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Back to school, back to the studio.

The summer seems to have flashed by, a blur of road trips, camping and holidays en famille. I love travelling, as I find a change of scene can often light the spark of inspiration and can be the catalyst for a whole new series of paintings. Such a thing happened on our recent trip to Paimpol in France, it was the most stunning town, crammed with surprisingly good galleries, artist and artisans.
I fell in love with the work by this sculptor Jean Francois Gambino

It was a pleasure to see so much craft, colour and talent in the myriad of small shops. These glass blowers were exceptional, I could easily have spent my annual profits in their shop, which doubled as their studio, so we could watch the glass blowers at work. Verr-Glass, Paimpol

Even the sardine tin arranger had an eye for colour and display!

The thing that fired me up though was a trip to a small, slightly dishevelled circus. Whether one agrees with animals performing or not there is something very magical about being in a tent, mere inches away from a tigers tail. The children were transfixed, absolutely mesmerised throughout the two hour show. I was inspired. I am not going to include wild animals in paintings, but I would very much like to do a circus series of performing horses and dogs, so watch this space.

September is shaping up to be an insanely busy month, with one or two projects opening every week. The show in Essex at the Aubrey Gallery opens this Friday so do please visit if you are in the region. I am also pleased to say that the David Shepherd Wildlife Fund is now representing me and my prints can be bought through their website, or their gorgeous gallery in Guildford, Surrey.

I am attending the private view of the Society of Equestrian Artists at the Mall Galleries, London tomorrow night, where my charcoal work, “Brace for Landing” has been hung.

The Country Life Fair in Fulham Palace on the 27/28th September is taking up most of my waking hours, although I think we are pretty much prepared for it. They are hosting the most incredible drinks reception & ball on the 10th of September in the Natural History Museum for which tickets are still available.

So, the children go back to school on Wednesday and I go back to the studio, I have several British native mammal works planned out, which will hopefully be ready for the Country Life Fair. Please see my InglebyArt Facebook page for daily updates, or follow me on Twitter @InglebyArt

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David Shepherd and Pre exhibition nerves.

Perhaps it wasn’t the greatest of timing that the David Shepherd Wildlife Artist of the Year and my solo show at Oil & Water opened within ten days of each other. I’m sitting in bed, on a glorious June dawn, having woken early, and having a cup of tea, trying not to worry about tonight, the opening night.


www.catherineingleby.com
Kick up your heels by Catherine Ingleby

David Shepherd Wildlife Artist of the Year.

I was very flattered to have been included in the well publicised teaser catalogue, and despite the hassles of wrestling two such enormous pictures into London, seeing them hung, in amongst such a strong body of wildlife art, was immensely rewarding.


https://shop.davidshepherd.org/list.php?search[exhib]=way14ex&search[event]=8&max_perpage=9999&from_event=8
Winged Messenger of Death bu Christine Lambeth

The evening itself was great fun, I managed to nab a photo with the man himself, and although I didn’t win the ten thousand pound cheque, it was good to catch up with so many friends, and meet some new faces.

Myself and David Shepherd, in front of my two charcoals.

It was HOT in the mall galleries though, boy, do they need to invest in some air conditioning!


https://shop.davidshepherd.org/list.php?search[exhib]=way14ex&search[event]=8&max_perpage=9999&from_event=8
Moon Bear with Butterflies by Susie Marsh
 

I was particularly taken with some of the sculptures, there was such a variety, and I could have taken every one home. A sculpture by this French artist win the main prize. Deservedly so.



Transparence - Rhino
Transperence – Rhino by Pascal Cheasneau
Some of the works were so much more impressive in real life, when they had been a little underwhelming online. This rook was stunning.
https://shop.davidshepherd.org/list.php?search[exhib]=way14ex&search[event]=8&max_perpage=9999&from_event=8
Rook by Susie Dafforn
Monochrome Category Winner
 

Pre Solo Exhibition

Catalogue is printed, the work delivered, the walls are hung. Tonight is the private view, and I’m trying to gather myself a bit before the day starts.

