Friday, 26 March 2010

Sam Leach wins Wynne Prize

Sam Leach: Proposal for landscaped cosmos
copyright the artist

Sam Leach has won the Wynne Prize 2010 (AUS$25,000) for his landscape Proposal for landscaped cosmos. His painting style emulates 17th century Dutch painting. The painting for me prompts thoughts of the South Sea Bubble which, given his overall direction and emphasis on painting the offices of the corporate world, is maybe intended as a commentary on the dire state of global financial affairs - but that's just a guess on my part!

I do love his painting though - he captures the style of Dutch landscape painting perfectly. I'll leave it to the Australians to judge whether it reminds them of the Australian landscape.

The painting can be seen from 27 March – 30 May 2010 at the Art Gallery of New South Wales after which it leaves for a tour of Australian Art Galleries (see end).

The Wynne Prize is awarded to what the judges consider to be the best landscape painting of Australian scenery in oils or watercolours, or for the best example of figure sculpture by an Australian artist. This year there were 798 entries for the Wynne. The Archibald and Wynne prizes are both judged by the Trustees of the Art Gallery of New South Wales

Sam Leach has also won the Archibald Prize 2010 (AUS$50,000) with a portrait of Tim Minchin. This is the second year in Archibald’s history that an artist has won both the Archibald and the Wynne prizes in the same year, the first being William Dobell in 1948.
Born in Adelaide in 1973 and based in Melbourne, Leach has a Bachelor of Arts, Honours (Painting) and a Master of Art (Fine Arts) from RMIT University. He won the Metro5 Art Award and the Fletcher Jones Prize in 2006 and the Eutick Memorial Still Life Award in 2007. He has had ten solo shows in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide and has been represented in various group shows. This is his fourth consecutive year in the Archibald Prize.
Sam Leach has been consistently being listed for and winning prizes for his paintings since 2004. What I find fascinating is that his first degree is in economics and that he worked for years in the Australian Tax Office before becoming a full time painter - which provides a powerful message that there is hope for us all! ;)

This list of Wynne Prizewinners from 1897 to the present day is maintained on the website of the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

It's great to see a country proud of its landscape and giving prominence to a landscape art prize. I do wish there was something similar for the UK.

Touring dates:
For those living in Australia, the touring dates and venues for the exhibition are on the website:
  • 11 June — 11 July 2010 Goulburn Regional Art Gallery
  • 22 July — 22 August 2010 Wagga Wagga Art Gallery
  • 30 August — 24 September 2010 Tamworth Regional Gallery
  • 4 October — 27 October 2010 Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery
  • 4 November — 5 December 2010 Muswellbrook Regional Arts Centre
  • 14 December — 18 January 2011 Shoalhaven City Arts Centre
  • 27 January — 3 March 2011 Albury Art Gallery and Library Museum

Thursday, 25 March 2010

From completed landscape drawing to Streetview

Monterchi from the Via Madonna del Parto
8" x 10", coloured pencil on Arches HP
copyright Katherine Tyrrell

This is the reverse version of the Virtual paintout process. First the drawing and then the Streetview perspective!

Above is a drawing of Monterchi in Tuscany - home of the Madonna del Parto by Piero della Francesco and below is the scene from Streetview of very nearly the place where I got this view. I was stood one row into the vines on the right hand side. The Streetview is from the Via Madonna del Parto.

The Streetview perspective seems to me to be mid afternoon whereas my view was on my regular drive from Citerna to a house near Lippiano - which involved going past this view at about 9am each morning - hence mine has a rather different light and the shadows are different.

I'm tickled pink to see that the very tall post for the vines is still there and is still leaning precariously!

Visualizzazione ingrandita della mappa

Has anybody else gone back to find the view they drew or painted on holiday via Streetview?

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

How to paint clouds

For those looking to improve their landscape painting, this is an extract from a post about clouds written by artist and teacher Jo-Ann Sanborn (Jo-Ann Sanborn Daily).

Take a Deep Breath (Sold)
5x7, acrylic on board
copyright Jo-Ann Sanborn
when I was teaching my first class...someone asked about painting clouds. We discussed them, I did a demo, but wasn't really prepared to "teach" them. My observations of clouds hadn't translated into intellectual knowledge in a way easy to pass on. Today I'm better prepared for cloud questions.

Clouds are part of almost every day here in South Florida. Observe them to determine their inherent character. There are several different kinds, and they each have their own particular characteristics. Sometimes there are several types in the sky at the same time. Here are a few basic hints for painting them.

