ArtGallery Gift Vouchers for Christmas

by Aileen Mitchell 21. December 2015 15:17

Art gift vouchers are the perfect last-minute gift idea. We can email voucher certificates up until 17:00 on Christmas Eve.

ArtGallery.co.uk gift vouchers can be bought online and redeemed against any original art and limited edition prints on the site. With over 2,000 artists and 29,600 works on the site, there’s plenty to choose from.

Simply select your vouchers from our collection to make up the value you want. Once you've paid, you will receive a voucher certificate email that can be used straight away! You can also receive a printed presentation card version in the post.

'Windswept' by Angela Dierks

If you are buying vouchers as a gift, we can also email the voucher certificate email directly to the recipient of your choosing.  

Vouchers are valid for an entire year. For full details, see our gift voucher page.

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Artist Of The Year 2015 - Winner Announced

by Aileen Mitchell 21. December 2015 12:56

We are delighted to announce the winner of the ArtGallery.co.uk’s Artist of the year 2015 competition. In this competition we asked customers to vote for their favourite artists, and from there our judges chose the winners based on the four criteria of saleability, originality, presentation and artistic skill.

Mariusz Kaldowski - ArtGallery.co.uk Artist of the Year 2015

Mariusz graduated with an MA in Fine Arts from the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow. He is a painter, a print maker and a graphic designer. Currently he divides his time between Westcliff-on-Sea and his holiday hideaway in Poland. Since coming to the UK in 1996 he has been busy creating, exhibiting and successfully selling his work. 

Mariusz Kaldowski

'Meadowland' - by Mariusz Kaldowski

The judges have also announced two runners up:

Tiffany Budd and Irina Rumyantseva

 

'Flying High' - by Tiffany Budd

 

'Peace' - by Irina Rumyantseva

Other artists who received high commendations from the judges were:

Martin Whittam, Davina Nicholas and Angela Dierks

 

'Friday Night' - by Martin Whittam

'Menagerie 4' - by Davina Nicholas

'Windswept' - by Angela Dierks

All the artists who were voted through to the judging phase should be proud of the support they received from our audience. Judging art is never an easy job and this year the sheer talent shown by all of the artists who reached the judging phase was incredible. 

Full results

Artist of the Year 2015 – Mariusz Kaldowski

Runners Up - Tiffany Budd and Irina Rumyantseva.

Highly Commended - Martin Whittam, Davina Nicholas and Angela Dierks.

Commended Artists – Andrew Reid Wildman, Marily Valkijainen, Simon Knott, Tatiana Wilson, Nigel Naylor and Judith Selcuk.

ArtGallery.co.uk gift vouchers

We have had a very busy few weeks on the run up to the festive season. Many people will be able to enjoy an artwork Christmas gift or be able to spend some of their Christmas holiday selecting their personal artwork to use a gift voucher present. Art gift vouchers make a great, thoughtful gift for family, friends or colleagues. We can email gift vouchers for orders received up to 5pm on Christmas Eve.

 

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Shining A Spotlight on Alexandra Grashion-Cowley

by Aileen Mitchell 18. December 2015 16:43

Finding and painting an energy, whether it be from a vibrant figure or a decaying building, can produce fantastic works of art. Alexandra Grashion-Cowley paints striking oil on canvas works that show a real vibrancy. We asked her about her life as an artist and what keeps her inspired. 

ArtGallery: Describe a typical day in your life as an artist.

Alexandra Grashion-Cowley: A typical day for me in my life as an artist would begin with a brisk ‘doggie’ walk for fresh air and exercise before returning to set up my studio and immerse myself in the current project. Paint is retrieved from the fridge and various pieces of equipment are suitably placed ready for use. Music to set the mood, and black coffee are often a welcome and necessary addition.

 

'Hiding In Plain Sight' - by Alexandra Grashion-Cowley

ArtGallery: Where do you gather inspiration for your artwork? 

AG-C: Inspiration for my artwork can often hit me blindside when I least expect it. It can be something as simple as seeing beautiful colours together in whatever form, or a particular piece of music. I am often drawn to architecture, especially if it is falling into decay - to me this holds a strange beauty because it is no longer perfect. The energy of models on a catwalk and the spectacular colour of their clothing and the lighting effects are always a source of inspiration, having been heavily involved in the clothing industry. I see fashion as art on a body. I also attempt to portray a mood within my paintings to create atmosphere.

