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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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Aladdins Cave

Russell-Cotes Museum

Finding myself at a loose end over half term I booked myself and the kids into a hotel in Bournemouth for a couple of days. I wouldn’t really recommend the hotel but my main reason for being there was to visit the Russell Cotes house and gallery. It is fabulous, like the home of some wonderfully flamboyant old uncle, perhaps an immensely wealthy Monty for Withnail, who has stepped out and let you in for a wander. The house is a work of art in its own right, the couple of lived there clearly had no budget restraint and went to town, every room a homage to decorative arts. 

Russell-Cotes House
The central Hall, Hugh contemplating the morrocan influenced fountain, now bereft of goldfish.

Charles Walter Simpson

I was not familiar with this artist, but this huge  – 8 foot square – canvas is extraordinary, it’s such an incredible study of light and pattern. Looking through his body of work, he clearly was drawn to abstract light patterns, and his painting of seagulls in late evening light ‘Silver Wings’ is stunning. His paintings seem remarkably contemporary for his time.

The punt gunner by Charkes Walter Simpson 1924

Lucy Kemp Welch

Not one of my favourite artists as her subjects tend to be quite twee, but still recognised as being one of the great equine artists of the 20th century.

The Gypsy Horse Drovers 1895

 Maud Earl

I know Maud from her prolific dog portraits that adorn many a country house, but this is the first big painting I had seen of hers. A stunning composition, very unusual having cropped the deer in the foreground.

Add caption

 Henry William Banks Davis 

Sheep are such unappealing subjects to paint being lumpen shaped, idiotic and with very little expression (sorry sheep!) but here Henry Davis has made them magnificently noble and dramatic.

Approaching Thunderstorm in Picardy 1869

Munnings

Ah, Munnings, I don’t see any in the flesh for a while and fall out of love with his work. He’s a one trick pony, endlessly repeating the same composition, the paintings seem crude and slapdash. Then you see one and remember why he is so justifiably famous and revered. They are extraordinary in real life; the size, the fury of the application of the paint and the insane use of colour, yet you stand back and it all falls into a harmonious painting with an exquisite handling of flesh. 
Dod Shaw on Patrick 1912
Brushwork up close. Mental.

And the rest

We ended up spending four hours there. they have a fabulous cafe and programmes for children. This is the sort of place art should be viewed with none of the sterility of modern museums. It’s when you works like the one below that you realise this is how they were designed to be displayed, not on a white wall under harsh spotlights, look at that wallpaper!!I urge you to go and have a look, their website is pretty basic with little info but it is worth the trip. I saw paintings by Farquharson, Lavery, Landseer, Henry Moore, and many more. Here’s a few more photos – but the BBC ‘Your Paintings’ collection has a comprehensive catalogue

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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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Society of Equine artists

So this is for a bit of fun, but the Society of Equine Artists has opened its annual exhibtion this week, award ceremony this Sunday. These are my picks for the prize winners, not including myself obviously!!
You can see the whole exhibition online at www.equestrianartists.co.uk although the slide show is maddeningly slow. It would be much better formatted as a gallery, so it could be more easily browsed.
I’ll post the actual winners next friday!

Best drawing – “Crusader” Rebecca De Mindonca Pastel £1,900 38″x31″

I haven’t come across this artists work before, and it’s stunning, although I think the shoulder needs to merge more softly into the red background. The racing paintings on her website are fantastic, so I’m suprised they havn’t been included in the SEA exhibtion. 

Best contemporary “Irish Draft Stallion Gortfree Hero” Sara Hodson ASEA Oils £800 21″x21″

Sara has submitted a very strong trio of works. See more at
https://www.sarahodson.com/

Best Group of works by full member – “Guards” Kristine Nason SEA Pencil £580 20″x24″

Best hunting work – “Kimblewick Hunt Leaving the Full Moon” Dennis Syrett SEA PPROI RBA RSMA Oils £8,000 32″x40″

I like Frderick Haycocks work as well, also a strong contender. 

Best coloured horse (!) “Zebra” Kim Thompson Acrylic £1,800 21″x41″
This might not count being a zebra, so technically not a horse, but it’s a lovely work. Realistically Malcolm Coward will probably win. Again.

Best in show -“Seventh Wave” Rosemary Sarah Welch SEA Oils £2,200 42″x38″

Best Sculpture – “The Chaser” Amy Goodman ASEA BA(Hons) Bronze 1/8 £5,250 20″x20″x8″

Best racing work -“Headway” Michelle McCullagh SEA Oils £2,800 25″x18″
Hard one to call this, as Michelle won last year I think, but to me this one stands out. 
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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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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
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