1. Design your painting and determine where the horizon will be, and how much will be sky.
2. Determine the wind direction, usually from particular quarter of the sky.
3. Start with a grayed-down color darker than you need. Build the volume first.
4. Paint Quickly. Once your clouds are blocked in, don’t worry that the shapes in the sky change.
5. Clouds are made of water, so they will reflect what’s around and below them—the blue sky, the warm earth.
6. Use a mix of warm colors where the sun hits and cooler colors on the underside and in shadow.
7. Observe the density. Dense clouds reflect more light, edges are sometimes transparent.
8. Use atmospheric regression for clouds, too.
9. Overhead clouds are lighter and larger than those further away.
10. Clouds are warmest just above the horizon.

If you're observant, I'll bet you can add a few of your own!
If you've got some useful tips about painting landscapes which you'd like to share please contact me with a link to the relevant post.

Monday, 22 March 2010

The History of Landscape Painting - a new resource

I've just published The History of Landscape Painting as a new resource for all those interested in the development of landscape painting everywhere in the world and across the centuries.

Learn about the development of landscape painting
Find out how landscape painting has developed across the centuries and different continents. This resource for art lovers identifies
* major movements in the history of landscape art
* famous landscape artists from the past
* famous art schools associated with landscape painting
* major subjects for landscape painting; and
* (in the future) popular locations for landscape art
This site is part of the The Art of the Landscape project and as such is a work in progress with new sites being added all the time. In effect it's the open access version of the ning site. Plus it can be bookmarked, tweeted and logged on Facebook.

I kept putting off publication - I wanted to add more, tweak more etc - but then remembered that this was supposed to be a project and that I don't know all the answers!

Feel free to identify useful websites for the site to link to

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Between Bjørnøy and Roaldsøy - looking west

This is a quick sketch and my first ever effort for the Virtual Paintout which this month is painting Stavanger in Norway. See Stavanger, Norway - March 2010 which contains a number of contributions at this mid-point in the month. I find it intriguing that quite so many different styles can work well with an image from Google Maps!

Between Bjørnøy and Roaldsøy - looking west
coloured pencils on Saunders Waterford

I found the most difficult bit to be navigating my way to a spot which had 'a good view' (which translates as something I liked enough to want to draw).

In the end I went for one of the islands and found a narrow bridge which gave me a view in two directions and a choice of topics. I like the red barn-like buildings and the combination of the red barns and the water seemed to me to be typical of this part of the world.

This is the link to where I was - although not quite the place I got to first time round. I forgot where I'd been or to make a note of the link and had to find it all over again!

Streetview is also a neat way of checking out whether somewhere where you think should present a good prospect for plein air work will deliver the goods in reality. Obviously you can't get everywhere - but there's a fair few places you can go.

It is also absolutely fascinating being able to see different parts of the world. I suspect a fair few people may change painting holiday plans as a result of being able to review locations using Streetview!

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Landscape quotations #1

‘Landscape has been for me one of the sources of my energy… I find that all natural forms are a source of unending interest – tree trunks… the texture and variety of grasses… The whole of Nature is an endless demonstration of shape and form.'
(Henry Moore; Energy in Space, 1973)

My photographs of sculptures by Henry Moore in Kew Gardens (2008)

Although most of Henry Moore's sculptures are figurative (female figures), I was hugely impressed with the way they sat in the landscape and 'belonged' at the exhibition of his work in Kew Gardens in 2007/8.

This is the sculpture map of the Henry Moore exhibition on the Kew Gardens website

I'm proposing to create a series of quotations about landscape and landscape art. If you'd like to suggest one please send me a link to its source


Monday, 15 March 2010

The BBC, Henry Moore and A Sculptor's Landscape

This is a link to a BBC Archive film about Henry Moore's work shown amid the natural landscape that inspired him. Click the little box on the bottom right to see it full screen.

The documentary is by John Read and the narration is by Ralph Richardson.

British Art and Artists
A Sculptor's Landscape

CHANNEL | BBC Television Service

FIRST BROADCAST | 29 June 1958

DURATION | 27 minutes 27 seconds

For more about Henry Moore see:

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Sandby: Portrait of the Whatman Factory in Kent

A View of Vintners at Boxley, Kent with Mr Whatman's Turkey Paper Mills 1794
Paul Sandby
673 x 1016mm; bodycolour and watercolour

Yale Centre for British Art
photo copyright Katherine Tyrrell

This appears to be an oil painting of a great view. Look more closely and you begin to see motifs associated with Kent - the hop poles and the white horse which are emblematic of Kent.