ArtGallery: What was the first piece of art you created and the first piece of art you sold?

AG-C: I have created art in some way ever since I could hold a pencil and was presented with a little desk. My ability is an inherent gift from both parents so I have been artistic for the whole of my life. The first piece of art I sold was a commissioned portrait of a doctor, which was well received.

 

'A Rose By Any Other Name'  - by Alexandra Grashion-Cowley

ArtGallery: What is the most important piece of equipment in your artist’s tool box?

AG-C: The most important ’tool’ that I own would be my imagination! All art equipment and paint is important to an artist but I have two huge easels which are invaluable due to my preference for producing large canvases, and also my computer, frequently used for research.

ArtGallery: What art do you enjoy and admire?
 
AG-C: I enjoy and admire art by many artists ranging from Jackson Pollock to Sir Lawrence Alma Tadema - two completely different genres at opposite ends of the spectrum, but the art that I enjoy most and am proud to own has been produced by my own children, each being artistically gifted themselves.

 

'I Think Therefore I Am' - by Alexandra Grashion-Cowley

ArtGallery: How has ArtGallery.co.uk helped you progress your artistic career?

AG-C: ArtGallery.co.uk has proved to be a most wonderful marketing tool. I had previously been with a gallery in London for seventeen years until it closed due to retirement. This was followed by a reflective period when I questioned my direction, but having discovered ArtGallery I have never looked back. The service given with ready support and encouragement is second to none, and I feel well and truly ‘back in the frame’!

'Sunday Best' - by Alexandra Grashion-Cowley

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Artists | Being an Artist

Malvern Theatres - 2015 - Christmas and New Year Exhibition

by Humph Hack 6. December 2015 14:47

The buyer of a work of art often asks the artist, “How long did it take you to paint this?” The rather glib answer is, “Several years.” That’s because the honing of skills and the development of a style genuinely does take that long. It will have been at the expense of hours of work, pieces scrapped, or painted over because they fail to satisfy and a constant striving for that elusive image which the artist is willing to share with the wider public. Artists train in a variety of ways. Some undertake full-time degree study, others join art groups or attend day or evening courses. Some are entirely self-taught. The thing which makes any artist successful is the drive for perfection, which most will tell you they have yet to reach.

The three artists showing their works in this Christmas and New Year Exhibition at Malvern Theatres are all highly skilled in very different ways.

Justin Lewis is a UK-based oil painter who lives and works in a leafy suburb of Sheffield. As well as producing stunning artworks, he lectures in Art & Design at one of the largest Universities in England. Justin’s life-long mentor was trained by some of the greatest artists of the twentieth century. As they’ve imparted their training to Justin, he uses it to create paintings that bristle with life and vibrancy. A central theme of his painting practice is: ‘People at Play’. The aim of his art could be summed up as: ‘Paintings to come home to’, or ‘Day-dreams for the evening’.This is Justin’s first exhibition in Malvern Theatres. He has sold to collectors across Europe and the rest of the World.

Sally Lancaster is a Devon based artist who, like many of the best painters today, is entirely self-taught. Characterised by fine brush strokes on subtle backgrounds, Sally's focus is always on the beauty of the subject itself, often observed from an unusual angle.  She is fascinated by detail, capturing every expression, movement and subtlety of the subject.Sally's original art and portraits are highly respected and she meticulously produces paintings to evoke emotions and allow the viewer to enjoy the beauty and true personality of the subject. She regularly exhibits in London as well as various galleries around the UK and America. Sally is returning to Malvern Theatres after showing here very successfully in the past.

 Sam Fenner is a Worcester based artist who studied Art & Design at Hereford College, Life Drawing at Worcester School of Art & Design, and Art History to degree level. Although she produces work of a variety of subject matter, most recently, she has had considerable success with her beguiling animal paintings, a collection of fun animal faces oozing with life and vivid character. She paints animal portraits, but they are much more than mere realistic images. They have a painterly quality which is an absolute joy. Add to that, the feeling that these animals have almost human characters. Even more pleasure comes from, then seeing, how Sam's witty titles fit the image so closely. “I am continually motivated and inspired by people’s enthusiastic response to the paintings. My aim is to paint only quirky animals with oodles of character and bags of attitude, and then hopefully capture and convey at least some of their personalities on to the canvas … maybe with a little artistic license here and there of course!” 

