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.
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….
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.
|Combat D’Oryx by Pascal Chesnau|
A previous winner of the DSWAY title, I love the movement in this one.
|Unnatural by Candice Bees|
Not many seem to qualify for this category, but I particularly like this fox by Lucy Paine
I love the bees by Patricia but I think these parrots by Stefano will be spectacular.
|Turquoise and gold by Stefano Zagaglia|
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|
Wide category this, but I love this tiger, although it equally falls into the next category.
|Tiger 13 by Stephen Rew|
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|
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.
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
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.
|Kick up your heels by Catherine Ingleby|
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.
|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!
|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.
|Transperence – Rhino by Pascal Cheasneau|
|Rook by Susie Dafforn
Monochrome Category Winner
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!
|Burning Bright by Catherine Ingleby|
|Ivy, my spaniel, with a scuplture by Rosemary Cook|
It’s a great moment when you open that long awaited email to find it starts with ‘Congratulations’. I’m delighted to say that not just one, but both works were accepted into the David Shepherd Wildlife Artist of the Year which will run from the 3rd-7th June in the Mall Galleries, London. It is an exhibition well worth visiting as it always beautifully hung, and represents the top working wildlife artists both in the UK and abroad.
|Bison – charcoal on paper|
The other bonus of selection into these competitions is the chance to catch up with so many colleagues at once. Painting, unless you’re based in a shared studio complex, is essentially a very solitary career, so the opportunity to attend a large gathering of artists is always a real treat. I know Karen Laurence-Rowe has been accepted, and look forward to meeting her. I’m also pleased to see that Davina Bosanquet has asked to be one of the guest artists, after winning her category two years running. It’s the week before my solo exhibition opens with Oil & Water in London, so June will be a busy month!
I was immensely honoured to be given access to the animals at Longleat Safari Park last week, going out with a keeper to see them being fed, and took many hundreds of photos. The staff there could not have been more accommodating, and their knowledge and understanding of their animals was extraordinary. I manage to obtain enough source material to keep me going for many months.
I have always wanted to do more wildlife painting, but have struggled to find animals to work from, normal zoo exhibits are either asleep or look so bored and spending several weeks a year photographing them in Africa isn’t really an option with two small children. The Longleat animals, in their vast acreage of paddocks, were incredibly fit, and very lively! A huge thanks to everyone who enabled my trip.
|Male lion, Longleat
2013 has been a great year.
I think at the outset I was determined it was going to be a good one. 2012 had been pretty shit, I badly broke my ankle, and then, having recovered from that, was diagnosed with cancer. There seems to be a general view that skin cancer is somehow a less dangerous form of cancer, more of a cosmetic irritation. Which I admit, was probably a view I also held. (Got a dodgy mole – just get it chopped off; problem solved.) Turns out, that’s not how it works, and skin cancer is as frightening a black hole to look into as any other cancer. I was lucky.
So, my aims for 2013 were to get fit and healthy, and to acquire an agent/gallery in London, plus at least one other in the UK.
I also wanted to grow my ‘brand’ through PR, social media, retail outlets, and by entering a selection of Art competitions. People always seem surprised when they ask me about my daily working life how much time is spent away from the studio, but being successful as an artist is largely about being successful as a business. No one is going to wander into your studio and buy enough art to warrant you to pay tax. So it was a happy moment taking this photo of my picture “Ivy Leaping” in prime position in the window of Oil & Water in Wandsworth, another goal ticked off the list!
|Oil & Water Gallery, Old York Road, SW19|
I also signed up with The Stockbridge Gallery in Hampshire, and managed to get into the BBC wildlife artist of the year finals. It has been clear through my work that I’ve managed to rediscover sense of joy, that I think had been noticeably absent.
I’ve tried to be bolder, more experimental and use greater colour than ever before, and have found that this has seeped out of the studio and into what I eat, what I wear and my outlook on life in general.
|“Over the last”|
I am excited about 2014, about the opportunities and possibilities that lie ahead; my solo show with Oil and Water Gallery in June 2014, the competitions coming up, and of course, the many and varied people that I so love meeting in the course of work. I feel very blessed (well, except for the tax bill obvs!)
Happy New Year
|Me, wearing my favorite new jumper!|
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.