Ready to go!

I enjoy these evenings, but  I feel a large pressure to sell well this evening, and they can feel like a marathon interview, chatting to potential clients, and explaining the work time and again. I am pleased with the body of work, I truly found it a pleasure to paint, and seemed to come, by and large, with ease to me. I hope that is reflected in the art, a friend made a lovely comment “It looks as though the artist has found joy in the process of painting it” which couldn’t be more accurate.
Let’s just hope the clients find enough joy to reach into their wallets!


www.catherineingleby.com
Burning Bright by Catherine Ingleby



www.catherineingleby.com
Ivy, my spaniel, with a scuplture by Rosemary Cook
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Choosing to be an artist

Is it a choice?

I’ve been asked recently, a few times, to have students or young teenagers for work experience. This is always as much of an experience for me as I imagine it is for them, as I see my younger self reflected in their faces, and their dreams. I wonder if I had spent any serious time with an artist in my teens whether I would have taken fright at the path I was choosing!
I didn’t stumble into being an artist, it is what I wanted to do from a very young age. I knew, with out doubt, that there was no other path that would give me the same satisfaction and happiness. That is not to say it was a choice without hurdles, my art foundation year at E.C.V. in Paris was at an art school largely geared towards graphic design and advertising, and I saw that this would be a more lucrative path. Luckily, I was hopeless at graphic design, and remained on my road. I then studied at Durham University, and watched my peers go on to quickly earn decent salaries in the city, and buy houses. I wondered if I should maybe get the ‘proper job’ that my mother kept hinting at. A brief detour into portraiture taught me a huge amount (the main lesson being that I was not a portrait artist).

‘Ivy Leaping’ Oil on canvas

Why I do what I do.

I think, it was clear in my head that I was unable ‘not’ to be an artist, that being prevented from painting and drawing makes me unhappy and frustrated.  I constantly have ideas and plans buzzing around in my brain, I see inspiration in the every day routine of life, be it winter light though the hedge on the school run or watching a wildlife programme on late night TV.
I realise I am fortunate to have known what I wanted to do, and to have had the support to achieve it, but it is both a blessing and a curse. People often say to me ‘Why don’t you paint such and such?’ or ‘Why don’t you draw only charcoals?’ The answer is that I can’t. I have to stay to true to what I want to paint, to my vision as an artist. If I try to paint to please other people I feel I end up pleasing no one, and in the end my art deteriorates.

 

‘Blaze of Glory’ Charcoal on paper

Advice for artists starting out

One of the bloggers I read regularly, Making a Mark by Katherine Tyrell, posted this great link to the 2103  BP Portrait  winner Susanne du Toit’s Top Ten Tips for being an artist. They resonate with me, and I think I will pass them onto the work experience students.
The other piece of advice that I read somewhere recently was “Learn to live on less” and it struck a chord. Most artists will never earn a fortune, or get serious recognition, but they will be an artist, and that is reward in itself.

‘Up, up and away’. Charcoal on paper
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Plenty in the pipeline…

Artists block and inspiration

I spent most of January shivering in my very damp studio struggling with artists block. Always an artists worst nightmare, exacerbated by the thought of nothing to show in June for the exhibition. I started having nightmares about standing in the gallery, with a crowd of people looking at blank walls, and then at me…
However, luckily it passed, I had produced several very average paintings (all of which have since been scrapped) then one good charcoal and is so often is the case once I get on a roll I start producing plenty of work that I’m pleased with.


Artemis’ revenge
 
This wild boar (Artemis’ Revenge), and another have been entered into the David Shepherd Wildlife Art competition. I had no luck in it last year, so fingers crossed for better results this time! I find out later this month. I also have another HUGELY exciting project in the pipeline, more wildlife art, but I’m unable to talk about it until it has all been finalised, although I’m literally bursting with excitement.
 
