Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tickets for the Leonardo da Vinci Exhibition at the National Gallery

Well yesterday I went down to London with the intention of visiting the Leonardo da Vinci exhibition at the National Gallery as there had been so much hype and excitement about it. Unfortunately, in my naivety, I did not think that I might have to book tickets beforehand. So, much was my disappointment when i got to the ticket desk and there was a sign saying 'Sold Out Today'.

On further investigation it seems that the tickets for the da Vinci exhibition had been on sale since May 2011 and all of the online tickets and advance purchase tickets had already been snapped up - until the end of the exhibition! So the only way to get tickets now is either to buy them from someone who already has some but maybe can't make it (you could try eBay but they are going for more than £50 a ticket on there at the moment), or you will have to go and queue up at the National Gallery on the morning of the day you want to visit.

The gallery are releasing a limited number of tickets each day on a first come first served basis so if you get there early and queue up then you may be lucky!

However, if you are not lucky enough to get tickets then there is still a lot of amazing artwork by many great masters at the National Gallery - including van Gogh, Canaletto, Monet, Manet, Rubens, Constable, Seurat etc etc the list goes on and it takes hours to go through all of the halls and rooms. One of the paintings on show is one of van Gogh's sunflower paintings, shown here, and you really get a feel for the depth of it in real life than when just looking at a picture - the same can be said about a lot of the great masters paintings so if you do have a few hours free, go and have a browse.

Monday, November 14, 2011

UAE Art Competition

Emirates NBD are running an art competition in conjunction with Tashkeel (great place by the way) - where you can win cash prizes of up to 20,000 AED and membership of Tashkeel. There is not long to go until the entry closing date (they never seem to allow much time for these things in Dubai) of November 24th so get creating! Full details are on the image attached.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Quiet Time

So things are a bit quiet at the moment. Having headed back to Dubai for about 6 weeks i decided that it was now really too expensive to live there on my own and that i would have to come back to the UK. One problem was the lack of places to sell art anymore - previously Arte had been good with it's once a month art and craft fairs but now it was getting full of artists, a lot of whom were hobby artists and willing to sell their paintings for very little money. This then puts pressure on the professional artists, who have much higher costs to cover, to actually be able to sell and make money.

Another problem was with the general downturn of a few years where there were less hotel jobs around. It doesn't really help that I am not a salesperson and to be a success i think you really have to sell yourself.

So for the time being I will be based in the UK again, but available to go back to Dubai for any large jobs that may crop up. I will also likely be at the jazz festival again next February where sales are usually forthcoming.

This weekend I have 3 paintings in an art exhibition in Woodbridge, Suffolk so am hoping for a sale from there, and after that I have a possible craft fair at a local tennis club that I just need to confirm.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Art on the Prom 2011

So yesterday I took part in Art on the Prom in Felixstowe for the second year running. The weather forecast was not brilliant but better than it had looked earlier in the week. I felt the crowds were not quite as big as last year but then last year was a lovely sunny day. Sales started off slowly but there was a bit more of a rush as the afternoon started and I sold 8 paintings overall varying in size from small Union Jack paintings to a large painting called 'Dream'. I was pleased with the event overall and the feedback from visitors was good but it was just a bit disappointing that the rain came down with almost an hour to go as the end seems to be the busiest time. Things got a little bit wet but I don't think any damage was caused, just me ending up looking like a drowned rat!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Felixstowe Art Group Annual Exhibition

So this week was the Felixstowe art group's annual exhibition. I am a bit of an anomaly in the art group I think as most of the other artists concentrate on landscape and traditional painting rather than abstracts. There are a couple of artists in the group who are professional or semi professional artists but overall most of the group are hobbyists (not meant with any disrespect as being professional or hobbyist is no reflection on talent!). Anyway, so the annual exhibition has been going for 60 years although this is only my second year with the group.

They are a great bunch of people who manage to get a lot of people to visit the exhibition every year. I am very impressed at the visitor numbers and the number of paintings that are sold over the 5 days. Most of the artists really underprice their work so maybe it is no surprise that so much is sold.

