Discover more about the exhibitions held at Mall Galleries through interviews with artists, photo essays, prize winners lists and video and audio content. Mall Galleries publish content from all Federation of British Artists Art Society Exhibitions.

Society of Wildlife Artists | Prizes & Awards 2020

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The Society of Wildlife Artists and Mall Galleries are delighted to announce the Prizes & Awards from The Natural Eye 2020.

Congratulations to all artists who have been awarded prizes by our generous prize givers. 

The exhibition is open at Mall Galleries until Sunday 8 November. 

Book Your Tickets

If you cannot make the exhibition we hope that with videos, audio, images, and statements by the winners to watch, hear, see, and read, you can experience and enjoy their works wherever you are.



The Birdwatch and Swarovski Optik Artist of the Year Award

Esther Tyson SWLA

The Birdwatch and Swarovski Optik Artist of the Year Award is chosen by a panel of judges including Peter Antoniou of Swarovski Optik, Birdwatch Editor Rebecca Armstrong and artists Chris Rose and Bruce Pearson. The prize is a Swarovski ATS 80 HD spotting scope with 25-50x zoom eyepiece worth £2,430 and a three-year subscription to BirdGuides Bird News Ultimate.

Discover all Esther's work in the exhibition



RSPB Award of £500

Simon Turvey SWLA

Swallows


Larson-Juhl Award

To celebrate drawing or dry media, draughtsmanship and capturing ideas as an art form. £500 worth of Larson-Juhl materials to the winner and a feature in their '4Walls' magazine

Nik Pollard SWLA

White-tailed Bumble Bee and Knapweed series

The judges have chosen Nik Pollard for the Larson-Juhl Award. They were struck by the vibrancy and mark making within all his work, but the studies of bees in particular have captured the movement and energy of the insects and given a wonderful sense of being immersed within the meadow.

With projects further afield cancelled this year, I have been focusing on wildlife closer to home. I've been able to give particular focus to the Bumblebee species that inhabit local meadow. I've been captured by their extraordinary physical qualities and behaviour.

With this wonderful subject matter on the doorstep, I've been able to move seamlessly between field and studio to build a new body of work that celebrates these marvellous creatures whilst exploring different drawing and printing mediums.

Presentation of my work is very important to me, therefore I am excited to be receiving the Larson-Juhl Award and look forward to selecting some quality framing products.


The BIRDscapes Gallery 'Conservation through Art' Award

£700 split between the artist and a conservation charity of their choice

Christopher Wallbank SWLA

Goldfinch and Wych Elm

For many wildlife artists, their practice is a solitary occupation, preparing for the production of finished works, in attractive rural surroundings. A browse of Chris’s website reveals a ‘documentary’ artist, often ‘in the thick of it’, catching moments of unlikely subjects in unlikely places: from snipe poking around muddy margins among the outflow pipes on his local reservoir to swarming black kites mixing with people and machines on a vast Delhi rubbish tip.

For Chris, his exploration of visual art’s role in presenting new angles on ecological themes has led to involvement with many conservation projects and makes him a very deserving winner of The BIRDscapes Gallery’s Conservation through Art Award.

Steve and Liz Harris of BIRDscapes Gallery



Dry Red Press Award

The winning work will be reproduced as a greetings card

Richard Jarvis SWLA

Moorhens, Mallards & Mayflies



Browse & Buy Work from the exhibition

 

Prizes & Awards | Royal Society of Marine Artists Annual Exhibition

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The Royal Society of Marine Artists and Mall Galleries are delighted to announce the Prizes & Awards from the Royal Society of Marine Artists Annual Exhibition 2020. 

Congratulations to all artists who have been awarded prizes by our generous prize givers. 

The exhibition is open at Mall Galleries until Saturday 10 October. 

Book Your Tickets

If you cannot make the exhibition we hope that with videos, audio, images, and statements by the winners to watch, hear, see, and read, you can experience and enjoy their works wherever you are.

The exhibition is also available to Browse & Buy online now. 



The Baltic Exchange Award

John Walsom ARSMA ROI

Mylor Yacht Harbour, Low Tide

For an outstanding work in the exhibition, selected by the Society’s President on behalf of Baltic Exchange, a membership organisation at the heart of the maritime community providing services relied upon worldwide by shipping market participants. Value £2,000.


The Artist Magazine Award

Gareth Brown RSMA

Sea Flora V

Gareth will be interviewed for a feature in The Artist magazine.


The Charles Pears Award

Srirangam Mohankumar

Reflections, Pin Mill

For an outstanding work, in any medium, by a non-member. Presented by the RSMA in memory of Charles Pears, founding member and first President. Value £500.


The Classic Boat Award

Kevin Clarkson

A Breeze on the Blackwater

Kevin takes home a handsome, hand-crafted sculpture by Astins Sailing Sculptures, given for the most atmospheric depiction of a classic boat.