There appears to be a mansion in parkland but closer examination - and a nudge from the curators of Paul Sandby RA: Picturing Britain, A Bicentenary Exhibition at the Royal Academy of Art reveals the building to be the Whatman's famous papermaking mill in Kent. At which point I also learned that it is actually a watercolour painting on Whatman's famous watercolour paper! (This is my review of the exhibition Review: Paul Sandby - Picturing Britain Exhibition at the RA)

Paul Sandby exhibited A View of Vinters at Boxley, Kent, with Mr. Whatman’s Turkey Paper Mills at the Royal Academy exhibition of 1794. James Whatman (1703-1759) and his son (also called James Whatman d. 1798 age 57) were the most famous English papermakers of the eighteenth century and Turkey Mill was the largest paper mill in the country in 1760. The painting portrays the landscape around and about the factory in all its different aspects.

This is what the Yale Centre for British art has to say about this painting which can be seen above and in the exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts which opens on 13th March
In 1794 the papermaker James Whatman the Younger commissioned Paul Sandby, Royal Academician and one of Britain's foremost watercolor painters, to record Whatman's home and his celebrated papermill in Kent. Sandby painted his portrait of the house and mill in opaque watercolors, or gouache, on a large sheet of "Whatman" paper. This watercolor, which remained in the Whatman family until its purchase by the Yale Center for British Art in 2002, is both a superb example of Sandby's art and an important document of the rise of industry in the British countryside and of the intertwined developments of papermaking and watercolor painting.
Yale Centre for British Art -
Mr. Whatman's Mill: Papermaking and the Art of Watercolor in Eighteenth-Century Britain
I'm currently involved in that well know art detection game of working out the location of the artist when they developed the drawing from which to paint the picture! So far I've got as far as locating the current complex and Google Maps of the same - just east of Maidstone and south of the A20. This is Turkey Mill ME14 5PP

Detail of the picture of the Turkey Mill

Working from the fact that the place names Boxley and Vintners are north of the A20 and the factory complex was south of the A20, I think the coach in the middle ground of the picture is actually travelling along the Ashford Road (A20) and the hop poles are associated with the Vinters land which lies near the A20. Since the road is nearer than the factory that would logically mean that the white house on the hill in the background is Mote Park and that the foreground is the estate of Vintners. Other documents I've found suggest that Turkey Court - the original home of the Whatmans - was on the same site as the Turkey Mill.

I've come across this webpage about the history of the Turkey Mill. This indicates that James Whatman sold the Turkey mill in 1794. Perhaps the painting was done as a mark of the ownership of the mill by the Whatmans at the time it left the family? 1790 James Whatman II suffered a stroke and his protégé, William Balston, took over managing much of the mill. But in 1794 and much to the surprise of everyone including Balston, James Whatman decided to sell the business and Turkey Mill was sold to brothers Thomas, Robert and Finch Hollingworth of Maidstone for £32,000, a substantial sum at the time.
It also says that
James Whatman II died, aged 57, at his new home ‘Vinters’ (a substantial property on the other side of Ashford Road to Turkey Mill and now demolished which he had acquired in 1783).
The mill eventually ceased production as a paper mill in 1976 and was sold in 1977.

All this just from a landscape painting!

More information:
Turkey Mill is located 1.5 miles from Junction 7 of the M20 and is a 10 minute walk from the centre of Maidstone via the Len Valley footpath. Vehicular access into the estate is from the A20. Turkey Mill is adjacent to and connected by footpath to Mote Park. Maidstone East Station is on the London (Victoria) to Ashford line and is either a 20 minute walk or a 5 minute drive from Turkey Mill.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Canaletto - Painting Britain

Westminster Bridge from the north on Lord Mayor's Day by Canaletto
Oil on canvas, 96 x 137.5 cm
Yale Center for British Art, New Haven
source: Wikimedia

I was hugely disappointed yesterday to be unable to attend the lecture on Canaletto: Grand Designs is the title of a talk given by Martin Gayford at the Museum of London organised by Gresham College.

I had anticipated that it would be popular, had emailed Gresham College to find out more and to book a place and never got a reply! I found out yesterday that they don't bother taking bookings as it's "too much work" for them. As a result I'm afraid I have to take back my recommendation to attend the series of lectures as there's simply no guarantee you'll get in. It's very frustrating to get there and then be turned away.

