Hi, I'm Mary Kemp, passionate painter of anything to do with the seaside.
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Thursday, 25 May 2017

Belonging to an Art Society

As I write this post I know that really I should be sending a report to my local art society on how our web presence is going. Over a year ago I fool-hardedly volunteered to take over the job of webmaster, or is it webmistress, and I think I took on a bigger job than I envisaged.

Handing in day for our Spring Exhibition.

Not that I mind really because it makes me feel even more part of this wonderful society, and as you're inquiring I'll tell you it's the Welland Valley Art Society based in Stamford Lincolnshire.

Over the years I've belonged to several art societies, some frankly have overawed me until I got to know them better, but all have provided me with plenty of people to talk to about the passions I keep from the family, different brands of oil paint, how do you clean your brushes, will breathing the fumes of oil paint kill you ? etc.

Art societies seem to break down into two groups, those whose main thrust is exhibiting and those that meet often with an emphasis on the social aspect as much as art. I think both are equally valid.

Up on the wall!

Of course some take themselves more seriously than others with selection of members and work. And others are very keen on demonstrations by established artists. I've been to many a demo and enjoyed them immensely as well as learning loads. I've also daydreamed through a few.

But what I really wanted to say was how wonderful art societies are, how nurturing and supportive they can be, and how any artist at any level can benefit from joining one whether to share their own knowledge or learn from others, or a bit of both.

And I don't like to boast. Not much! but here is the painting that I put into our latest exhibition. It won a Commendation, Great back slapping all round.

©Mary Kemp
Border Collie on the Beach
Oil on canvas panel.
And the icing on the cake was that even though it didn't find a home during the exhibition  the next weekend a collector came to my studio and liked it so much she took it home.

So now I've written this I'm going to knuckle down to my report and finish it before bedtime.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Welland Valley Art Society's Spring Exhibition 2017

We artists often paint or sculpt in glorious isolation so it's wonderful to feel yourself part of a group with a common aim.

Twice a year the Welland Valley Art Society gets together for an exhibition at the Stamford Arts Centre lasting two weeks.

Preview Day

The Exhibition runs until May 13th and during this time the selected work is available for all to see and two exhibiting members of the society are always on hand to talk about the work and conduct any sales.

I look forward to my time "on duty". It's an opportunity to talk about art, not just my own, but that of the other artists. Many of our visitors are so very interested in what they see and the chance to vote for your favourite exhibit sparks some lively debate.

I also love visiting Stamford and the delights of the Arts Centre coffee shop.

As usual the exhibition was a joyful mixture of work in a variety of mediums. Selection, hanging and the hundred and one organising jobs are all done by volunteer members of the society.

And now, after many years making sure it all works effortlessly, our Exhibition Secretary Chris Illsley has decided to step down. It is a tribute to her seamless running of the event that the job is now being done by, not one, but four people.

Our chosen theme this year was
"A Celebration of Spring"
I had a few favourite pictures this year: 
A delicate botanical study by Christine Butler and Judy Merriman's Sea of Daffodils and any of Keith Hemsley's controlled gouache paintings.

These are those who work received recognition.

Gladys Teesdale Award: 
Will Illsley for Cairn 1. mixed media

John Fountain Award ; 

Joanna Crawford for Life Study, pastel.

Commended works:

Barbara Allen: Rough Day, N'stra da Barca , oil
Philip Dawson: Spring Teepees at Dusk, Barnsdale Wood, mixed media
Chris Illsley: Will's Pots, mixed media
Mary Kemp: Border Collie on the Beach, oil