The jumping dogs, which were so immensely popular in the run up to Christmas, are going to be a recurring theme in the June exhibition, this is my favourite at the moment, with a working title of ‘Black & Tango’. I’m working with the fabulously talented Sarah Farnsworth who is photographing some more varied dog breeds for me. As enthusiastic as my cocker Ivy is about jumping, she was beginning to dominate the collection!
 
 
Black & Tango
 
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Post exhibition

Oil and Water Gallery, Wandsworth

A very successful run of private views at the newly launched Oil & Water Gallery  in Wandworth. The paintings held their own on the walls, surrounded by several other stunning paintings from a variety of artists.

340, Old York Road SW18 1SS

It’s been fantastic to be involved with a gallery from its set up. The amount of work and expense that goes into the setting up is staggering. Galleries have an enormously important role to play in the art world, bridging the gap between artists and clients, and while the Internet may have made artists far more directly accessible nothing makes life easier for an artist than a good agent or gallery owner. I do think galleries need to become far more interactive spaces, as the book selling trade has cottoned onto so well, holding literary festivals, author led evenings, book signing events etc. the art world has made a start, but there is still a long way to go. With this in mind, Oil & Water are holding a ‘meet the artist’ night on the 14th November, please contact the gallery if you’d like to attend.

I sold various paintings over the private views, the jumping dogs were enormously popular, and the battle for the charcoal of Ivy was won by a friend of mine. Lovely to know where a painting will end up. I’m now back in the studio and will be definitely be exploring the theme of the jumping dogs further, I have several charcoals and oils planned, the pressure is now on for the solo exhibition in June!

 
Lion Leaping – Sold

I’m now looking towards the Christmas countdown, always my busiest time. Burford Gardens have sold out of the chicken prints and so need more stock, plus they’d like a drawing of a “Burford Brown” hen. So that’s in the pipeline, and the usual rush of Christmas commissions are beginning to roll in.

The Wandsworth gallery is holding a limited edition prints show in the run up to Christmas, so I’m busy framing and mounting for that.

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Exhibition looming…

I’ve been taken on by OIL AND WATER GALLERY in Wandsworth, London. A stunning new gallery, with an eclectic mix of artists. I’m involved in a mixed exhibition which opens on the 10th of October. I have also committed to doing a solo with them next year, in June.

‘Lioness leaping’ Oil on canvas
 
 

I am enormously excited but, as for any artist, it is also becomes a time of huge pressure; ‘Will I have enough works?’, ‘Will enough sell?’, ‘Is ochre a crazy colour to paint the kitchen?’ Decorating as an artist is treacherous, I’m too addicted to colour to go fashionably neutral.
I’m feeling reasonably prepared, and am just finishing off the frames. Although, I have a feeling I will be far less relaxed as the solo exhibition deadlines draw near.

‘Ivy’ Charcoal on paper

These are couple of examples of work I will be showing, alongside a selection from 8 other artists. I’m pleased with my body of work, it’s a small selection from the result of a years hard graft since I went back full time after a longer than planned maternity break. (6 months off – Ha! So naive….) I have tried to develop a more distinctive, modern approach to the traditional sporting genre, and so I hope others feel that is has been successful.
 The opening night is the 10th of October, please email me: catherineingleby@hotmail.co.uk if you would like an invite.

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Is the traditional gallery a dinosaur?

The Affordable Art Fair Hampstead

I spent an immensely enjoyable day at the AAF Hampstead, with thanks to Alice Struthers. Great to reconnect with some of the agents and galleries, and to see what’s on in the market at the moment.

