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What to say to an artist

At the many private views, exhibitions and fairs I’ve been to over the years, I often find people are at a loss as to what to ask me, and say the first thing that comes into their head, which is often, mostly unintentionally, rude. 

So, a light hearted guide of suggested questions;

1. Where do you get your inspiration?
2. What materials do you use? (Do not get an artist started on types of paper, unless you want to be there all night)
3. How do you achieve …. insert suitable aspect of painting (colour/effect/perpespective/technique)
4. What brought you to this subject?
5. Have you always painted in this style?
6. Which other artists influence your work?
7. Apart from yourself which artist would you invest in? (Artists often buy art, I love collecting work by others, and often am in a position to know whos ‘up & coming’. Phrase it carefully though, implying that you’d rather buy someone else work is rude…)
8. Which is your favourite gallery/museum? 
9. What is your studio like? (This could be another long rant)
10. May I get you another glass of wine? (Dear god, yes.)

Here are a few questions I’m asked a lot – in order of popularity! Not rude per se, but asked so often they make me want to scream, or at least reply sharply…


1. How long did it take? (There is no right answer, it takes a lifetime to learn a skill, the better you are, the faster you can do it.)
2. Is it for sale? (That is WHY we’re here.)
3. Is it in oil? (It does say ‘Oil on canvas’ on the label)
4. Can you teach my son/daughter/aunt? (Artist, not art teacher)
5. Have you always been an artist? (Every child is born an artist – Picasso)


And these are just plain rude. Expect a retort in kind..



1. How long did it take? (It’s too annoying)
2. It must be lovely doing your hobby full time. (ITS MY JOB, only about 20% of my long working hours are actually spent painting.)
3. How much do you make? (How much do you make?)
4. It’s like a photograph (It’s a painting/drawing so it’s really not)
5. It doesn’t match my walls. (That was never my intention)
6. Are you any good/famous?(Define that for me…are you judging me against Kim Kardashian?)
7. Can I buy it more cheaply direct? (You want me to jeopardise my business relationship with my gallery?)
8. Can you do x for free, it will be great advertising. (A very dangerous question likely to make an artist boil over, try it out on your plumber to gauge a likely reaction first. On the flip side I often donate work for charity, so it’s always worth asking in the name of a legitimate cause.)
9. You’re so lucky being an artist. (It was mostly hard graft and bloody mindedness. It certainly felt more like a curse at times.)
10. When are you going to get a paid job? (A parental prerogative to ask this one….)
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Art competitions

Submission and rejection

There’s been a fair amount of discussion in the art world about the validity of various ‘open’ art competitions recently. Kathryn Tyrell who writes the excellent and very informative blog Making a Mark has published an article covering the main points.

Choose the right competition

I think information and transparency are the key factors. Inform yourself as to the nature of works that are accepted for competitions. I had a few frustrating years submitting to the Society of Wildlife Artists before really studying their exhibition and realising that my work simple doesn’t suit their overall theme, which is heavily based towards printmaking, birds and British mammals.
I do wish society exhibitions would publish their numbers more transparently, so artists have a clearer idea of entries, sales, and costs/spend.

My favourite competition by far is the David Shepherd Wildlife Artist of the Year. This year I have submitted the following two works. ‘Shadows kiss’ is a huge piece for me, and took me way out of comfort zone. Fingers crossed….

Sun glare

Shadows Kiss

Society of Equine Artists

This is another regular one for me, although there has been considerable chopping and changing with venues recently. It is now based at Palace house in Newmarket instead of London, and I’m a little doubtful as to whether it is going to be able to ensure enough sales to make exhibiting worthwhile, but we shall see. 
Stormrunner
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New Years Resolutions

January 2017

New year promise 

I have a horrible feeling this may be similar to last years resolution, but I am full of hope that this year I will stop neglecting my blog and write a weekly post. I will spend less time watching ridiculous videos on Facebook and construct witty prose packed with my weekly news…

Jump for Joy

Talking of Facebook..

I have finally got to grips with FB advertising, and we were caught completely on the hop by the success of our pre christmas promotions, scrambling to process and ship all the orders in time. Thankfully we succeeded, and now have a fantastic system in place so everything should proceed smoothly from here on out. The biggest sellers by far were ‘Razzle Dazzle’ and Jump for Joy’
Two of my favourite paintings, I think they capture a sense of fun, and humour, and I hope give you as much pleasure looking at them, as they gave me enjoyment in their creation.