David Cromack: The Parched Land. mixed media

Thursday, 20 April 2017

How to Take Great Photos For Your Pet's Portrait

As an artist I often get asked to paint peoples pets.
I love animals and think they make great subjects. I draw and photograph my own and the family's regularly and included them in many a painting.
The interesting bit comes when I am asked to paint someone else's animals that I've never seen before.
For this I have to rely on the owner's photos and here's some of the guidelines I give them.
An elegant pose!
  • Your camera isn't really important. Most modern cameras, even on phones, take a very good picture. If you hold your camera as still as possible you're onto a winner.
  • First of all take at least one photo of your whole pet, don't leave the feet or the tail out.
  • Capture the pose you would like painted. (easier said than done I know)
  • Then take lots of close-ups and from different angles, not just from how you see your pet but from down on their level.
    Not easy to see the dog!
  • In fact in this digital age take as many photos as possible, even if they're not in the pose you want.
  •  Daylight is best. Light from one side shows the best detail.
    A good looking spaniel!
  • Let the artist see the scale of your pet in relation to people and other animals.
  • Consider the colour you want shown. Do your photos reflect that?
What if your pet is no longer with you. Can the photos you already have provide enough information?
Snap of the cat, a bit blurry.

Many a portrait has been painted from an out of focus photo. 
It makes the artist's task harder but not impossible. 

And if you want to find more about commissioning art look at my post How to Commission a Piece of Art Online. or visit my website http://marykemp.co.uk

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

North Norfolk for a Few Days

The need to get away from the everyday is sometimes overwhelming. it's not that the everyday is awful, it's just that it's so......well, everyday.
Just two days at the coast, I said it was to paint but it wasn't really. It was too cold to stop still for long even though the weather was lovely.
Here are some pictures.

Blakeney Marshes full of birds, and walkers.

The golden hour, Blakeney Harbour.
© Mary Kemp. Blakeney Marshes.
I sat by the path, and got stared at a lot.
I don't care!

I love a good looking boat!
Whitby Crest now ship-shape and Bristol fashion!

© Mary Kemp."Whitby Crest."
When I first caught the seaside bug I painted a lot of boats.
This is the Whitby Crest before it's refurbishment..
Now I feel refreshed and ready for whatever lies ahead!

Thursday, 6 April 2017

How to Commission a Piece of Art Online

It can be a scary thing asking someone to create a piece of art for you, especially if you're going on line to do it. Usually the art you want to commission is of something or someone very dear to you so you want it to be just right.
I've painted quite a few commissioned works in my time often of peoples families and pets and as an artist I feel a huge responsibility to translate my clients vision into a painting that will hang on their wall for years and be regarded with affection.
© Mary Kemp
This is a painting of two of my grandchildren, which I painted after a trip to the seaside.  It has been the jumping off point for several commissions of family beach portraits.

To reach this happy state of affairs it's incumbent on both artist and client to work together.
So this is why I thought I would write a guide about how to commission a painting online:
  • Do your research, spend hours if necessary trawling the internet to find an artist whose style you absolutely love, and who will paint you the perfect picture in their style.
  • From what you have seen is this someone who makes it easy for you to work with them? Have they got good reviews on their website and other outlets? Is it someone you can trust?
  • Get in touch as soon as possible. These things take time.
  • Be clear in your mind what you want and discuss this in detail with the artist. This is the time to refine your ideas. Also be clear about the amount of money you want to spend.
  • If it's not working at this stage pull out. Seriously. A transaction like this should work smoothly.
  • If your artist is to use your photographs now you're all set to send as many photos of good quality of your subject as you possibly can. They'll want to know if they can work from them.
  • Agree materials and size. Do you want your painting framed?
  • MOST IMPORTANTLY AGREE PRICE AND TIME FRAME. Most artists will ask for a non returnable deposit at this stage. Some artists will also  provide a written contract and if you want one and it's not been offered ask for it.
  • This is the time to ask for a rough sketch of the painting you have agreed upon. Changes can be easily made at this stage, much more difficult once the painting is underway. 
  • When you are totally happy with the design, and are sure that is how you want your painting to look, then give the go ahead. After that sit back and let your artist work their magic. At this point things are out of your hands!
  • The day has arrived. You've received an email with an image of your painting. Excitement all round. If you've followed these guidelines there's a good chance your expectations have been met. If not, communicate. Most things can be resolved. We artists want  happy customers.
  • When you know it's right pay the balance and await your parcel.

    © Mary Kemp
  •   And when  you've received  your painting if  you could let  the artist know  that would be  most welcome,  and a photo in  situ brings joy to  the heart!