£25,000 Prize Waiting – Only Figurative Painters Need Apply

The Mall Galleries, London, are waiting for the public’s vote in order to decide the winner of The Threadneedle Figurative Painting Prize.

From an initial pool of 2,700 entries, 71 pictures have now been selected for final judging, with 7 works shortlisted for the prize. The final decision rests with the public, though, who can vote for their favourite until 12:00 noon on the 3rd of September, 2008.

As a bonus, all the works chosen for the exhibition are eligible to win the £10,000 Federation of British Artists Selectors´ Choice, which means a possible pot of thirty five grand to the winner, because there’s no bar to winning both prizes.

I’ve picked a few pictures that caught my eye (below), but why not click over to the exhibition and get voting for your own favourite?

Please click these thumbnail images to enlarge them.
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Paul Brason: “Eighteen”

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Nick Pace: “Off Road SUV”

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Tai Shan Schierenberg: “Self Portrait”

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Nina Murdoch: “Untitled”

The winner of the 2008 Threadneedle Figurative Prize will be announced at an Awards ceremony on the evening of Wednesday 3 September and will be posted on their website.

The winner of the competition was Nina Murdoch, with this last image.
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The New Sidebar Mini-Gallery

If you visit this site regularly, you may no doubt have noticed that the image in the header area is different every time you return. Try pressing Ctrl + F5 (Windows), (or Refresh in Apple Safari) to refresh the page and change to another random header image.

The header pictures don’t tell you much about the artists who created them, and they mostly seem to have been chosen for their ability to fit into the long, thin, header letterbox.

Scroll down the page, however, and you’ll find a mini gallery in the sidebar, with tiny versions of the header images. Click on the thumbnail that matches the current header image and you’ll be shown an uncropped version and a little information about it beneath.

The selection of images in this gallery will grow, as various talented artists who are currently working in animation kindly consent to having samples of their work featured in the header.

Let the clickfest begin….
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After Waiting 16 Years, I Finally Get Paid.

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(Click the picture to expand it)
Way back in 1992, I worked for a short and enjoyable while in Dublin, painting backgrounds for one of Don Bluth’s animated films called “Thumbelina“. I stayed in Dublin for about three months, having a great time enjoying the craic, working with some great people, and learning the super seekrit Disney wet-into-wet background painting technique.

I returned to London with a sheath of layout drawings in a huge cardboard drum, so as to continue painting backgrounds for the film. I sent my paintings back to the Dublin studio by courier, and more layouts would arrive, along with a cheque. I can’t remember the details exactly, but after completing one batch of paintings, I rang the Irish studio to find out why my last payment had failed to arrive. I was told that the production had gone into bankruptcy, and that my invoice had been added to the pile of unpaid bills waiting for a firm of liquidators to sort out the mess.
I remember stomping round my flat kicking things in anger (but not so hard as to do myself or my targets any real damage). After a short while I gave up any chance of recuperating the money ( quite a big sum that I could ill afford to relinquish) and hunkered down to the business of making a living in London again.

Long story short: A colleague, Jane Smethurst, alerted me a couple of years later to an Irish insolvency solicitor who was amassing details of Don Bluth (Thumbelina) Ltd’s creditors’ claims, and I duly added my name and claim to the list.

A couple of weeks back (sixteen years on), I finally received a tiny percentage of my invoice, that was already diminished in value by 16 years of inflation and then even further eroded by exchange rates and fees. My invoice had taken so long to be settled that the original currency, Irish Punts, was no longer in existence and had been replaced by the Euro.

# 1. It was a colleague, Jane Smethurst, who told me about the bankruptcy claims procedure. I never heard a single peep from the company that had employed me and still owed me money.

# 2. If anyone knows the present whereabouts of Jane Smethurst, get in touch with me through the contact form (In the “About” link just below the header image) so that I can arrange to buy her a drink.

# 3 The estimable Mr Hans Bacher once confided to me that Don Bluth’s backgrounds always looked like “An out-of-focus-pizza”. The image above supports this analysis perfectly!

2 Million Americans Identify Themselves as Artists

A report by The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) reveals that there are nearly two million people in the USA who identify themselves as artists. This figure is only just smaller than the US military personnel (2.2m). Artists compose 1.4 percent of the total workforce, and between them, their aggregate earnings per year total seventy billion dollars. ( I wonder how minute a fraction of the military’s annual spending this sum represents? )

Here’s an attractive pie chart in tasteful shades of brown issued by a designer at the NEA:

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If you want to get as far away from artists as is possible in the USA the map below will show you which states to avoid.

How to steer clear of artists in the USA

Images are from Artists in the Workforce (Research Report #48), courtesy of the National Endowment for the Arts

Link to the full report, and a link to my original source: Art Knowledge News.
And, somewhat randomly, a link to The Art Appreciation Foundation who are duty bound to spend 3.2 million dollars on art every year. Want some?

Dolores Aguilar: – An Obituary To Die For…. (UPDATED)

The kind of feelings expressed in this obituary normally get cloaked in layers of euphemism, but for once a forthright son (daughter?) has decided to sock it to his/her dear departed mother in no uncertain terms.
From the Times – Herald ( Serving Solana and Napa Counties since 1875) comes this obloquy to-

Dolores Aguilar
1929 – Aug. 7, 2008

Dolores Aguilar, born in 1929 in New Mexico, left us on August 7, 2008. She will be met in the afterlife by her husband, Raymond, her son, Paul Jr., and daughter, Ruby.

She is survived by her daughters Marietta, Mitzi, Stella, Beatrice, Virginia and Ramona, and son Billy; grandchildren, Donnelle, Joe, Mitzie, Maria, Mario, Marty, Tynette, Tania, Leta, Alexandria, Tommy, Billy, Mathew, Raymond, Kenny, Javier, Lisa, Ashlie and Michael; great-grandchildren, Brendan, Joseph, Karissa, Jacob, Delaney, Shawn, Cienna, Bailey, Christian, Andre Jr., Andrea, Keith, Saeed, Nujaymah, Salma, Merissa, Emily, Jayci, Isabella, Samantha and Emily. I apologize if I missed anyone.

Dolores had no hobbies, made no contribution to society and rarely shared a kind word or deed in her life. I speak for the majority of her family when I say her presence will not be missed by many, very few tears will be shed and there will be no lamenting over her passing.

Her family will remember Dolores and amongst ourselves we will remember her in our own way, which were mostly sad and troubling times throughout the years. We may have some fond memories of her and perhaps we will think of those times too. But I truly believe at the end of the day ALL of us will really only miss what we never had, a good and kind mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. I hope she is finally at peace with herself. As for the rest of us left behind, I hope this is the beginning of a time of healing and learning to be a family again.

There will be no service, no prayers and no closure for the family she spent a lifetime tearing apart. We cannot come together in the end to see to it that her grandchildren and great-grandchildren can say their goodbyes. So I say here for all of us, GOOD BYE, MOM.

I hope he/ she had the honesty to tell her all this to her face while she was alive.
(Via Sarah Finch & The Amazombies)
UPDATE It seems as if one of her daughters was the author of the obit. (Via Snopes)