Friday, 7 January 2011

The 'Virtual Paintout' wins The Best Art Blog Project Virtual Challenge Cup

It was my great pleasure last month to award The Best Art Blog Project Virtual Challenge Cup to Bill Guffey's The Virtual Paintout as part of the Making A Mark Awards for Generating Art.

Here's what I had to say.
The Best Art Blog Project Virtual Challenge Cup
Art can be quite a lonely activity and it's noticeable that people often like to have some sort of involvement in groups and projects related to art! This award is for:
  • EITHER a major and reputable new project which adds value and involves a large number of bloggers
  • OR a project which has grown over the course of the year in question or otherwise had some significant impact during the course of the year
Nominations for this award were:
The Virtual Paintout by Bill Guffey nominated by Charlene Brown  Seconded by Leslie Hawes
My nomination for the Best Art Blog Project Virtual Challenge Cup is The Virtual Paintout by Bill Guffey.  Using Google Streetview as a source of inspiration for paintings provides just the right degree of unity around a shared theme, and diversity of subject – and lends itself to an incredible variety of interpretations. It’s hard to say which is more fun, finding your perfect location by navigating around the selected area on Google, or looking at all the great stuff other people have found!

The "Creative Every Day Challenge" and the associated challenge, "Art Every Day Month" hosted by Leah Piken Kolidas Nominated by Peggy Stermer-Cox 
To explain, the challenge runs all year long with a Monday check-in. Then, in November, check in is daily. Optional themes are given each month for exploring, or not.  What I think is special about this art blog is the vast array of artists who participate: fine art, fine craft, writers, dancers, photographers, etc. Leah started the challenge in 2008. I also like the wide range of experience in the participants.
The Creative Every Day Challenge is an older and bigger site and obviously attracts a lot of participants.  It's also very laudable to be promoting creativity amongst art bloggers.  However in terms of accessibility I found it a bit difficult to navigate and I did notice you didn't need to be an art blogger to participate - and these awards are about art blogging.

By way of contrast, the joy of Bill Guffey's Virtual Paintout site is that it has a very simple concept which is the same every month - painting scenes from specific locations using Google Streetview.  The only thing which ever changes is the place and the map.  The participants get to choose the location they want to paint and then provide the link to the map and the image of what they've produced to Bill for posting to the blog. 

Two paintings of County Clare, Ireland from the December thread

Bill has succeeded in attracting a large number of participants every month - and the benefit is that you can see all the pictures on the blog and that makes it very easy for non-participants to understand the project and see its results. I also like the way that it shows people that they can find places to go and paint plein air using Google Street View and consequently its impact is not just limited to this blog!

Finally to top it off, Bill managed to get himself on TV when Prince Edward Island in Canada discovered they were the chosen location of the month!  I like both the accessibility and the impact of this art blog project and so.....
The 2010 winner of
The Best Art Blog Project Virtual Challenge Cup is
Bill Guffey for The Virtual Paintout

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