It's not like they need to issue a ticket. They could operate the beautifully simple, efficient and economic system the National Gallery uses for their lectures - acknowledging an email which you then print off.

The woman from Greshams talked about a video being available - but as with the booking (or non booking system) there are no details on their website although they certainly do create audio and videos of their lectures. I guess I'll have to check back at some point to see what happens.

I shall be making sure of a seat for next week's lecture about Monet's River of Dreams!

[UPDATE:  The following are now available:

Canaletto: Grand Designs - Monday, 8 March 2010, Museum of London]
I've decided to make a resource about Canaletto in any case as he's such an intriguing landscape artist.

plus Martin Gayford's powerpoint lecture materials

plus you can listen to the lecture and download and save both the video and the audio.

This is what the Web Gallery of Art - which I think is one of the best of the art history resources which can be found online - has to say about the Canaletto painting at the top of this post. This is a link to their biography of Canaletto
Canaletto is first recorded in England in spring 1746, and his earliest paintings of London are depictions of the new Westminster Bridge, a subject he was to portray from various vantage points. The bridge was not actually completed until four years after this work was painted.
In this picture he combines a view of its whole span with a depiction of festivities, which, although tamer than the Venetian spectacles he generally painted, partially recall them. The celebrations accompanied the appointment of the new Lord Mayor of London. The largest City Barge is shown taking him to Westminster Hall, by the Abbey at the right, where he will be sworn in. The prominent building on the horizon to the left of it is St John's Church, Smith Square, and over on the other side of the river is Lambeth Palace, the London home of the Archbishop of Canterbury. All the other spectacular barges are those of the different city guilds (Skinners, Goldsmiths, Fishmongers, Clothworkers, Vinters, Merchant Taylors, Mercers and Dyers); a number of them are firing salutes to honour the Mayor. In order to encapsulate all of this activity within such a broad panorama Canaletto has adopted an imaginary vantage point high above the Thames.
Web Gallery of Art - London: Westminster Bridge from the North on Lord Mayor's Day

Thursday, 4 March 2010

London Through the Eyes of Foreign Artists

Townscapes are an important type of landscape. A series of talks seeks to inform about London Through the Eyes of Foreign Artists. These are organised by Gresham College which is an independent educational institution based in Barnard's Inn, Holborn.

The first one, which I missed, was on Monday this week. Foreign Artists in 16th Century London was about the foreign artists, such as the German, Hans Holbein, and Netherlandish artists such as Hans Eworth and William Scrouts who were working in London in the sixteenth century.

The next ones are much more about artists who have portrayed the landscape of London and in particular the River Thames.

The cover of Canaletto
by JG Links (Phaidon)

The book cover is part of a painting
Canaletto, London, The City seen through one of the Arches of Westminster Bridge, c. 1746. Collection of the Duke of Northumberland

Canaletto: Grand Designs is the title of a talk given by Martin Gayford at the Museum of London on Monday 8th March at 1.00pm
In 1746 the great Venetian artist, Canaletto, moved to London following the market and wealth for his work. Nine years later, he left the city attacked by the critics as repetitive and a fake.

What was 18th Century London like to be the centre of such hope and disappointment? How did Canaletto feel about the city, and how are we to assess these views today?
Monet: The River of Dreams is a lecture by Professor John House (Walter H Annenberg Professor at the Courtauld Institute of Art) on 15th March at 1.00pm at the Museum of London.
Claude Monet visited London numerous times between 1870 and 1901, painting some of his most important works in the city.

Why was he repeatedly attracted back to the foggy and overpopulated urban capital when his impressionist work was otherwise so concerned with light and nature? What was the city like when he visited it in the 1870s and 80s? How was he received by the London art establishment at that time?
The final lecture - which i'm less interested in is Feliks Topolski: Eye-Witness to the 20th Century

Monday, 1 March 2010

Stavanger - the Virtual Paintout in March

Image from the webkamera in Stavanger at 14.45 on Monday 1st March

The Virtual Paintout in March is in......Stavanger, Norway - March 2010. There are a few sites which tell you about Stavanger which is a major port at the southernmost tip of fjord Norway - a couple are:
It's a pity we can't get a virtual Googlemaps as the weather forecast in English is here. However I did find that Google Maps is very good for finding webcameras - hence the image at the top of this post. I've provided a link to the website host of the webcamera however I'm not quite sure how to credit the webkamera owners as I don't speak Norwegian but if they'd like it to say something different please do get in touch.

You can see the contributions for the Virtual Paintout in the San Francisco area in February in this thread San Francisco Bay area - February 2010