Originally from West Yorkshire, I have produced a number of historical maritime pieces for museums in North Kent, my adopted home, but only managed to get my first piece into the RSMA Annual Exhibition in 2019 after five or more years of trying. To be awarded a prize at this year’s exhibition is therefore something of a shock. So my advice to anyone thinking of submitting to the RSMA for the first time is - Go for it!

Inspiration for ‘A Breeze on the Blackwater’ was drawn largely from the superb works of American artists Christopher Blossom and Russ Kramer whom I have long admired. They bring to life the classic racing and working sailing vessels of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries with mood, atmosphere and sensitivity of the period and without oversentimentality.


The Kenneth Denton Award

James Bartholomew RSMA

Sun on the Solent

For work on the theme 'The Sea in all its Moods'. Made possible by the generosity of long-standing member Kenneth Denton. Value £500.


Murray's Commercial Fishing Award: First Prize

Jenny Morgan RSMA

Hauling the Trawl - Sidewinder Trawlers

For work in any medium depicting commercial fishing. Value £500.

I am mainly a studio-based artist and many of my works are based on research material and general knowledge of my selected subjects, and of course an ongoing love of the sea and working vessels that ply upon it.

I developed an interest in the United Kingdom's past fishing industry later on in my career, encouraged by my late partner who was a noted Grimsby trawler skipper. I realised it was an incredible part of maritime history not generally covered, and those long-gone trawlers were very 'paintable' - despite their workmanlike appearance, they generally have graceful lines.

I am inspired by the northern waters these ships worked in, having a few years ago taken a few trips that way to immerse myself in the atmosphere and coastal scenery of places like Greenland, Iceland, Norway and Spitzbergen.


Murray's Commercial Fishing Award: Second Prize

Alistair Butt RSMA

Banding the Lobsters

For work in any medium depicting commercial fishing. Value £100.


RSMA Award for the Best Small Painting

John Lines RSMA

Waiting

For a work in any medium measuring no more than 30 cm along the longest dimension (excluding frame). Made possible by the generosity of a Life Member. Value £300.

The picture was great fun to paint, small, close tonal scale, and a great subject. I thought the old jetty was a knock out with a super structure and colours, the hopeful fisherman atop - it just had to be painted.

The only thing was that the tug had to be moved up river just a touch, but I have the artist’s licence! So I can get away with that! Painted at Blyth on the north east coast, I loved working on it.


RSMA New Generation Award

Gregory Smith

All work in the exhibition

Awarded by the Society, Gregory receives £250. The Award is open to all artists aged 35 or under at the time of submission.

I’m very happy to have been awarded The RSMA New Generation Award for my submissions to this year’s exhibition. All four depict historical subjects, which I try to interpret through the modern lens.

Primarily, I work with digital tools, covering a wide variety of freelance work and VFX, in the latter case mostly for student films. I’m now moving into illustration, as a participant of the Heroic 100 Art Campaign launched by Heroic Books. These inform my traditional media images, as I often use digital tools as part of the sketching process, and let the design ideas and approaches of digital media and film influence the designs of my paintings.

However, the creation process of the pictures themselves tends to follow a more conventional approach, consolidating a wide range of research material into a reconstruction of the subject. I build up the paint in a series of layers - usually between three and four, increasing the level of detail each time, following a carefully constructed sketch.


Topbond Marine Award

John Maule-ffinch

The Old Cranes at Bristol Docks

For works depicting marine engineering or construction activities in harbours, estuaries or marine waters within the UK. Value £250.


Winsor & Newton Oil Prize

Richard Dack RSMA RWA

Hebridean Recollections

£250 worth of Winsor & Newton materials for a notable oil painting.

The seashore has always offered me themes and material for painting. Frequently, visual and emotional responses have been joined by physical objects collected on site, which evolve and change in their relationship over a long gestation period in the quest to evoke the memory and sensation of experienced locations.

I enjoy recreating the link by juxtaposing illusory reality with physical reality, bringing together the present moment and remembered past. ‘Hebridean Recollections’ relates to memories and experiences collected from multiple visits to the Isles.



Buy the Prize-Winning Works Now

Prize Winners | Royal Society of Portrait Painters Annual Exhibition 2020

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The Royal Society of Portrait Painters and Mall Galleries are delighted to announce the Prizes & Awards from the Royal Society of Portrait Painters Annual Exhibition 2020. 

Congratulations to all artists who have been awarded prizes by our generous prize givers. 

The exhibition is open at Mall Galleries until Saturday 26 September. 

Book Your Tickets

If you cannot make the exhibition we hope that with videos, audio, images, and statements by the winners to watch, hear, see, and read, you can experience and enjoy their works wherever you are.

The exhibition is also available to Browse & Buy online now. 



The Ondaatje Prize for Portraiture

Shuang Liu

Woman in a Stadtische Galerie

The work uses traditional European techniques to detail an elderly woman who lived in Germany during World War II.

The work expresses the sitter's inherent persistent spirit and conveys the vicissitudes of time. The dress is a reflection of contemporary tradition.


