Monday, 24 November 2014

International Artist

A strange parcel arrived on Saturday, delivered by Postie (as he signs himself on his cards).

Well, it wasn't a parcel, more of a sack.  An international sack from America.


Inside the sack was a box of these.


It's the December/January 2015 100th edition of International Artist magazine.  Where they go 'INSIDE THE STUDIOS OF THE WORLD'S BEST ARTISTS.'

And turning to page 82, I found this - me!  In Scotland!!



In fact, I was on pages 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89, 90 and 91.  Ten pages!!

There are three different workshops demonstrations involving composition, texture and patterns in my landscape paintings, resulting in three different paintings - Avenue with Trees, Hampstead Heath, The Sea, and the RGI prizewinning painting Eastbourne Pier.  The entire article is possibly longer than my undergraduate dissertation!

However, I'm really chuffed with the result.


Friday, 21 November 2014

Big Daisy Painting Sells for Surprising Amount Considering It's By A Woman

A new world record auction price for a painting by a woman was set yesterday.  

£28.8 million was paid for this top-notch floral piece by Georgia O'Keeffe.  Originally estimated to fetch around £9.5 million, two keen bidders fought it out, smashing her previous record of a mere £3.9 million set in 2001.

Georgia O'Keeffe, Jimson Weed/White Flower No 1 (1932)

You may think this is a lot of money for a painting - and it is, although Jimson Weed has been to market twice before, achieving nowhere near the new record price – it sold for £620,000 in 1987 and £625,000 in 1994.

But in the art market, being a woman artist is bad news - the plain fact is men sell for more.  The art auction record is £90.8m for a Francis Bacon piece.   

Now, there are simply more artists who are male.  Lots of competition.  You could argue that that might make women's art more desirable, being rarer.  But no.  So why the discrepancy?  Is it sexism, and the market just values female art less?  Or that women don't have enough relevant things to say?  Or they say them in ways that male purchasers (because it's mainly men buying) can't identify with, ie. big daisies?  Women's art tends to be smaller, more emotional, less  in-your-face.  That would tend to suggest that market forces are telling women that their sort of art is less appealing, less marketable, less sellable.  Women - know your place.  Or is it that women just don't make good art?  Daisies are just a bit rubbish.

Anyway, the interesting thing about this painting is that it's being flogged off not by a private seller, but by the O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  The 17-year-old museum decided to sell three paintings from its collection of 1,149 works by the artist. Before the sale, its director, Robert A Kret, told the New York Times: “The museum holds half the artist’s output throughout her life. But still there are gaps that need to be filled.”

Selling your best exhibits when there's a finite supply is a bit odd.  O'Keeffe died aged 98, but a lifetimes output of around 2,500 artworks over such a long career isn't that much.  Artists don't retire, so I make that around 30 paintings a year.  What on earth was she doing the rest of the time??

But by selling three of their stock, the museum is not only trading up, but is increasing the profile and kudos of O'Keeffe in the art market.  Smart.

Or maybe they've decided to invest in some decent stuff by men...?

Read more on women painters in my blog HERE.

Rhossili Bay Painting in Christmas Show

Here's one of my paintings that's currently in the Lime Tree Gallery Christmas show in Long Melford, Suffolk.


Rhossili Bay (Oil on linen, 24 x 26)

This is a painting of the Gower Peninsula in Wales, with the beautiful long stretch of sand stretching into the distance, washed by the sea.  Apparently there's an old shipwreck on the beach, and when the sands and tides are right, you can see some of the timbers.  

You can read more about the wreck of the Helvetia HERE.

For further information about the Christmas exhibition, click HERE and scroll through to see my paintings.


Thursday, 20 November 2014


Mr Turner and his Queen Anne Street Gallery

Following on from my blog on the new Mr Turner film, I thought you might like to have a look at this really interesting little behind-the-scenes film. 


In it, director Mike Leigh and Timothy Spall (who plays Turner) show how they painstakingly brought Turner to life for the big screen.  In this short video, they focus on how they recreated Turner’s Queen Street Gallery, and I really recommend it if you have 15 minutes to spare.

It's an accompaniment both to the film, and to the major Tate Britain exhibition Late Turner, as well as an interesting look at Turner's techniques in action.

Friday, 14 November 2014

A Couple of Norfolk Paintings

Back in the summer, I travelled round Norfolk to get material for my forthcoming solo show in London (which I'm thinking of calling Journeys Through Landscape - always good to have a title in mind when preparing the show).  You can take a look at some of the photographs in my blog HERE.

Now here are a couple of the paintings which I've produced as a result of that trip - thought you might like to have a look. 

Cattle by Windmill, Norfolk (Oil on linen, 16 x 16)

Windmill at Cley Next the Sea (Oil on linen, 24 x 26)


Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Version #1

Earlier this week, this watercolour of mine went under the hammer at McTears Auction House in Glasgow.

Today I came, quite by chance, across the first version of this.  It was done the during the same class, with the same model in the same pose...