Razzle Dazzle

January sale “ARTSALE17”

The 25% off promotion will run until the end of January, please use the code above for 25% off all works on my website, prints and originals.

In the studio.. or not

The studio has become such an uphill battle to heat I have now moved inside, setting up in our garden room. I can’t tell you what a pleasure it is to think I’ll be able to work during the day without being cold. In fact I overstoked the woodturner so much I had to wear only a T-shirt yesterday. The dogs are also thrilled as they become markedly reluctant to ‘come to work’ over the past few weeks. 

On the easel

I am working on various commissions this month, as a bit of backlog has built up. On the easel are two portraits of same yellow labrador, a client has commissioned one for each of her sons which rather lovely, but presenting its own challenges. 
I’m also working on a series of local landscapes, my first landscapes in a decade. We had a period of spectacular light in November and every school run was, at best,  meandering as I stopped to take photos. 
I’ll leave you with some recent images
My cockerel 

The Bell Inn, Waltham St Lawrence

In progress

Tess, Labradoodle
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Grrrr…

Grrrr

This is meant to be my quiet time of year, when I can footle about faffing about working online in my warm study, instead of freezing in my draughty studio, spluttering in the temperamental warmth of the log burner.

However, fresh back from Africa I had a raft of new images to work from, and the deadline for the David Shepherd Wildlife Artist of the Year coming up.

Now you see me ….

I really wanted to produce some big works, that would have an impact in the Mall Galleries, and work well together as a group. Tom Way was kind enough to give me permission to use some of his lion photos to work from. Safari with children is magical but not really conducive to producing much in the way work! 

Young lion at waterhole

Serena sketching

The moon, swallows and springbok

Male lion, North Pride

Working to such a tight deadline is always stressful, although a friend did say, with raised eyebrow, “It’s not like you haven’t known about it for twelve months…” I know, I know, but I only got back from Africa at the end of December and it’s tricky to conjure up decent wildlife in Berkshire! 

The past few weeks have been spent converting the sketches and photos into paintings. I hope I have a strong body of work to submit, and that at least a couple get chosen! Here’s a peek at a two of them.  

Wildlife Artist of the Year 

Dawn Ascending, Oil on panel. 24×18″
Lion 75x55cm charcoal on paper

So, hopefully, the last works should be finished this week and then photographed in time for the deadline on the 13th feb! 

Art Dubai 2016

I’m also working on some equine paintings for Art Dubai 2016 which takes place in April. Signet Contemporary Art are taking them, so I’m looking forward to working with them. I did contemplate a trip accompanying them to the sun, but maybe next year!

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Cover girl!

Magazine cover

I was so honoured to have my image of Ivy Leaping selected as the front cover of ‘Paint’ the magazine for the Society of All Artists. It was published this month, and looks fantastic. Lovely article inside too. It’s a particularly poignant image for me as it was the first work I produced after having children and dealing with various health issues that I felt really began to reflect where I wanted to go with my art. I had previously been known for very traditional, realist works. I liked them, but there was little to distinguish them from the many realist artists out there. I wanted to create a body of art that felt more my own, rather than the culmination of a traditional atelier education.
I am rarely happy when I look at my older work, I always see scope for improvement, but in this one, I still love it as much as when I first finished it.

Society of Equestrian Artists

I drove up to Tuxford last weekend to attend the S.E.A. awards. I was fairly spot on with my predictions, although not always the right category! The main award is going to be presented next week, at the private view in London at the Osborne studio Gallery, so I will do a list of winners next week. I was a bit suprised to find the categories had changed, and I feel there needs to be more transparency within the society of the judging process.

Equine Art

I’ve been back in the studio, after what feels like a very long break. In fact I got face full of cobwebs when I walked in, so at least someone has been busy. I’m working some new equine pieces, and here is one in progress on the easel!

Society of Widlife Artists

‘Monkey Business’ got through the first round and has now been dispatched for second round judging – fingers crossed!

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Horses for courses

Equine Art

Summer is fading, and the kids are about to start back at school, including my youngest in her slightly too big pinafore and pristine white socks. I feel sad to see her go but it does mean I will now have five days a week to work, uninterrupted. Five days!! It’s been a long time since I had that. 
Horses have taken star billing this summer, kicking off with the Society of Equine Artists, who posted their selection at the end of July. I’m delighted that all three of mine got in, initallialy being exhibited at the Sally Mitchell Galleries and two were cherry picked to go onto the Osborne Studio Gallery in Knightsbridge for an exhibition of Equine art in September.