The de Laszlo Foundation Award

Nneka Uzoigwe

Lily Before the Play

A portrait painted from life of the wonderful Lily Holder prepared to go on stage.


Prince of Wales's Award for Portrait Drawing

Jack Freeman

Walkie Talkie

I made this drawing of Patricia after a walk through Grantchester near Cambridge. The evening light made the scene particularly poignant. I wanted to capture the feeling of a walk, late in the day, through countryside, and I think the smokey blackness of the charcoal - particularly as it works into this hand-made paper gives the picture a grainy sentimentality.


Burke's Peerage Foundation Award

Joshua Waterhouse

Dame Glynis Breakwell

I would like to thank the Royal Society of Portrait Painters and Burke's Peerage Foundation for this prize. It was such a pleasant surprise to hear that I won.

This is a study for a much larger painting of Dame Glynis Breakwell commissioned by the University of Bath of their retiring Vice-Chancellor. In the larger painting, the setting is much clearer; the Vice-Chancellor is sitting in her living room on an ornately embroidered chair surrounded by objects which tell the story of her career. In its reduced size, this painting hints at some of the finer details in the larger portrait but is dominated by the large yellow background.

I always paint on wood panels, which I prime in the studio. Before I start drawing, I always rub in a thin layer of transparent red oxide, just to get rid of any white. Once the drawing is established, I start blocking in the lights and darks by using Burnt Umber and Titanium White. Then for the second pass, I start introducing colour and try to establish a palette. For the third pass, I'll work much more meticulously using finer detail and adding nuance to the painting; then I add glazes if I feel that certain parts need cooling or warming or darkening.

Once everything is dry, I add a layer of retouched varnish … in order to re-saturate some of the colours that may have sunken in - this is particularly a problem for darker colours, especially ivory black (which you can see on the sitter’s dress).


Smallwood Architects Prize

Steven Wood

Sandancer

Sandancer is the name used to describe those who come from the town of South Shields, Tyne & Wear, although the term is hardly known by anyone outside the local area.

The sitter, Julie Kassim, is on one of the different beaches in South Shields in a place called Frenchman’s Cove. Scattered around the painting are symbolic of runes that represent her spirituality and beliefs in the supernatural and white magic.

The image is placed in landscape form giving the viewer a sense of floating above her.


The RP Prize for the Best Small Portrait

Robbie Wraith RP

Studio Portrait


The RP Award

Stephen Leho

The Most Important Thing in the World

The sitter holds a small mobile she made, it represents the solar system. She has unsettled it and is straightening the threads.

The painting is about mental health and emphasises the need to stay in the present.



Discover the exhibition online now

 

 

Is Sketching the Answer asks David Howell RSMA

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For as long as I can remember there has always been a discussion (and sometimes heated arguments) about where and how painters get their inspiration and ideas to work from and in particular whether it’s OK to work from photographs or whether there is something special about those who choose to work on the spot en plein air. 

For those who know me as an advocate of the latter approach, it might come as a bit of a surprise to hear that actually I don’t give a hoot how a painter acquires the information they need to produce a finished work because for me all that matters is the quality of the painting itself. 

For those of us who might be considered devotees of figurative art and for the public in general, the period of 19th century French impressionism is highly regarded and it’s worth occasionally taking the time to ask ourselves why. 

Perhaps the biggest influence was the fact that paint became available in tubes, which were much more portable and convenient than previous arrangements of pigs’ bladders and studio assistants carrying the gear, making it much easier to work out in the open air but I would suggest that arguably an even bigger advantage (apart from the French climate), was that they didn’t have digital cameras. 

OK, they may have had access to early plate cameras and images or camera-obscura arrangements but in the main, for the Impressionists and in particular, Turner and Constable before them, the only way to get the information needed was to get out there and look, sketch, and where possible paint on the spot. 

Painting en plein air has many advantages but I readily accept that it also poses problems. The weather changes, shadows move, people and wildlife sometimes get in the way, the tide comes and goes and there is usually a need to get on with it without too much fiddling about and too much fine detail. 

The main advantage is that decisions are made there and then about what to include or leave out, what is important or what isn’t and you become much more aware of the subject and the surroundings as well as the subtle changes of tone and colour, much more so than you would in a photograph. 

Plein air painters, in general, are a hardy bunch but I recognise that however for many, it isn’t always possible or even advisable to be spending hours working outside for long periods. 

However, there are ways of working that can achieve the same sort of result and avoid the pattern of just taking a few photographs and taking them back home to paint from, not least because unless you are pretty good at photography and kitted out with a decent camera, the results in terms of tone, colour and perspective can often be less than ideal and they tend to lead into the trap of copying the photo in all its fine detail and lose the critical individual creative input.

My way of working for much of the time is to use a sketchbook. In its simplest form, I will often just use a pencil – an 8 or 9B is absolutely fine or sometimes I will use a clutch pencil, which has a fatter soft lead that can be retracted and therefore is easier to stuff in a pocket. 

This is not about detailed drawing with a fine point but about the ability to produce a loose monochrome sketch with loose shading, free lines and tones by just increasing or decreasing the pressure on the pencil. 

