Diagram by Neil Dixon which contrast regular varifocals with occupational varifocals
What they mean is much less bobbing or tilting of the head to find the best part of your lens to focus on what you're looking at.  

I found regular varifocals to be unsatisfactory for computer vision and opted for single vision lenses - however a much bigger intermediate area for screen / easel distance would seem likely to make a big difference to how useful they would be.

Enhanced near vision lenses


It's also possible to have glasses made with enhanced near vision lenses - with magnification to a specific distance.  This struck me as a much more straightforward solution for miniature artists than wearing the head magnifiers - particularly as the lenses in glasses can then be adjusted for any other optical quirk your eyes might have.  Prescription lenses would then reduce the scope for headaches. I know some artists have obtained these type of lenses as they've found them much easier to use than a freestanding or headband magnifier.

Assessing what sort of lenses are best - the visual task analysis


Unlike normal glasses where the optician is testing your ability to see letters and definition, the nature of occupational lenses means that the opticians needs to know a quite bit more about the nature of your workplace.

The following is an abbreviated extract from Occupational Dispensing - a detailed guide for dispensing opticians.  It highlights the sort of issues a dispensing optician needs to consider.
Visual task analysis
Before spectacles can be dispensed for occupational reasons, it is important to first conduct a visual task analysis to determine the patient’s specific needs. The primary details that need to be elicited are:
  • Task size – consider the size of the text/task and the field of view;
  • Working distance (WD) – this will dictate the power of the near addition and the range of distances which need to be catered for. 
  • Lighting – accurate perception needs optimum lighting, especially when reading, writing, driving and using a VDU. 
  • Contrast – black writing on a white background gives the best contrast so consider the patient’s tasks as to whether there will be difficulty in seeing objects in the work area; 
  • Colour vision – this is imperative in some occupations so lenses prescribed must be of a suitable material in order to maintain the quality of colour perception and not induce chromatic aberrations.
  • Stereopsis – the ability to judge depth is vital in certain occupations 
  • Whether the task is still or moving
  • The position of the patient and the task – the occupation may involve moving around the working environment and so the lens dispensed ideally should cater for this or at least not cause inadvertent increased risk of injury. 
  • Possibility of hazard - the dispenses lenses must provide adequate protection

My tip

Take the guesswork out of a consultation with your dispensing optician and provide facts! A very good way of giving the optician the sort of information they need is to:
  • Take a few photos of where you sit/stand and where you work - to show the nature of the set-up in your immediate working environment
  • Record measurements relating to the typical distances between your eyes and things you need to see clearly.  Get a long ruler or somebody to help out with the measuring.
  • Do some diagrams which show your normal set-up and the distances involved.

More information about occupational lenses

Here are some links to websites which provide more information about occupational lenses.  This is by no means an index of best articles. I'm also NOT recommending the lenses identified so much as recommending the articles as a way of understanding more about how such lenses can help artists and the options on offer.  Your best way forward if you think this is something you'd like to know more about is to have a detailed discussion with your optician.

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