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David Shepherd Wildlife Artist of the Year predictions

I dropped my elephant off at the Mall Galleries today, in the company of some very impressive looking pieces arriving at the same time.
I’ve had a scan through the pre sales catalogue and attempted to pick my winners for each category.To be honest, the longer I looked the harder I found it to make up my mind, I don’t envy those poor judges. I’m just very honoured to be featured in such strong company!

So heres the seven categories with my best guess at the winners.

Animal Behaviour: Showing a real understanding of animal behaviour, a sense of character, maybe something the judges may not have seen before.

Combat D’Oryx by Pascal Chesnau

A previous winner of the DSWAY title, I love the movement in this one.

Urban Wildlife: Entries can be in an urban style or depict the city life of animals and plants. Judges will be looking for both originality in the habitat as well as the contrast between wild and urban life.

Unnatural by Candice Bees

 or

Gemma Hayward

 Hidden World: A celebration of remote and rarely observed or lesser known landscapes and species. 

Lucy Paine



Not many seem to qualify for this category, but I particularly like this fox by Lucy Paine

Wings, Feathered or Otherwise: The extraordinary variety of winged wildlife – birds and insects, in flight or at rest. 

I love the bees by Patricia but I think these parrots by Stefano will be spectacular.

Turquoise and gold by Stefano Zagaglia

Into the Blue: Illustrate the wonderful world of water, be it ocean, seashore, wetland, river or stream.




Has to be one of nick O’Neils works (he has FIVE accepted this year, highest no. of entries I think!)

Whip it by Nick O’Neil

Vanishing Fast: Our vanishing world – it can be any species officially listed as endangered or threatened on the IUCN Red List – or any landscape that is at risk. 


Wide category this, but I love this tiger, although it equally falls into the next category.

Tiger 13 by Stephen Rew





Earth’s Beautiful Creatures: The choice is yours! As in all categories the judges are looking for not only beautifully executed original artworks but also imaginative interpretation, moving away from the purely photographic to compositions with great characterization, showing imagination, originality and genuine creativity. 


So anything then…

I’m going to choose the snow leopards, such a a great composition of a tricky subject.

The ghost in the mountains by Cynthia House


Overall Winner?

I’m going to go for either Nick O’Neils polar bear “Before it melts”

or Radha Kirby’s “Hippos in the late afternoon sun”….

Judging is on Monday so I’ll update on Tuesday morning.

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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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Finding the creative spark

What makes an artist ‘talented’?

I recently watched this Ted talk by Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of the bestseller ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ It touched a nerve, as I really empathise with her subject, that an artist does not have to be a mentally unstable genius in order to create brilliant work.

https://ed.ted.com/lessons/your-elusive-creative-genius-elizabeth-gilbert

Elizabeth Gilbert

5% talent – 95% hard graft

Art is a job, a job like any other when you have good days, bad days, days when you want to do nothing but work, and days when you wonder why you are there at all. Success is dependent on turning up and sticking at it. I suspect we do have steeper peaks and troughs, but it’s a temperamental business. There is no barrier to being both creative and business like, which artists and buyers are waking up to, harnessing the selling power of the Internet.

Two of the most common questions I’m asked are ; “where do you get your ideas from?” and “How do you price your work?”

I get my ideas from every day, I see ideas every time I leave the house, in every programme I watch, every book I read. For example I visited Windsor Horse Show yesterday and was flooded with ideas for paintings, this photo I took would make a fantastic sketch for example.

Sadly I have to balance every idea, with whether or not I think will it sell, and how many people will it appeal to. My art is a business, and I have to approach it as such, so sadly this idea will be condemned to the closet, as it will have too narrow an audience to make it commercial. (By the way, big congrats to my sister who won Champion Polo Pony with her little home bred mare, Tinx)

Tinx, Champion Polo pony at Royal Windsor 

I do think there is such a thing as ‘talent’ there are some days when that elusive genie really does just show up, but talent is nothing without hard work. I am listening to a new song in the studio at the moment – ‘Bills’ by Lunchmoney Lewis, I know how he feels, and the video is hilarious! Bills Video

I’ve just finished this piece, and I’m pretty sure the genie was on my shoulder for this one.