I find that spending 5 minutes or less on one of these sketches will usually give me enough information to work from and it means that I’m already making crucial decisions about the subject of the painting and where it is placed within the composition. 

Working like this means that I have the freedom to re-arrange the elements to make a better picture. If a boat needs moving to balance the composition, fine. If a mooring pole or a mooring is effectively out of the line of sight but adds something to the composition, then I move it into the frame. 

I’m creating a picture, with an atmosphere and a sense of time and place, rather than trying to paint exactly what’s there. When working from a photograph it’s all too easy to get trapped into painting the image exactly as it appears.

This is an example of the pencil sketch approach in a little fishing village called in Tigert, Morocco. I have photographs of course but producing a sketch enabled me to incorporate the figures (they weren’t there) and for the sake of composition, the boats have been realigned somewhat. Everything is loose in terms of line and block shading.

This is a quick sketch of cottages beside the beck at Staithes in North Yorkshire. This is a location where it is all too easy to become bogged down with detailed or even architectural drawing but the attraction for me is the way the cottages tumble down towards the water. 

I let the pencil wander, I like bent roofs and walls that aren’t quite straight and working quickly like this encourages a loose approach which won’t happen if you have all the time in the world to copy a photo. 

Both of these sketches were made with an 8B soft pencil. Used gently it will produce light and thin lines whilst increasing the pressure increases the tone and thickness.

A slightly different approach with this sketch which is made with a clutch pencil. These have a thicker lead than a conventional pencil – carefully drawn lines are impossible – but it’s ideal for fast blocked in areas of tone, producing a lively loose drawing that can be used to paint from.

I don’t need any more information than this. I’m quite happy to make up anything that I feel is missing and I can concentrate on the overall effect of the composition rather than worrying about fine detail.

There does come a point of course when you need more information about colours, although it’s surprising how much information is retained by just concentrating for 5 or 10 minutes. I used to carry around a roll of coloured pencils, which worked fine by extending the pencil sketching process into colour. 

I haven‘t really abandoned that approach but in recent years, I’ve tended to move towards sketching in watercolour. 

The secret with this approach is to keep the equipment to a minimum – in my case, it consists of small Winsor & Newton ‘Bottle Box’, which hold 12 ½ pans of paint and has a water container built-in, with a small reservoir which hooks on the side and I use a size 12 retractable Escoda sable brush, all which fit easily into a pocket and of course a small sketchbook of watercolour paper. 

This approach obviously takes longer but the results are worth the extra time it takes. It’s almost a halfway stage towards a plein air painting but it takes a lot less time. The secret is to keep it small and doesn’t overwork it.

This sketch was painted on a beach north of Essaouira and was the information for the larger finished work that is in this year’s RSMA show. It’s painted on a Khadi sketchbook, beginning to fall apart and held together with clips - my sketchbooks have a hard life! 

I love this handmade Indian paper, colour repro is great and these 20 x 20 cm sketchbooks are ideal for this sort of approach. In this instance, there is a little bit of pen work as well with a Faber Castell PITT artist waterproof pen.

This is a pure watercolour sketch at Paull on the North Bank of the River Humber. In a way it doesn’t get more minimalist than this – just watercolour painted quickly, again on Khadi paper – this time it was just a small A4 size sheet, held down with a couple of clips. 

The paper wasn’t stretched or carefully prepared, which meant it buckled a bit but I like the spontaneity of it, the loose sky and the reflections and a happy memory of an hour or so painting.

Conclusion 

As an occasional teacher on painting courses I see so many students whose first course of action when arriving at a painting spot is to start taking photos in all directions and then later I find them trying to study the results on smartphones and iPads and attempting to work from or copying the image and I spend a lot of time trying to explain that painting is not about accuracy. 

If I painted the little watercolour of Paull above accurately from a photo, it is highly likely it would be rather boring. It wouldn’t have the freedom to use a little imagination and get the feeling of the moment.

Finally for those of you who feel you must use photos, can I suggest an alternative approach? Try sketching from the photograph. Put the photo up on a screen, the bigger the better and produce a sketch from it. Don’t attempt to copy it, just use the information that you want and ignore the things that aren’t of interest. 

If there’s something you can’t be sure of what it’s all about, don’t start messing with a magnifying glass or blowing up the image, just use your imagination and most importantly when you have finished, turn off the computer, hide the photo and don’t keep going back to it. Just use the sketch and be creative.

David Howell PPRSMA is a Past President of the Royal Society of Marine Artists, and has a collection of works as part of the Annual Exhibition taking place until 10 October.

View David's paintings

Book your ticket to visit the Exhibition

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Image credit

David Howell PPRSMA, Sketch of Essaouira

Climb every mountain, or at least, paint it

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Whether the lockdown has meant you have spent more time in nature, or been separated from it, we hope you enjoy this collection of paintings of rolling hills and soaring mountains produced by members of the Federation of British Artists as part of The Figurative Art Fair.