Espirito Gitano

Phaeton

The Midas Touch

I was hugely honoured to have the opportunity to go and photograph the “Golden Horse” Pearl of Peace at his yard, along with two other stallions. This extraordinary stallion is one of a kind, with an incredibly rare genetic combination that gives him his reflective, metallic gold colouring. He is still a youngster at three but such a character, and a real performer, clearly going to love the spotlight his life will entail! I am hoping to create a series of paintings from my time there, and will post progress on my FaceBook page.

Society of Wildlife Artists

I am currently framing “Monkey Business” in order to present it to the final selection for the society of wildlife Artists in mid September. I was pleased, and a bit surprised to have a piece accepted at the first round, as their emphasis seems to be heavily in favour of bird paintings, particularly those in a natural setting. Fingers crossed for the final round at the Mall Galleries!


So back to the grindstone in a few days, I’m looking forward to really getting my teeth into a new series, I feel as though I have been away from my studio for too long!

Video Games

I’m slowly getting to grips with making short videos, and the timelapse ones seem to be the most popular. Here’s a link to a recent painting of a dark grey arab.
YouTube video of Catherine painting

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Farewell, faithful friend

The time has come..

I have to replace my old easel. I first picked him up in Florence, part of a job lot being replaced by the Charles H. Cecil Studio where I had been studying. I was setting up a realist summer art school with James Napier, in London, and we bought them for a pittance, and, I presume, jammed them into our cars to get them back, I can’t imagine I flew them back, even in the heady days of limitless baggage on easyjet.

Charles H. Cecil Studio

They did service at the summer school, which rolled on for a year or two, eventually developing into the now enormously successful London Academy of Realist Art (drawpaintsculpt.com) which these days is run by James and his sister. I hung onto my easel (sorry James!) and its done a decade or so with me. A year or so in the punishingly expensive studios of London, a thankfully short while sharing what was basically a cave with James in the London Bronze Foundry and then more recently in my studio here.

The old easel with a work in progress

Old age has got him finally, in the end. He shakes and shudders, arthritic in every joint, and is also incontinent, leaking onto my feet (or the spaniels sleeping below) various noxious fluids I use in my work. I had a moment of madness, shopping late night on my ipad and bought a beast from Jacksons Art, a beechwood Chippendale of a model by Mabef. I’m pretty sure it cost more than my first car. It rolls, extends, lays flat, has drawers, but part of me will miss my old, paint encrusted easel from Italy, who knows how many students, and how many works have been created in his rickety wooden embrace?

Mmmm, don’t think he’ll be clean for long!

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The legend of Aonbarr

The inspiration and story of Aonbarr

This image I created, in charcoal and wash on paper, has taken me by surprise by its popularity, and many have asked how I come up with the idea for a new work, what sets the ‘spark’ for a fresh series of paintings.

Aonbarr 

Unicorns and Kelpies

I had been watching ‘Into the West’ a tearjerker of an Irish film, about a magical horse called Tir na nog, who transforms the lives of some kids in Dublin slums, but when I did some more research I found that Tir na nOg is the Irish name for the Land of Youth, or utopia, and the magic horse was called Aonbarr or Embarr, he had the ability to cross water and could carry the chosen over the sea to Tir na nOg.
I stumbled across the work of Emily Hancock, a very talented photographer who allowed me to use one of her images as the basis for Aonbarr. I wanted to capture that ethereal touch about him, a bit water kelpie, a touch of wildness. I did not however want to veer into the saccharine world of ‘magical unicorns with golden hooves and glittering manes’. It’s a fine line….

Large size print framed (700x560mm)

To sell or not to sell?

I know when I a painting is going to be successful when I find myself really wanting to keep it. I framed Aonbarr up, and hung it in our sitting room, but within a couple of hours of publishing it on Facebook it had been snapped up, followed by several more enquiries! Fortunately I have had him photographed, so have a Limited Edition of 250 Giclee Prints available. They are produced by a Fine Art Guild printer, in three sizes starting from £45. I now have the largest size framed in my bedroom!