Anne-Marie Butlin



The format of the AAF has been enormously successful, now encompassing 15 fairs worldwide, it is clearly very appealing to buyers and it was great to see such a vibrant market and healthy sales. At the same time many galleries are closing, even Cork Street, the very home of art galleries, is threatened with redevelopment and closure. (www.savecorkstreet.com)

I passed a lot of the day talking to agents and gallery owners, and it is clear, that while many are modernising their approach to selling; by incorporating online sales and using social media, there are others that are struggling to do so. I get the impression that some galleries are intimidated by the openness of todays market, and the accessibility of their artists to their private clients. Exclusivity is a thing of the past, as almost every working artist’s contact details can be found within seconds on google.

Guy Allen (Grandy Art)

I have first hand experience, as have several times been approached by potential buyers who have seen work marketed by a gallery representing me. (For the record I do not undercut my agents!)
However there is clearly a grey area and the solution largely rests on trust and honesty and transparent dialogue between an artist and those who represent him/her.

 Equally an artist with a strong online presence, and healthy independent sales is a bonus, rather than a threat to a potential gallery, as harnessed together these attributes can only widen a client base, and increase publicity to both parties.

There are some fantastic agents and galleries out there, who support and encourage artists, and provide invaluable advice and opportunity to their clients. I believe it is a good thing the art market is being made more accessible, with schemes such as Own Art enabling even those with the tightest budget to purchase original work.

 
Oona Campbell (Panter & Hall)
 
 
More of my own work in the next entry – nose to the grindstone with private commissions!
 

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Wild about Art.

The David Shepherd Wildlife Art Competition

As you may remember I entered this competition back in the early months of the year, and was not best pleased when nothing was accepted. The wound was salved a little by the acceptance into the BBC competition but the David Shepherd competition is the more prestigious of the two, and at the end of the day is an actual exhibition rather than a publication of images.

Cognito Ergo Sum – Catherine Ingleby

 

So, this week I hauled the children up to London for a cultural day, the British Museum to see the Pompeii exhibition (excellent!) and then onto the Mall Galleries to see the chosen few in the David Shepherd exhibition. I have to be honest and say that the standard of work was humbling, my entries were most definitely outclassed. My mantra in painting is ‘Be brave, be bold, think big’ and I’m not sure enough thought or ambition had gone into my entries. I’m definitely going to have up my game if I’m to enter the Society of Wildlife Artists exhibition in the summer.

These paintings by Emily Lamb really caught my eye.

 
She is the granddaughter of David Shepherd, but has developed her own unique, very distinctive style. The longer you look at these paintings the more you see in them, there are so many layers of interest. Her website is www.emilylamb.co.uk
 
 
So back to the drawing board, and hope to produce something that is truer to my own style. I am suddenly overwhelmed with commissions, so also hope I’ll have time to do the work. An ambitious commission of a woman hunting sidesaddle on the easel at the moment, but more of that later…
 
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Art Competitions.

I’ve been spreading myself far and wide in the past couple of months entering pretty much every art competition going. My painting ‘Stags in Rut’ was awarded ‘Commended’ in its category in the BBC Wildlife Artist of the year, and I was given a lovely certificate, (though frankly would have quite liked the free safari and/or some cash!) and I got to spend the day in Marwell Zoo with the immensely talented Fran Sanders , who is a genuine wildlife artist.

I did wonder if I could stretch the boundaries of truth and enter the Sky.com portrait competition which is offering a very lucrative prize pot. Ironically I trained as a portrait artist, but quickly discovered I wasn’t best suited to that career; the best portrait artists leave their clients half in love with them, whereas I think my sittings were more akin to spending time with the Gestapo. I can’t chit chat while painting, listen to Shania Twain on loop and am not very tolerant of ‘suggestions’. Suffice to say, it was a short stint, and I moved into painting animals, which are largely silent and un-opinionated. Here’s an example of one of my early portraits (paid model – did as was told.)

This brings us back to horses, and the next big competition on the horizon is the Society of Equine Artists which is held in the Mall Galleries in London. The racing paintings are progressing really well, creating the spray of paint and movement has been challenging, but despite a paint splattered spaniel have been mostly successful. Loving painting on a bigger scale too, the one below is nearly 4 feet wide.