View The Figurative Art Fair

Frances Bell RP Bonfire at Akeld Oil on board £1,845 Buy this painting

"In early spring there are number of attractive bonfires on farm yards as they prepare for the coming summer. I love the rusett light and blue smoke." Frances Bell RP

Akeld is a village in Northumberland.

Toby Wiggins RP Burning Rock: Mount Elijah above Ano Boularii, Mid-afternoon Oil on canvas £4,500 Buy this painting

"Lemon yellow, red ochre and stark, bleached whiteness. Shards of rock push through dry stream beds, stunted leathery shrubs - needle, spike, spine and prickle all baked and cured in the fierce sunlight." Toby Wiggins RP

Toby Wiggins RP Mani Mountain Tower Oil on canvas £4,500 Buy this painting

‘...towers and walls that so exactly tallied in texture and colour with the stone crop of the surrounding hills that it was as if the landscape had shrugged them together into a system of lanes and shot those tall parallelograms into the air on a sudden subterranean impulse.’ Patrick Leigh Fermor 

Andrew Stock SWLA Alpine Ridgeway Watercolour £800 Buy this painting

"Alpine Ridgeway was painted in Austria (Gargellen) in February 2019. It was one of a series of Alpine paintings I worked on." Andrew Stock SWLA

Richard Rees PS Sahara Fort, Morocco Oil pastel on paper £525 Buy this painting

"The Fort is right on the edge of the great sand dune area south of the Atlas Mountains in Morocco and near an area popular for overnight camel trips. The scale of the dunes is emphasised by the juxtaposition of the Fort in the foreground. The light is near sunset, which makes the sand glow and emphasises the sinuous form of the dunes." Richard Rees PS

Salliann Putman NEAC Black Hills Watercolour & gouache £775 Buy this painting

Clare Haward NEAC County Sligo Oil on linen on board £900 Buy this painting

Tessa Coleman NEAC Crushed Milk Bottle and Paper Bag Oil on gesso panel £1,500 Buy this painting

"This still life was playtime in the studio. I just grabbed a few odds and ends that were lying around and made the painting all about the colour and abstract shapes that came about by a haphazard arrangement of objects, observed up close from a low point of view. " Tessa Coleman NEAC

I think this looks like a mountain scene, so I included it in this collection!

David Allen RSMA Winter Sun, Bolton Abbey Oil £750 Buy this painting

Colin Allbrook RSMA RI River Taw 22nd April 2020 Oil on board £495 Buy this painting

"One of a series of the River Taw and valley opposite my house here in North Devon painted "pleine aire" during this current lockdown." Colin Allbrook RSMA RI

There are lots more landscape paintings in The Figurative Art Fair

View The Figurative Art Fair

The Figurative Art Fair is the only exclusively online art fair for the finest contemporary representational art.

Presented by the Federation of British Artists, The Figurative Art Fair features 248 works for sale by around 100 elected members of the country’s leading national art societies, including:

  • The Pastel Society (PS)
  • Royal Society of British Artists (RBA)
  • Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours (RI)
  • Royal Society of Portrait Painters (RP)
  • New English Art Club (NEAC)
  • Royal Society of Marine Artists (RSMA)
  • Society of Wildlife Artists (SWLA)
  • Royal Institute of Oil Painters (ROI)

Make a Donation

Exhibition Admission is usually £5. If you enjoy viewing the exhibition online, and could consider making a donation to help us through this period of closure, any amount would be greatly appreciated.

Content Image

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Image credit

Andrew Stock SWLA, Alpine Ridgeway (detail)

Paintings of Windows, Paintings from Windows

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If eyes are the windows of the soul, what meaning do windows have in paintings? Letting the light in, allowing us to breathe, giving us an escape, keeping us snug and safe when it is dark outside.

There are lots of windows in the paintings in The Figurative Art Fair

View The Figurative Art Fair

Tessa Coleman NEAC Rear Window Oil on canvas £1,900 Buy this painting

"This is a small painting of light-catching surfaces. The challenge here was how to capture a sense of Charlene’s features whilst looking directly into the light of the window behind her, as most of the time the details of her features were practically invisible against the light. I tried to keep the whole painting as minimal and as delicate as possible without losing the bite in the drawing.

I kept in mind Vermeer’s Lacemaker whilst grappling with Charlene, a painting unsurpassed in my view for containing an entire world in a tiny slice of life.

In Lawrence Gowing’s words: “The Lacemaker bends intently over her pursuit, unaware of any other happenings, it is perhaps the fact that she is so absorbed, enclosed in her own lacy world, that allows us to approach her so close.”

