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Getting it right

One of the most common questions I’m asked is “how long does it take?” So, I thought I’d quickly run through the process of the creation of a recent piece – “Razzle dazzle”
Painting zebras is always a bit of a headache inducer – all those stripes, and five together was ambitious. I started with a small sketch 25x25cm, which went well, and was pretty straightforward.

Zebras, £350

So, an expensive sheet of 70x50cm paper is clipped up onto the easel and I start on a big version.

Started well..
But soon joined the growing pile of rejects on the floor…
There were several versions of charcoal on white paper, each more disastrous than the previous. I just couldn’t get the light as I envisaged it. Finally, I scrapped about £30 worth of paper into the bin and tried on a dark grey paper. This version I was pleased with, the zebras really standing out from the background. It’s hard to keep the looseness of the original sketch, but working from drawings rather than photos really helps.
Herd of Zebras 70x50cm £850

Then I moved onto the oil, the background took ages to get right, I started with an ochre/blue/pale cream combination, but then changed the background to red which I felt conveyed Africa a bit more, that red dust. Also the ochre was too similar to the foreground colour. The blue doesn’t really show up in the photos, as it is so close in tone to the top layer, but it’s very clear in the flesh so to speak.

Razzle dazzle
It’s not a huge painting, 24x18inches, but I felt any bigger and I’d lose the freshness, although getting enough detail proved a little tricky. 
Framed and ready for sale £1500
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How to dress as an artist.

What to wear?

I cannot claim any expertise in fashion world, but it is something I struggle with before every event! ‘What to wear?! How do you marry smart with artistic? Businesslike, but creative? I seem to be trying to balance two extremes.
I googled ‘How to dress as an artist’ and came up with this wikihow link. I can only assume it’s a piss take, but it’s pant wettingly funny. 

Ethnic

I see a lot of outfits like this, fine but a bit ‘I milk my own goats’ although it’s pleasingly named ‘form and whimsy outfit 5’
Blue fish clothing
I love going to art fairs and see how other artists dress, there was a group of three women at a show last year who were wearing between them; a cat ears hairband, neon (pink and yellow), tartan tights, copious velvet, and the obligatory eyewateringly bright kaftan. My gut feeling is that if you want to be taken seriously by buyers or potential galleries then cat’s ears are probably not going to swing things in your favour. 

I’m mad me.

I’m not keen on the ‘toddler in dressing up box’ look either. In fact, I tend to find that the more a successful an artist is, the less they look like an “artist”. Who knows where the fashion for crazy artist dressing stemmed from, Dali perhaps. Picasso always looked a bit like an onion seller to my mind.

Airy fairy

The final group I see alot of are the boho crowd, but it’s not really me. It’s too floaty, and impractical. I think it’s faintly ridiculous on someone the wrong side of 35. 
I tend to stick to less shouty outfits, with as much Anthropologie as I can afford in the sales. Private view at the Affordable Art Fair tomorrow, I won’t be the one wearing animal ear accessories!
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How and where to buy art

Buying art can be daunting for many people, so here are some suggestions!

Visit the artist

Painting is a solitary occupation and we are only too delighted to break for coffee and a chat with anyone who’s vaguely interested in our work. You will get a first hand look at where the work is created, the process and often be able to pick up pieces that would otherwise not be up for sale. The Salt Studio shop is an excellent example of a collaboration of artists selling preparatory or non gallery work.

Open Studios

Henley Arts Trail

Open studios are a great way to visit artists in a much more casual atmosphere. I am part of the fantastic Henley Arts Trail which runs for three days next weekend, and typically we have about a thousand people through over the bank holiday (this year is the 2-4th May). It’s fun, there are plenty of venues, and an enormous variety of art and artists to see.

Prosecco & Paintings party on the Sunday of H.A.T.

Online

Look at artist or gallery websites. Decide what you like then you can either visit the artist or the gallery to view it in person. I find a lot of people buy prints online, but most prefer to see originals in the flesh before committing to a purchase.