The Henley Arts Trail was a resounding success, hundreds people trooping through the studio doors, viewing and buying art. However next year, to save time, I might equip myself with one of these T-shirts….

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Art world Snakes and Ladders

It really does feel like that sometimes. I get an enormous boost up the ladder from something – selection as a finalist for the BBC Wildlife Artist of the Year competition, or a couple of great commissions, but then the next week, an agent or gallery rejection will send me slithering back down the snake to square, if not one, then further from the finish.

Being an artist is not an easy career choice, it is very personal, and requires an extremely thick skin, and a limitless amount of self belief. I am learning to enjoy the journey, and celebrate the successes, and write off the ‘failures’ as just another stepping stone. In many ways, being an artist is not a career, but a life, and as the great Winston Churchill said
Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts”

So philosophising apart – being selected for the BBC Wildlife AOY is fantastic, the next round of judging is next week. This is the painting selected, which is in the ‘British Mammals’ category. Fingers crossed, but to be selected at all is an honour.

 
 
 
 
It is also ‘open studio’ time for the Henley Arts Trail this May bank holiday weekend. An event I love, not least for the interaction with so many talented local artists, and the opportunity to meet art enthusiasts from the region. It also forces me to to do an annual studio spring clean, without which I would vanish under a tide of wrecked brushes, dried out tubes of paint, and empty turps bottles.
 
 
I have been working on a new series of racing paintings, developing new techniques using an airbrush, (rescued from immense frustration with it by Andrew Breeze) and I am pleased with the results. They are more contemporary than previous work, and pretty big, but I have so enjoyed painting them, which always shows in the final result.
 
“Over the Last” Oil on Canvas 40×30 inches

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Art competitions

The beginning of the year has been all about entering art competitions; the David Shepherd wildlife art competition, the BBC wildlife art competition, the i-book open submissions. They are a great way of gaining exposure and sometimes creating work that’s slightly outside my comfort zone.

 
This painting is of a King Vulture at Chessington zoo, somewhere I visit a LOT with my children. It’s earmarked for the BBc competition, alongside 3 others. I’ve also submitted two pieces of Chessington animals to the David Shepherd competition, but I’ll keep those under wraps until I hear whether they’ve been accepted or not. The waiting is always frustrating, you want to know immediately – or maybe I’m particularly impatient! However, it never does work good to hang around in the studio, and it’s useful to be able to plan where they’ll be placed next.
 
In other news, I’m beginning to get a real handle on ‘social media’ and have set up both facebook and twitter accounts for my art. ‘Ingleby Art’ for facebook, and @inglebyart for twitter.  I really enjoy the artist communities on both site, painting is a solitary occupation and it’s great to be able to bounce ideas off others, and ask advice.
 
Another community project that is getting underway is the 2013 Henley Arts Trail, I’ve accepted two other artists to exhibit with me this year, clearing the neighbouring shed out to give them their own space. It’s always a fun event, and this year involves several interactive projects, to which I’m very much looking forward to seeing the results.
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Dog Days

Dogs, dogs, dogs….

I’ve had a back log of private commissions to do this summer, and somehow, once I got on a theme it carried on into the gallery work.
Up to Yorkshire to paint six of Jim Howard’s working collies, he was the English sheepdog trialling team last year, and I was so impressed watching his dogs work. A real treat to be in the spectacular Yorkshire countryside, have proper roast dinner with Jim’s mum (who runs Lane Farm cottages) And of course, drive a quad bike, with a sheep as side passenger – not something I’ve done for a while.

These labs were a little closer to home, but such distinct characters.

Then, to be honest I got a bit carried away, and started on some more unusual breeds, so not sure where I’m going to place the paintings, I don’t think they’ll appeal to my regular clientele!