Looking at the painting up close one sees all surface light being described in marvellously delicate and subtle paint application, the red skeins of thread being spun into lace are utterly extraordinary, paint and thread simultaneously." Tessa Coleman NEAC

Melissa Scott-Miller RP NEAC RBA Irises on a Studio Stool by a Sunny Window Oil on canvas £900 Buy this painting

"This is a square oil painting of flowers next to a window on a sunny day, with closely observed and detailed rendering of the petals and painterly rendering of the artists' wooden paint-encrusted stool." Melissa Scott-Miller RP NEAC RBA

June Berry NEAC The African Violet Watercolour £800 Buy this painting

Andrew Farmer ROI Wild Flowers Oil on panel £450 Buy this painting

"An original oil painting from my ongoing Wild Flowers series, this piece was painted from direct observation. The flowers were collected during our daily exercise under lockdown here in the UK." Andrew Farmer ROI 

James Horton PPRBA Kitchen Interior with Tulips Oil on canvas £2,300 Buy this painting

Part of a series of Lockdown Interiors by James Horton, Past President of the Royal Society of British Artists.

Victoria Jinivizian NEAC Tidcombe Oil on gesso panel £2,100 Buy this painting

Steven Outram RBA Belonging Oil £2,300 Buy this painting

"Twilight - a figure on a path seeing a house surrounded by trees, with stars in a fading blue sky - seeing the beauty of place." Steven Outram RBA

David Poxon RI When We Were Young Pure watercolour £2,250 Buy this painting

Neil Pittaway NEAC Blue Danube Facade Pen and ink drawing on paper £850 Buy this painting

"This detailed dip pen and ink drawing is based from drawings I made on earlier trips to Budapest and Bucharest and is based on the Art Nouveau Architecture of both those cities and is a romanticised and imaginary interpretation of that period's architecture and culture with the title referencing Johan Straus' Waltz of the Blue Danube." Neil Pittaway NEAC

Rosa Sepple PRI Kitchen Window Water-based mixed media £2,450 Buy this painting

"The view through the kitchen window of a spring holiday home along the Cornish coast." Rosa Sepple PRI

Richard Sorrell RBA NEAC Memory Room Acrylic £825 Buy this painting

Richard Sorrell RBA NEAC Spring Indoors Oil £2,225 Buy this painting

There are other windows in the paintings in The Figurative Art Fair to explore...

View The Figurative Art Fair

The Figurative Art Fair is the only exclusively online art fair for the finest contemporary representational art.

Presented by the Federation of British Artists, The Figurative Art Fair features 248 works for sale by around 100 elected members of the country’s leading national art societies, including:

  • The Pastel Society (PS)
  • Royal Society of British Artists (RBA)
  • Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours (RI)
  • Royal Society of Portrait Painters (RP)
  • New English Art Club (NEAC)
  • Royal Society of Marine Artists (RSMA)
  • Society of Wildlife Artists (SWLA)
  • Royal Institute of Oil Painters (ROI)

Make a Donation

Exhibition Admission is usually £5. If you enjoy viewing the exhibition online, and could consider making a donation to help us through this period of closure, any amount would be greatly appreciated.

Content Image

Sorrell Window banner.jpg

Image credit

Richard Sorrell RBA NEAC, Spring Indoors (detail)

Dance!

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For almost as long as there has been painting, there have been paintings of dancers and people dancing. There are 9,000-year-old cave paintings of dancers in India, 5,000-year-old paintings of Egyptian dancers. Painters throughout the ages have sought to capture the movement, music and joy of dance in paint.

Members of the Federation of British Artists are no different, and here is a collection of contemporary paintings of Dancers from The Figurative Art Fair

View The Figurative Art Fair

Charles Williams NEAC Old People Dancing Oil on canvas £1,500

"Old People Dancing was an image that seemed to emerge unbidden while I was painting. I don't know why: it was about a month before the recent pandemic, so perhaps it was some kind of premonition." Charles Williams NEAC

Chris Bennett ROI Blue Girls II Oil on panel £3,600

Aimee Birnbaum RI Moving As One Watercolour embossed £800

"Moving As One is an embossed watercolour.  It is part of my series of dancers in perpetual motion. It is a metaphor for how we are with each other, reacting and balancing. My own dance training helps me to imagine the figures released from the normal constraint of gravity." Aimee Birnbaum RI

Aimee Birnbaum RI Spring Revelry Watercolour & etching £500

"Spring Revelry is about expressing a release of energy and life force, after a long period of hibernation." Aimee Birnbaum RI

Peter Clossick NEAC Degas Sculpture, Dancer Looking at the Sole of her Right Foot Pen & ink on paper £400

Tessa Coleman NEAC Robert The Dancer Oil on cradled gesso panel £4,500

"Robert is the most elegant of life models, as a professional dancer, he is extraordinarily lithe and flexible and holds a pose with impeccable grace. This is the quality I aimed to capture in this painting of Robert, done in the company of three other painter friends over the course of four painting sessions. It was one of those paintings that fell into place quite naturally, the fineness of Robert’s bone structure and his supple and upright pose reflected in the elegance of the house plants that he is nestled behind.

