Posted on

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!
 

Posted on

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…
 
Posted on

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….

Posted on

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

Posted on

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.
Posted on

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…
Posted on

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
Posted on

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!

Posted on

The worst kept secret…

For those that hadn’t already guessed, the painting I’ve been working on/impaling myself on my palette knife over, is for H.M. The Queen and is due to be presented at the Balmoral Garden Party in a couple of weeks. I will post an image of it after it’s presentation. Not that I think H.M. reads my blog, but if she does, I’d hate to spoil the suprise!
I’m really pleased with the final result, even though it took three gos to get there, with complete compositional rethinks each time. It’s just come back from Christina Leder, a fabulous Aladdins cave of gold frames, and is now en route to Scotland.

Works in progress
The Highland cattle painting is coming on slowly. It’s had a month on the floor, so was very dry, but a coat of retouch varnish and it’s now back on the easel; here’s an update after this weeks progress. I actually think I’ve lost a bit of the light in it, so that’s todays mission, then I’ll start on the background.

I’ve finally mastered the art of Twitter, so for more frequent (and random) updates, please follow me on @InglebyArt

Posted on

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.

Posted on

Bespoke Children Portraits

This is the first children’s commission I’ve undertaken, and it turned out pretty well. This method works so well for children (or dogs) and looks very dramatic when framed and hung. I also had a set of cards printed, great for thank yous!

Some of children’s prints are featured in this months issue of The Little Book a fantastic publication for parents in the Windsor/Marlow/Henley area.

Posted on

The process of painting

I’ve been meaning to do a post on the development of a painting, showing my process of work, as I get asked about it all the time.
 So, here is DAY ONE of a new painting.
I start by making the canvas – about 3 foot by 2  and then I do a pale colour wash called a ‘ground’. On top of this I sketch out, in a very thin red oil paint the basic composition of the painting. It is CRUCIAL to get this absolutely right, as it saves heart ache, and much frustration at a later stage.

Next, I start blocking in the main areas of colour.

And then filling in the cows…with some help from my studio assistant!

That is the first days work…a long day, as I’ve been part of the Henley Arts Trail, which has seen a steady stream of visitors to the studio.
Posted on

NEW WEBSITE!

At last, the website is finished and published. Brand spanking new, I now have complete control over it so it will be kept much more up to date.

www.catherineingleby.com

If you spot any typos or errors, please let me know. In time I will add an e-commerce page so prints can be bought directly, but for the moment please email me if there is something you are interested in.

The studio has had a bit of spring clean in preparation for the Henley Arts Trail next week, and it’s been lovely working there, looking out at the driving rain. I did this little landscape oil sketch to distract me from the Jubilee commission, and clear my head a bit! Sometimes working on one painting for too long stops you from ‘seeing’ it – all you can see faults, so it’s good to work on a completely different project for a bit.

Landscapes really aren’t my strong point so always good to have a bit of practise. This is a view to the Cabrach, a couple of miles from my parents house in Aberdeenshire.

Posted on

New gift cards and thank you note cards

I have had these three images printed to sell at the Henley Arts Trail in two weeks time, they have turned out really well, I wanted something quaint and old fashioned without being too twee or childish. The first two are going to be sold as individual cards with envelopes.

This image is going to be on a set of thank you note cards, sold as a set of 4. I am going to develop a girl version, and hopefully a baby version, for all those notes you write after receiving gifts for a new born baby.

Posted on

Paintings And Pincushions

Finally it has warmed up enough to be able to work in the studio without risk of hypothermia and added optional extra of gas poisoning (MUST get that heater fixed!)
I’ve been working on a couple of commissioned paintings, firstly Digby and Mr. Chips.

 I dropped my camera, so have had to resort to my tiny digital one – bit of step down in quality, so if anyone has a lens to fit a Canon Eos – I’m looking!

Secondly the big painting that will be revealed in June – here’s a snip of the oil sketch!

Guessed what it’s going to be of yet?? I’m starting on the main painting next week, having just put in a painfully expensive order for brushes and new paints with Jacksons Art Supplies.

THE HENLEY ARTS TRAIL is hotting up, with the publicity machine getting going and a giant box of leaflets sitting on my passenger seat, waiting to be handed out….I’ve made a small dent in it so far. I have however managed to source and produce some really fun small gift type items, that hopefully will appeal to the crowds. Like these pincushion jars.

And I found a spare hour this afternoon to make this image of my fabulous chocolate poodle, Whirly.