Anyway, my stint on the desk was on Tuesday afternoon and it just so happened that a lady came in while I was there and wanted to buy all 3 of the paintings I had for sale! I was hugely surprised and pleased to say the least. I had two large textured abstracts in (see image on the right for one of them) and a textured, glittered union jack and was pleased at the way all 3 had come out and am glad they have found a new home. Now I just need to get painting again ready for Art on the Prom on 4th September.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Urban Art Fair - Brixton, London

So last weekend I took part in the Urban Art Fair for the first time. It was a good experience for me but the problem was that it poured down with rain the whole weekend which really put a dampener on it in terms of people coming to look and sales made. However, I would sign up for the fair again next year as it was a really good set up with 150 artists and I am sure the potential for painting sales there is quite good if the weather had been better. It is also quite cheap for a pitch with a commission payment rate of 10%.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Painting Texture Website

So I have set up a website all about painting texture - it will have lots of information about texture pastes and gels that you can buy and also how to make your own texture at home. At the moment it is a work in porgress adn I am just building up the info on there but in time there will also be other painting hints and tips bothe about oils and acrylic painting.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Set Up My QR

So I have set up my QR (Quick Response) code which is like a matrix barcode that holds a lot of information about me and links to my various pages - website, facebook, twitter etc. The barcode is read by an app on your phone that will scan it and take you to a page that you specify so that people can get all of your info. Next up on my list of things to do is to add this code to my business cards.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Untitled Artists Fair - VIP Night Tonight

So yesterday I went to set up my area at the Untitled Artists Fair. I have a smallish spot (as it is quite expensive to exhibit) but managed to fit in 8 60x60cm paintings. There is a huge diversity of artwork at the show and it seems like there is not much that is similar to mine (good thing or bad thing?!).

Tonight is the VIP Preview evening - open to those who have an invitation - although I think it is usually over subscribed and there are queues to get in. I have attached a vip ticket here that you can print off to gain entry to the fair and they have been giving out tickets for a few weeks for the weekend dates apparently.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Where To Buy Art Materials In Dubai

So if you are an artist and you are wondering where you can buy art materials in Dubai then you do have a few options. Sometimes canvases in particular can be in short supply as they tend to send a shipment over that lasts a few months, gets sold out and then they order another one.

Anyway, there are two really good places and a bunch of others. The main place I buy my materials is in branches of Emirates Trading. They have a big branch up by the Al Nasr Cinema near Oud Metha and they have some smaller outlets at Bin Sougat Mall, Mall of the Emirates (DUCTAC) the old art centre (DIAC) and other branches in Sharjah etc. They supply Windsor & Newton canvases and Paints.

The other main place I buy paints, canvases and brushes is Kazim stationary in the Jumeirah Centre which is one of the many malls down the Beach Road (it's the one with the big Magrudy's at one end). They tend to have a good supply of Daler Rowney canvases and System 3 Paints.

There are also some other shops like Borders and Dubai Library Supplies who also supply different makes of paint including Pebeo.

If you want to get a canvas made to size then they will do this for you at Jam Jar, otherwise it is a bit cheaper to get them ready made from the shops.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Selling Art Online

There are numerous websites set up for selling art online and as of recently I did not really take the opportunity of selling my art online for a few reasons:

  • I think it is very difficult to get a good feel for a piece of art just by viewing a photo of it, especially where there is a lot of texture involved.
  • Shipping - with big heavy pieces of art the shipping cost can be prohibitive.
  • I constantly sell my pieces in Dubai the the UK so I would have to keep tabs on what I had on offer online or else have a separate collection.
But recently I have been looking at Saatchi online (which I have been a member of for a few years) and they have set up the opportunity to sell your art online. You can sell originals but also you can sell prints of your work. This seems like a really good option in the online selling thing as they do all the work! They print the image off on paper or canvas, deal with all the shipping and I just get a cut of the profits. Also you can decide what price you want to put on your work which is great. So I have put 3 or 4 pieces up for sale as prints. They are paintings that I have a really good image of and ones that I like best that I think will make good prints. So I'll see what happens!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Buy Arts & Crafts Materials This Weekend at ARTE

The weekend at the ARTE soukh which is at Times Square Centre off Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai on Friday 13th May from Midday until 7pm, not only will there be a large selection of hand made arts and crafts to buy but also you will be able to buy unused arts and crafts surplus supplies that some of the artists and crafters have in their closets at discount prices. Among the things on offer will be excess Swarowski crystals from Carrie and surplus felt from Miriam the Felt Lady.

Come and take a look and maybe you can get some extra supplies for your arts and crafts.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Project Mega 2.0 for Dubai based Artists and Creatives

Following on from last year's event which a friend of mine took part in, Project Mega 2.0 is now being launched. For anyone with a creative mind this could be a good experience - if you get chosen you get to decorate your own Mega and participate in the exhibition. The organisers are choosing 100 locally based artists to take part. For further details check out their blog http://megasinvasion.wordpress.com/projectmega/

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Guest Juror at AUD for Students' Final Year Projects

So last night I was invited to be one of the guest jurors for the Fine Arts students final year portfolio presentations. What an honour to be asked to start with but also slightly daunting to put your own personal judgements on the work of these students who all obviously have a lot of talent.