Painting fabric folds and patterns is not the specialist subject is used to be now that everyone wears jeans, but working out how to paint Robert’s kaftan reminded me of the airy Philip Pearlstein portrait of Linda Nochlin and Richard Pommer I saw a couple of years ago in New York. In the painting Linda Nochlin is wearing a blue and white geometric patterned dress and Philip Pearlstein has painted the folds of the material and the fall of light so precisely, yet with such lightness of touch: paint and fabric at the same time, hard to do and wonderful to look at." Tessa Coleman NEAC 

Ian Cook RI Rehearsal Steps Oil & acrylic £850

"A novice dancer makes tentative strategies on the dance floor, pointing her foot in the pattern of aesthetic hopscotch, visible only to her." Ian Cook RI

Raymond Leech RSMA Arabesque Oil £1,875

Julian Bailey NEAC Bather, Tasmania Oil £4,200

Can you spot the paintings of Singer and Musicians in The Figurative Art Fair

View The Figurative Art Fair

The Figurative Art Fair is the only exclusively online art fair for the finest contemporary representational art.

Presented by the Federation of British Artists, The Figurative Art Fair features 248 works for sale by around 100 elected members of the country’s leading national art societies, including:

  • The Pastel Society (PS)
  • Royal Society of British Artists (RBA)
  • Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours (RI)
  • Royal Society of Portrait Painters (RP)
  • New English Art Club (NEAC)
  • Royal Society of Marine Artists (RSMA)
  • Society of Wildlife Artists (SWLA)
  • Royal Institute of Oil Painters (ROI)

Make a Donation

Exhibition Admission is usually £5. If you enjoy viewing the exhibition online, and could consider making a donation to help us through this period of closure, any amount would be greatly appreciated.

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Image credit

Aimee Birnbaum RI, Moving as One (detail)

Voice of Peppa Pig exhibiting work with the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours

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Rising illustrator of children’s books Lily Snowden-Fine has had one of her works selected for the prestigious 208th Exhibition by the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours.

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The success coincides with her first illustrated children’s book a light-hearted zoology work titled Why Do Dogs Sniff Bottoms (published by Thames and Hudson with text by Nick Crumpton). This is something of a ‘full circle’ for Anglo-Canadian, Lily - as a child actress aged just 5, she created the voice of the famous animated character Peppa Pig.

Her work, titled Sometime After Seven O’Clock, is a portrait of an imaginary woman and captures an evening mood with a composition which includes striking tiles of colours created in gouache, the opaque watercolour medium which is her favourite.

Lily Snowden-Fine Sometime After Seven O'Clock Gouache, 32 x 24 cm, £500

Now Lily’s career is divided between creating fine art for exhibition and a growing portfolio of illustrated publications and work: she is already working on two animal-themed works to follow her debut book. The child of two animators, Lily grew up in the UK with a love of illustration and she trained at Ontario College of Art and Design which she credits with launching her career in editorial work but also emboldening her as an independent fine artist.

Of her exhibited work, Lily says: “I love using gouache to create a painting because it’s such a playful palette and suits my style. It allows a new mood for every application and the saturated colours really suit this piece – I really wanted to showcase the textures it provides.”

“Portraits like this are something I’m drawn to – it’s amazing that a simple look in someone’s eye can connect you straight into their world."

Now due to the response to COVID-19, Lily is with her parents in Vancouver, but she is used to working remotely and in a digital world. She was discovered by her first publisher on Instagram and it seems fitting that her prestigious UK exhibition success is – for the time being – online at www.mallgalleries.org.uk

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Lily Snowden-Fine, Sometime After Seven O'Clock (detail)

Ian Sidaway RI: Sketchbooks

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Ian Sidaway RI is a prolific painter of landscapes in watercolours. Ian was due to speak about his use of sketchbooks in the gallery during the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours 208th Exhibition. Now that none of us are allowed out, whatever the weather, Ian has shared some images from his sketchbooks with us here.


A studio painting almost invariably has its genesis in a sketchbook work. I produce paintings in Moleskine A4 Landscape sketchbooks which open to give a wide panoramic format. It is not an easy format to work on and presents a number of challenges, not least when presented with a tall subject, however, I like the way the image can be designed across the spread which lends a certain dynamic, different to that seen in traditional rectangular or square formats. I often work on-site but have no problems in supplementing my studio reference with photographs.

When working on location I also make fine liner drawings in a small Moleskine whilst a larger sketchbook painting dries. I also make these type of drawings almost daily as I always carry a book and fine liners in my pocket.

I am not the type of artist, many of which I admire greatly, that work in all weathers, lashing themselves to the mast in order to capture the moment. I like to travel with the minimum of equipment, preferably in fine weather, to a location close to a bar or other form of hostelry.  I am a plein air lightweight. The sketchbook drawings are often painted without a preliminary drawing. A few pencil lines might position key elements but I prefer ‘drawing’ with the brush, placing one shape next to another creating the basic image before beginning to lay washes one on top of the other. I will often rework an image in the studio principally by strengthening the darks which has the almost magical effect of lightening the lights, broadening the tonal range.