Needs a title?!

Abysmal photos, I know! They’re off to the print studio to be professionally photographed next week!

Comments, as always, are very welcome. Love to know your thoughts, esp on the Ted talk, do you agree with her?

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Opening my studio

Henley Arts Trail 2015

The doors opened on Saturday morning and a sure but steady trickle of visitors flowed through the doors until Monday evening.

Studio looking stunning in the early May evening sun.
I have to come clean here, for the previous six or so years I have always thought of opening the studio as a pleasant exercise in meeting local folk, and other artists but never as profitable endeavour.

Inside the studio looking super clean
This year however I decided to put in a lot more effort, and have a wider range of art for sale, something for every budget. We renovated the studio, bought a trade stand and installed a gallery hanging system. I invested in prints, framing and print browsers and rather a lot of sundries besides…

My lucky horseshoe
It paid off, or, at least, paid for itself. We sold a lot of prints, cards and several large oil pieces. It was as ever great to meet all those who had made the effort to visit and fascinating to watch them react to the work on the walls.

Jazzy keeping watch.
I did a demo piece over the course of the open weekend, something which was very popular, and it sold on the last day. 

“Conquest” oil on natural linen
The Maidenhead advertiser wrote a lovely piece about the trail featuring a photo of yours truly. In all well worth the effort, and now we have the artists after party to look forward to!
Tina & Dolly – sure that the HENley arts trail was all about them
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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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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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From start to finish.

You may remember if you read this blog regularly that I attempted to show the process of the development of a painting last year – one of the highland cows. For whatever reason; I lost concentration, got distracted by the children or another of the myriad of excuses that artists deploy when they’re procrastinating, was that the painting was a complete disaster, and ended up ripped up off its stretchers rolled into a dusty tube and joined the collection of cast offs under the dog’s chair in my studio.
This time I thought I’d finish the painting first. I’ve used a commissioned portrait of a sidesaddle rider to demonstrate. This is the photo I was given to work from, not ideal, but enough.

 

Stage one. Planning and composition.
This looks deceptively simple but is in fact the most crucial part. I have finally been dragged into the modern age by my soon to be brother in law Jack, who lent me a tablet and stylus so I can sketch, erase and the move things around at will. I’ve taken the original photo, removed the ungainly rider from the front, and arranged the remaining three into a better balanced composition, which hopefully emphasise the sidesaddle rider (the commission subject)

Stage two. Oil sketches.
These are small sketches, painted quickly in an hour or two which let me have a look at the balance of the painting, the harmony of colours, and allow me to make mistakes inexpensively. I wanted to go with a plainer background as seen in the largest sketch, but the client wanted a landscape.

Stage three. Main painting.
Once the the canvas is measured out, stretched and primed with a dark ‘ground’ I sketch out the drawing onto the paint with a pen. I now have to order these especially from the States as my uk supplier discontinued them and like many artists I hate to change tools. I have painted with the same half dozen Old Holland oil colours for the past decade. Expensive – one of the tubes is about £40 a go, but worth it.
I can’t explain why some paintings work and others don’t, but well planned and thought out paintings tend to work better than those I rush into. I always have an image of what I want to achieve in my head, sometimes I achieve it, sometimes I never quite get there, and on rare occasions I exceed it. The first version of this didn’t work, and got very ‘muddy’ but I was more pleased with the second.

Attempt No 1

Final Painting 

Final stage
Letting it dry, touching up the details and highlights, and varnishing. Then sending the proof to the client, which is terrifying EVERY time. They were pleased fortunately.

I’m most often asked ‘How long does a painting take?’ and in answer I really have no idea. This was commissioned in May, and delivered in August. If the first version had worked it would probably have been ready the month before. Each painting is different, some are finished in a week, and others take six months.

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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 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…