What I also didn't realise until I got there was that our (the jurors) comments and marks would go towards the students final marks. No pressure then.

There were 7 students in the fine art category, 2 of whom were specialising in photography. All the students work was pretty diverse and all obviously had talent but there were a couple who I felt that in addition to having the talent they also had the vision, imagination and inspiration to be hugely creative in what they did. Obviously I don't want to name names on here but I was particularly impressed with one student who had some amazing varies and creative ideas and I'm sure could make it any day as a professional artist if that is what they chose to do.

So, all credit to AUD for producing some great students but in the end for me it comes down to a combination of talent, nurturing, innovation and creativity that makes a great artist.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Petition for the release of Artist Ai Weiwei


Please sign the petition above to support the call for the release of artist Ai Weiwei from China, who was detained at Beijing airport on his way to Hong Kong on April 3rd 2011.

Ai Weiwei is, among his many achievements, the creator of the sunflower seed installation at the Tate Modern which took workers 5 years to create under his guidance.

Mesopotamia Exhibition at Art Abu Dhabi

So last night I went to the Mesopotamia exhibition at Art Abu Dhabi on Saadiyat Island. It was the first time I had been to Saadiyat and although I had been to Yas Island before, this was much further down the road and it struck me as being right in the middle of nowhere. There are going to be 145,000 people living on Saadiyat eventually but at the moment I doubt there are more than 145!

Anyway, the Arts Abu Dhabi building is fully functional and a light and airy space - a perfect museum space really with a quality restaurant and facilities. They have a workshop room where they are doing some free demos (most already fully booked unfortunately but that is what happens when something is free and interesting!). There was also a large auditorium where the talk was held that I went to listen to last night.

The Mesopotamian exhibition was definitely worth a visit - it was amazing to see the carvings from around 5000 years ago and the first primitive writings. My favourite pieces were the cylindrical ceramic carvings that, when you rolled them into clay, produced beautiful relief pictures in fine detail.

Last night was a lecture by Dr Irving Finkel, a curator at the British Museum, on the World's Oldest Writing. We actually saw Dr Finkel outside the Arts Centre before we went in to look at the exhibits and even though we had no idea what he looked like there was no mistaking this had to be him! (long white hair and beard with glasses!). Anyway, what could have been a very dry subject was one of the most brilliantly entertaining talks I had heard in a while. Dr Finkel was obviously hugely enthusiastic about his subject as he himself said, he could have gone on for 7 hours about it! Interspersing an amazing knowledge learnt over decades with stories of finds and realisations, the talk was a huge success.

If you get a chance to visit the exhibition and listen to any of the talks or take part in the workshops then I highly recommend it.

Monday, March 21, 2011

How To Create Your Own Texture

If you want some ideas on creating your own texture as an alternative to using gesso, then take a look at my article here. You can create really thick texture to use under acrylic or oil paints.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Review of Dubai's Waterparks

Review of Dubai's Waterparks - If you are thinking of visiting one of Dubai's waterparks, check this review out.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

New Exhibition

I have some paintings in a group exhibition at the Kambaa Lounge in the Address Hotel at Dubai Marina. The official opening will happen sometime in the next week or so...more details to follow!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Art Workshops

I have been holding some art workshops since I got to Dubai mostly in texturing and applying paint to the texture to create an abstract painting. I also have a workshop for swirled acrylic paintings (see pic) where you can create your own. Workshops are either 2-3 hours on 1 day or 2 hours a day for 2 days. All the details and prices are on my facebook page under the workshops tab (on the left).

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Back in Dubai Again

So I got back to Dubai yesterday this time for a 4 month stint and I have lots of markets etc set up over the next couple of months so things should be busy. Added to this there are a number of other larger projects that might be in the pipeline so it could be quite an interesting time. I am having trouble updating my website in Dubai as it is not always possible to access the secure area to add updates so I am going to have to use my facebook page more for up to date announcements.

This weekend I will be at the Greens for their winter market which is being held from 10am til 6pm on 28th and 29th January. I will also be at the sister event at the Meadows on 4th and 5th March, same timings.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Untitled Artist Fair 2011 - Chelsea Town Hall, London

So this year for the first time I am taking part in the Untitled Artists Fair in London. It is at Chelsea Town Hall and runs from 3rd to the 5th of June 2011. There is a preview night on 3rd so if anyone wants invites to that then let me know. I am currently working on the collection for this art fair as I need to get as much ready as I can before I head back to Dubai in late January. I am planning on a collection of around 12 watered acrylics in various colours and have so far completed 5 with 2 in progress. The paintings will all be sized 60 x 60cm due to the size of the space I have booked and making it easier for them to be transported.