Prior to beginning a studio painting, I will often make small compositional sketches in a Moleskine with squared up, Quadrille, pages. Paradoxically I never produce studio work using the same panoramic format of the sketchbooks but will section areas out so that the finished image conforms to the more traditional formats. It is arguable whether or not these small doodles are a necessary part of the process but I find it satisfying. It's a habit I got into after reading ‘Composition of Outdoor Painting’ by Edgar Payne.

I was trained as a designer and used to rail against the graphic qualities that seemed inherent in everything I did. I dreamed of plastering paint onto a canvas with a virtuosity equal to that of Sorolla or Schiele but the penny finally dropped, that was not going to happen, and I realised that I should concentrate and build on those few qualities and strengths already present.


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Ian Sidaway RI, Sketchbook, Champ de Mars and Tour Eiffel

Musical Instruments in Watercolour

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Our Bookshop Manager, and one of our most musical members of staff, Natalie Richardson, shares her thoughts on the paintings of musical instruments in the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours online Exhibition.


As I was dancing around my living room the other day, I texted my best friend Alice:

'ABBA dance marathon just about to start in my living room.' 

Her reply? 

'What's the first tune? I shall join you.'

Music has always been a huge aspect of my life, but I'm finding that now more than ever, I'm desperately listening through all the good stuff out there, to lose myself in a moment that isn't about 'you-know-what'. I'm not afraid to admit I've been singing along (badly) and then getting my ukulele out to see if I can play along too. It's not usually a rock-stars' instrument-of-choice, but you've yet to hear me play.

Maybe that's why, as I was listening to '90s Bangers' (hits from my childhood) on the radio, and scrolling through the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours exhibition for work, I realised that there are so many instruments painted in the pictures. It got me thinking that creating music is such an act of togetherness. You need to be present and paying complete attention. If you're out by a beat, you're flat, or you're playing the wrong piece of music (it has been known to happen), it makes a beautiful melody a bit of a cacophony. 

Togetherness is what we're craving right now so can we find that in music?

Roger Dellar PS RI ROI Quartet Watermedia, 46 x 46 cm, £695

I wonder what the musicians in Roger Dellar's 'Quartet' are playing? Let me know what you think. His studies of The Cellist and the player in Violin Performance look so engrossed; the passion and concentration growing stronger as the piece progresses. There are so many classical (and non-classical) players who’ve done amazing virtual performances recently - it’s their creativity, and drive to do everything to try and be together, that impresses me.

Roger Dellar PS RI ROI The Cellist Watermedia, 46 x 46 cm, £695

Roger Dellar PS RI ROI Violin Performance Watermedia, 56 x 56 cm, £795

The string section gets another look-in with Anna Dudley Neill's Signature Tune which has them in a semi-abstract embrace. Initially, I thought there was something a bit ‘MC Escher’ going on here. Then I took some time, and through the lines of sound drawn on the page, I noticed the loving accuracy of the mark-making appear before me, like a study of life. Anna's truly seen the instruments for what they are; learning all their shapes and curves, whilst also capturing their potential, ability and hope, and drawing us into the truth in their beauty. We’ve got time ourselves at the moment to really look, and this powerfully simple act can have a such a calming influence.

Anna Dudley Neill RI Signature Tune Watercolour, 47 x 39 cm, £800

Currently, new friends are a bit hard to come by, but I have found a new one in Hanako. David Gleeson has captured her sly smile and strong gaze; Hanako knows the best is yet to come. Once she lifts the flute to her lips she will transport us all to another plane, filled with colour and light.

David Gleeson Hanako and Flute Watercolour, 77 x 74 cm, £2,500

I'm similarly intrigued with the chap in Geoffrey Wynne's Kind of Blue where the intensity of his eyes travels into my soul and I can hear the distant sounds of his song.

Geoffrey Wynne RI Kind of Blue Watercolour, 50 x 35 cm, £1,600

A good old celebratory fanfare is displayed in Nick Orsborn's Oasis and Aimee Birnbaum's Darwin’s Dream. It reminds me of all the noise the pots and pans, and hands, make for the NHS and keyworkers. Such an act of appreciation and unity. Did you also see the video of the six-year-old whose whole street stood outside their front doors with balloons to sing her ‘Happy Birthday’? Made me well up! Well done everyone, thank you. Keep up the good work and we'll stay home.

Nick Orsborn RI Oasis Watercolour, 36 x 36 cm, £750

Aimee Birnbaum RI Darwin's Dream Watercolour, 67 x 82 cm, £1,500

And on that note (pardon the pun), the final painting I'll draw your eye to (pardon the pun...again) is Rosa Sepple's What's New Pussycat? Not because of the title, although I shall be going to play some Tom Jones and texting Alice shortly, because this is where a lot of us are at the moment: at home, alone, tickling the ivories, with the cats…

Rosa Sepple PRI What's New Pussycat Watercolour, gouache & ink, 28 x 19 cm, £995

...it's 4 o'clock in the afternoon and you're in your corset (pyjamas).

#StaySafe #StayHome #FlattenTheCurve


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Nick Orsborn RI, Oasis (detail)