Saturday, September 24, 2016

Review: 3rd Derwent Art Prize Exhibition

I'm writing this review more for the record and the benefit of those thinking of entering the competition for the Derwent Art Prize (sponsored by Derwent Pencils ) in future years.

This week has seen a surfeit of exhibitions for me - and yet more problems for me with my joints! I really shouldn't spend so much time standing looking at art in art exhibitions - as it now means I can't move the next day!  Hence the delay.....

The Derwent Art Prize - selected works

The 3rd Derwent Art Prize Exhibition 2016

The exhibition finishes today at the Mall Galleries. Frankly 6 days is not enough for this exhibition. However you can see the art online and it will get another outing - and I'll let you know where when I know (keep an eye on my Making A Mark Facebook Page!)
The exhibition will tour to a number of venues throughout the UK from October - December 2016. Full details will be announced shortly.
  • First some gallery view images of the exhibition
  • then a summary of what was good and where there is scope to improve
  • finally, some images of the 8 drawings I liked by 6 artists. I also liked others - but these have all got an extra something...
I've already commented on the prizewinners in Derwent Art Prize 2016 - Prizewinners

Gallery views

There are two absolute truisms about drawings when seen online:
  • they do look different when seen in the gallery - you can't ever beat the face up cloe to the work to get a really good sense of what a work is about and how it has been made.
  • you can never ever get a proper sense of the relative size of different artwork - unless it is seen in context

That's why it's essential to go to exhibitions and not just look online - even if you end up crocked afterwards (as I do!)

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Review: Sunday Times Watercolour Competition 2016

Earlier this week I visited the 29th exhibition of Sunday Times Watercolour Competition at the Mall Galleries and this is my review of this year's selected paintings.

This post is about:
  • the exhibition of selected works - there are 78 paintings in total in the exhibition (12 less than last year and 22 less than was advertised in the Call for Entries)
  • which artwork I liked the best
  • aspects I think can be improved
If you want to see the exhibition you need to hurry up and do so this week as the exhibition closes at 4pm on Saturday 24th September. Admission is free. After that there are two more chances to see the exhibition:
  • 24 - 29 October 2016 Parabola Arts Centre, Parabola Road, Cheltenham GL50 3AA - Monday - Saturday: 10am - 4pm. 
  • 10 December 2016 - 28 January 2017 Guildford House Gallery, 155 High Street, Guildford, Surrey GU1 3AJ. Monday – Saturday: 10am - 4.45pm.
You can also see the works online on the exhibition page of the website (it takes AGES to load) - and compare them to those in previous years (scroll down).  Each painting also has an individual page on the website.

Viewing the exhibition - prizewinners on the left.
This is my fourth blog post about the competition. The first three were:
The Sunday Times Watercolour Competition Prizewinners - on the wall

Review of the exhibition

Before I start.....

Why the big reduction in number of paintings selected and hung?

The very first comment I wrote in my exhibitions notebook was "smaller than in previous years?".

I'm very puzzled as to why the number of paintings exhibited has dramatically reduced.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Impressive solo exhibition by 2016 Threadneedle Prizewinner

Yesterday I was really impressed when I walked into the Threadneedle Space at the Mall galleries and saw Lewis Hazelwood-Horner's solo exhibition which is part of the The Columbia Threadneedle Prize 2016 which he won earlier this year(see Lewis Hazelwood-Horner wins £20,000 Threadneedle Prize 2016).

Lewis Hazelwood-Horner and two of his large paintings about processing hops for beer.
The idea behind the prize is that the winner gets a hefty cheque - which then gives him or her the time and space to paint - and then a one week solo exhibition later in the Threadneedle Space. This serves as a 'shop window' for the potential of the artist to impress art galleries, art collectors and those who might need want to commission a work.

Well the exhibition by Lewis Hazelwood-Horner impressed me - and then some!

Beer & Guns by Lewis Hazelwood-Horner
It's one of the very best exhibitions I've ever seen in that gallery. It's well hung and 'hangs together' but it's the content which is amazing.

Lobb the shoemakers and sleeping on hop sacks

views of the hop fields and brewing process
I've been bemoaning for some time that we no longer see narrative paintings which tell a story or document the present day - where we see ordinary people in their natural context.

Instead we see landscapes without people, townscapes with anonymous people and portraits of individuals which rarely tell a story. It can get boring.

What we get with these paintings is engagement with both the process, the people and the place. It's real life and it's a really valuable exercise to be documenting these processes in 21st century Britain.

They're also very striking paintings - Lewis has a keen eye for a good composition and clearly demonstrates a real love of his media and painting.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Derwent Art Prize 2016 - Prizewinners

A pencil drawing about "Refugees" by Agim Sulaj has won the £6,000 First prize in the Derwent Prize 2016, sponsored by Derwent Pencils.

Prizewinners received their prizes from Eileen Cooper RA, Keeper of the Royal Academy at the Awards Ceremony at the Mall Galleries this evening where the exhibition is being held all this week.

Derwent Art Prizewinners 2016
Left to right: Tim Wright (3rd Prize), Lee Wagstaff (2nd Prize), Apple Wong Hiu Fung (Young Artist Award), Angharad Pelling (UKCPS Award), Astri Thomas-Saunders (Marketing Manager, Derwent) Agim Sulaj (First Prize) and Eileen Cooper RA, Keeper of the Royal Academy - who awarded the prizes
Other prizewinners and their artwork can be found below together with more about Agim Sulaj.

The scope of the works in the Derwent Art Prize exhibition are determined by the terms and conditions and the judging panel
The work entered must be created in pencil (including water-soluble, pastel, graphite, charcoal or coloured pencils). The work must not exceed 182cms in its greatest dimension. There is no minimum size limit. The Prize is open to both 2 dimensional and 3 dimensional works. All entered work must have been completed within the last 3 years.
Overall, in my opinion this is the best Derwent Art Prize exhibition yet - and I'll be writing more about it later this week.

The most noticeable difference this year is that all the main prizewinners are well established artists with a considerable body of work who work in pencil in addition to work in other media.

View of some of the work in the North Gallery
It's very definitely well worth a visit to the Mall Galleries this week where the exhibition can be seen in the North Gallery until 24 September 2016. Not least because it's a fabulous week for exhibitions associated with art competitions - with
You can also see all the shortlisted works being exhibited this week online - although I can emphatically say you need to visit the gallery to really appreciate the work.

About the Derwent Art Prizewinners

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Who's made a mark - 18th September 2016?

A round of some of latest posts on this blog and my various Facebook Pages (see the side column)

Art Competitions

Gridlock (Manhattan) by Janet Kenyon
winner of the Smith & Williamson Cityscape Prize
at the Sunday Times Watercolour Exhibition

Art Exhibitions & Collections

Art Exhibitions

Botanical Art

Art Collections

  • Who knew Richard Attenborough loved Picasso's ceramics? Or that he probably had the best collection in private hands?  Although Richard Attenborough made a lifetime loan of their Picasso ceramics to the New Walk Museum and Art Gallery, the Guardian reports that Richard Attenborough's beloved Picasso ceramics to go on sale via auction

Art Business & Marketing

Art Studios

  • Will artists need to move out of London in future if they want cheap space to rent now that every last inch of brown field sites are being rezoned, refurbished and rebuilt? Read the article on Apollo Magazine about Where will London's Artists work?

Art Galleries & Fairs

Selling Art & Social Media

Instagram and Videos


  • As my series of articles for The Artist Magazine wind up, I start to write about matters you have to deal with after you start to trade and sell art in How to keep on the right side of the tax man in the September edition.

Time management

Art Education



Art on Television

Botanical Art

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