Print Sales

In a gallery

Ask them their advice! Tending a gallery can lean towards being a bit dull if no one talks to you! Most gallery owners or managers will be only too delighted to help find something to suit your taste and budget. There isn’t the pressure of engaging with one artist and the gallery owner will have a broad knowledge of art, able to source work outwith their current exhibition or published list of artists. Penny at Oil and Water does the excellent ‘try before you buy’ scheme, meaning you can take the work home, live with it for a day or two and then decide.
A lot of galleries are signed up to ‘own art‘ meaning you can pay in instalments, from as little as £10 a month until the work is paid for. Most artists are also happy to do this, several of my original sales or commissions are paid in 3-6 instalments by standing order.

Trade Fairs

The Affordable Arts Fair and similar are the best way to immerse yourself in the art scene without the obligation to engage with galleries or artists. You can browse thousands of artists, glass of wine or coffee in hand, until you find work that captures your attention. My work will be at the Hampstead Affordable Arts Fair June 11th-14th, showing with Eduardo Alessandro Studios

Bulldog 

Tip: Sign up to a few galleries and you may well be sent tickets to the private view the following year!

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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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As the winter drags on…

How to survive January & February

Such a grim time of year to be an artist, especially if you are tied to the UK by school children or other commitments. Clearly if you aren’t its fantastic as you can sugar off to another, sunnier, continent and ‘work’ there. (If this is you please don’t contact me until spring)
Camel etching
For those of us in the UK it can be hard to motivate ourselves to brave a freezing cold studio, so this is my personal motivational list:
*Work somewhere else. For me this is the fantastic South Hill Park which not only is heated but has a fab cafe buzzing with people. I’ve been doing all my etching in the print studio there.
*Submit to new galleries. They probably aren’t that busy either as its a very quiet time of year for all in the art world, so its a good time for artists to send out submissions. 
*Visit galleries and shows. I get too busy later in the year to do this, so have booked a few to go and see.
*Work out your competition schedule and submission deadlines for the year. 
*Plan your advertising budget and placements.
*Plan work. I can do this in my comparatively warm office, and then I’ll hit the studio once the heaters have kicked in.

Keep Painting

Easier said then done in this weather but I have managed to get a surprising amount done this month, and am pleased with my first equine work for a while. It’s a large piece 36×30″ which reminded me how much I enjoy working on this scale. No title as yet, so ideas welcome!

Upcoming shows

Oil & Water are hosting a Birds, Beasts and Butterflies exhibition this month which features several of my works, and we are also a doing a solo show at Wedlake Bell in the city. Invites are available on request.

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drawing to a close…

The past year

Christmas is nearly upon us and I have been reflecting a bit on the past twelve months. 2014 has been a fantastic year here at Ingleby art HQ, Madeleine joined me early in the year and has been a godsend managing a lot of the areas I’m weak in (basically anything involving organisation or sitting at a computer..)
We have built up to a dozen galleries, and showed at around twenty exhibitions in the ten month period, with one more solo to come in the New Year. I have taken up printmaking once a week, which I’ve loved, well loved etching, not so much the other forms!


www.catherineingleby.com
Camel Etching

 

Inspiration from elsewhere

I’m being inundated with posts form various blogs I follow about reviewing your year as a business, and making plans for 2015. Some of these have brilliant tips, and I take great inspiration from them. www.makingamark.com and www.artbizblog.com are two of my favourites, and my old colleague Marc d’alessio also writes very well about life as painter – www.marcdalessio.com
As some light relief from all these worthy material I also follow www.cupcakesandcashmere.com which pretty much represents the polar opposite of my life, so is fascinating to peek into (and occasionally snigger at – cannot wait to see the havoc a new baby is going to wreak) I must stop accumulating pets though…


My studio mates – Ivy and new puppy Jazzy.

Plans for 2015

My plans for 2015 are going to include more of the gundog series, which has been very popular, a lot more wildlife, especially as we are planning a trip to South Africa in late 2015. I also want to build up the illustration business which goes from strength to strength (due to Madeleine!) We launched the new website and last month and have had steady sales
www.inglebyillustration.co.uk



www.inglebyillustration.co.uk
www.inglebyillustration.co.uk

The prints are also being snapped up very quickly, I am doing a set of 50 of the Tigers as canvas prints 70x70cm, and they are proving very popular. The print quality is so good I really can hardly tell the reproductions from the originals!

www.catherineingleby.com
www.catherineingleby.com

So, Happy Christmas to all, a huge thank you to all those who have supported me over this last year and looking forward to 2015!

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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!