Luckily I’ve been in talks with the lovely Victoria at the Stockbridge Gallery, who predominantly represents dog artists, and happily I am to be included in the ‘stable’, so all the recent dog paintings are going there at the end of month.

 
The House of Bruar is another recipient of this summers efforts, with around a dozen paintings framed, wrapped and ready to be shipped. A varied lot of stalking, grouse, some dogs, and the Hereford cattle, but it makes for a coherent body of work. I’m still looking for rare breed cattle to paint, if anyone has any sitting around chewing the cud…
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The Royal Fell Ponies at Balmoral

Presented to H.M. The Queen on 7th August

After six months work, the painting of Her Majesty’s Fell Ponies was finally presented at the Balmoral Jubilee Garden Party. By all accounts, she was pleased with it.

It was a privilege to be asked to do the commission and I only hope I have done them justice. The great Australian art critic, Robert Hughes, passed away recently and I was forwarded one of his acerbic quotes;

“The greater the artist, the greater the doubt. Perfect confidence is granted to the less talented as a consolation prize.”

I am certainly not blessed with perfect confidence,  so can only hope that an amount of doubt is a good thing. Confidence is so crucial to an artist, I think the initial version of this painting was ruined by a loss of confidence, which translates to a lack of surety in handling of the oil paint, and a few hours of nervously dabbing at the canvas can wreck a months work.

Unfortunately the Highland cow painting has suffered this fate, and been consigned to the floor. However I got going on this one, and finished it over a few days. These lovely looking cattle also supply our local pub with superb steak!

The past couple of weeks have been unusually prolific for me, the release from the stress of the royal commission coupled with a backlog of ideas, and full time child care, means I’ve produced more this month than the first half of the year. Dogs, still life, sporting paintings, here’s a couple of examples.

As a post script – I have now mastered Twitter – and can be found @InglebyArt
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A week to go

A week to go before my painting is presented, it’s all framed and the plaque is finished. I’m beginning to feel quite nervous about it…

I’ve been working a lot recently (more child care) and have finished a couple of works. I found these wonderful natural canvas panels in the Jacksons Art catalogue, and am loving the finish, they lend a contemporary edge in the square format. In fact, liked them so much I’ve ordered a couple of metres of raw canvas so plan to make up some bigger sizes myself (the panels are quite limited  in sizes)

Still life

The first image is of a still life I set up in Scotland, in that glorious late evening light you only get north of the border. I stopped doing still life about 4 years ago, I’m not sure why, I think I had just got bored with them, but doing this one reminded me how much I enjoyed it and I have a second, more complicated composition already sketched out on canvas, which should hopefully get finished this month.

Ivy

I’ve been meaning to paint my own dogs for ages, though persuading Ivy to model took hours, and a lot of cheese. The result is great though, again on the square format natural canvas. I’m going to have a go at doing Whirly the poodle at some stage, although she doesn’t lend herself to painting with all that curly brown hair…..

Open studio

People often say they would love to come to the studio, but either don’t want to bother me, or don’t know when I’m working there (admittedly rather erratic hours!). So as of Wednesday 1st August I’m going to have an open studio morning every first Wednesday of the month, from 9am – 2 pm. Coffee and cake on offer!

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New Work

Another Labrador!

Lovely big dog, who had a weird habit of ‘grinning’, cute in real life but looks like an alarming snarl in photos – I choose a more traditional pose. Another commission for two more labs has just come in, plus the big painting of a half dozen collies that I have to fit in at some stage this summer.

Jubilee commission
IS FINISHED. Thank God. There have been many stops and starts, and a fair amount of sleepless nights, but finally it worked and is on it’s way to the fabulous Christina Leder for framing. She works in an extraordinary studio, a shed on stilts under a railway arch in Parsons Green, but makes exquisite frames. It’s going to be presented in August, and I’ll update the blog with photos then. I’m afraid it has to be kept under wraps untill then.