Quiron

Painting horses

I have always loved painting horses, but in truth, have found equine work very hard to sell, I think those involved in equine life are drawn to a specific animal or rider, and so do not want to purchase a work which depicts an unknown horse or jockey. I wanted to create work that appealed to everybody, even those with no interest in riding, something more generic than a ‘racing’ or ‘polo’ painting. There is a struggle sometimes between painting subjects that you want to depict versus work that will sell, and I’m pleased that this series has encompassed both sides. I am now working with a local Andalusian stallion as a model and am hoping to have maybe half a dozen more equine works along a similar vein. You can see their progress in more detail on my FaceBook page

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Affordable Art

A.A.F.  Battersea

At last spring is ambling into view. I always view the art season as kicking off with the Affordable Art Fair in Battersea park in mid March. I was lucky enough to get tickets for the private view, and so I duly trotted along with the talented Tania Still for company. As we made (very slow, as one or other of us knew someone in almost every stand) progress around the fair, I was really struck by how many fresh pieces of work were on display. I absolutely LOVED these pieces by Alan Kingsbury on the Panter and Hall stand. Apparently he had a bit of a revelation a couple of years ago, threw all he knew into the air, and started producing these massive, simple, but so striking still life’s.

Alan Kingsbury 30x40inches £4,850

Affordable Art Fair – Hampstead

VERY excitingly I am going to be exhibiting at the next A.A.F. at Hampstead in the 11th-14th June with the Eduardo Alessandro Studios  I am busy burning the midnight oil producing some really cracking pieces that will be shown at the fair. I’m afraid I’m going to keep most of them under wraps until then, but can share this bulldog with you…

Bulldog 28×28 inches £2775

I really admire the EA Studios, they represent some incredible artists and I’m honoured to join the team. I particularly love Ron Lawson’s work, an artist I would  love to own a piece by!

Ron Lawson

HENLEY ARTS TRAIL 2-4th May

I’m honoured to be one their front cover this year. I have a lot of new work, and as we invested in a gallery hanging system for the studio last autumn it will look great when it’s all up. There’s a fresh team at the helm of the HAT committee, and a few new venues, so let’s hope for a weekend of fine weather!

BBC Big Painting challenge

I’ve been totally hooked on this series, and can’t wait to see who wins. My money is on Paul or Claire. I’ve also been surprised at the general low standard (these 10 were the best from 6000 entries?!?) and the outcry over the judges critiques. I realise I also now sound critical, but drawing and painting is as much as skill as any other discipline and some of them have not the slightest grasp of perspective, proportion or composition. To use an example, we would expect a competition featuring Britain’s best amateur musician to feature people who have a reasonable grasp of playing an instrument. I think it demonstrates the fairly dire state of many of our art schools in this country, the loss of basic draughtsmanship, with a few notable exceptions, (lavenderhillstudios.com, drawpaintsculpt.com) elsewhere the trite view ‘art is subjective’ is parroted. So is music subjective, but I doubt you’d want to listen to a musician who had never practised the basic skills of playing…. Believe me you don’t. My daughter is learning the recorder, she thinks she sounds amazing. I’ve rediscovered the joys of earplugs.

But perhaps you don’t agree? Maybe art is best left untaught, and everyone should develop at liberty, free from from the constraints of the past? Let me know….

Work in progress 400x500mm
www.catherineingleby.com
Twitter  @inglebyart
Facebook www.facebook.com/inglebyart

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Henley Arts Trail

And breathe…

The Henley Arts Trail is over for another year. At this point I’m usually thinking “never again”, but it’s always a great weekend, and I know, worth it in the long run. I had four other artists at my studio this year:

Andrew Prewett

Andrew Sketching
 

Claire Howlett

 
Waves by Claire Howlett
 

 
 





Vivian Marnham


 

 

 

and last but not least John Loader,

who won the Molly Stanley award at the Henley Arts and Crafts Guild exhibition this year.

 
 
We hosted a drinks party on the Sunday afternoon, which was crammed with people, enjoying the prosecco, some amazing canapes by Vivian’s wife Liz, and of course, the art.
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
I even managed to get started on some of the material I have from Longleat and produced a couple of Zebra charcoals. They are strangely compulsive, and satisfying, to draw. I have an idea to do a complementary pair of zebra charcoals, on A0 sized paper…

www.catherineingleby.com
www.catherineingleby.com
 
 
I have also come to the conclusion that I would be better selling Limited Edition prints at the Henley Art Trail, rather than originals. I think people make mostly impulse buys, which tend to be under £500, and I have misjudged my market by having the expensive gallery work on display. For all that, I did pick up a couple of commissions, which makes all the work of the weekend worthwhile!
 
www.catherineingleby.com