More of the work of all three artists’ work can be seen by visiting www.artgallery.co.uk.

If you are looking for a Christmas present that will “go on giving” – look no further. All purchases can be bought with the help of an interest free loan sponsored by the Arts Council.

The exhibition is open every day from 7 December until 23 January.

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Medieval to Modern: the nativity scene evolution

by Aileen Mitchell 4. December 2015 16:00

The styles and media of art have evolved throughout history to give us the wide variety of works that we see today. But does a change in period style alter people’s depictions of a story?

We took a linear approach to this question and looked at some of the most famous paintings of the nativity scene from medieval and before to modern day to see what aspects of the story may have changed, and which stayed the same.

 Unknown Master, Nativity Scene in Castelseprio (9th Century)

We begin with the painting that appears to be the most inclusive with regards to the actual biblical narrative, but unfortunately one of the most difficult to see.

Closely scrutinising the work, Mary can be found on the left, Joseph away over to the right – facing away from Mary, and some “oxen standing by” along the right. There are two people at the foot of Mary’s bed that look as though they could be attending to something – this is possibly where Jesus was depicted.

This fresco was discovered at the Roman fort, Castelseprio during the 1950s, which was turned into an archaeological park. 

Unknown Master, Nativity Scene in Cappello Palatina Palermo (1150)

The second work allows us to see what was included in the first but much more clearly. Beautifully preserved from the royal chapel of the Norman Kings of Sicily, this again depicts an accurate recreation of the nativity story.

Joseph, still facing away from the scene, is on the left this time. Angels are present, as are the three wise men, Mary, Jesus, and the stable animals. The wise men are behind Mary - the main subject – to reflect that they were not present at the time of birth in the narrative, but arrived some weeks later.

Giotti di Bondone, Nativity Scene in the Lower Church of San Francesco d’Assisi (painted 1304 – 1306)

We now have the name of the artist for the next painting. As style begins to change, there is more depth to the painting.

At this point, it may be worth explaining what is turning into a recurring theme of ‘grumpy Joseph’. Although perhaps a little ham-acted to the modern eye, Joseph is often depicted to show strong feelings about the birth.

There are references to Joseph not taking Mary’s news very well in the bible, despite his parents being supportive. With historical non-religious context, it is evident that a pre-marital birth was less than ideal. It was a capital offence for women to conceive outside of marriage. There was also a cultural stigma attached to such acts.

Paul Gauguin, Geburt Christi, des Gottessohnes (1896)

Jumping forward to the 19th century, Paul Gauguin depicts a much more interpretive manger scene. In keeping with Gauguin’s desire to push boundaries and create pure primitivism in his paintings, this piece is also in his famous style.

It is here that we begin to see a change. Where is Joseph? This seems to be very a deliberate omission, as Gauguin has included the oxen, which are arguably less crucial in the detail of the story. It seems that as time progresses, the focus on Joseph gradually begins to fade and Mary becomes more the main subject.

Tom Hunter, commissioned by The Guardian (2009)

Moving swiftly on to modern day, Joseph is again absent in the story. This idea was also made clear when The Guardian challenged nine leading contemporary artists to create their own nativity scene to address the theme of mother and child symbolism. The artists were asked to depict what this theme meant in a more modern, secular society.

Despite this being a thoroughly contemporary piece, there are subtle tributes to classic manger scenes. The light coming from the window behind creates the soft light around the mother’s head. The mother subject also has an expression and pose similar to many renaissance paintings as she looks at her baby placed beside her.

John Squire, commissioned by The Guardian (2009)

This tribute has a very interesting twist, and perhaps one of empathy towards Mary. Again, Joseph is not present. The mother subject, this time a young girl, also pays tribute to the classic Mary pose and facial expression.

There is an interesting juxtaposition between the clothing she wears and the modern feel of a photograph. Having to put both their faces through the holes in the cardboard, Squire may be suggesting that this isn’t necessarily a chosen outcome. This plays on the notion that Mary was chosen by God.

The absence of Joseph in this work could also be addressing themes of young motherhood without the presence of a father figure – something more common in contemporary, secular society.

Rebecca Warren, commissioned by The Guardian (2009)

What seems like a quirky tribute to the nativity scene by Rebecca Warren, can be interpreted as a metaphorical tribute to the theme of sacrifice by mother and child. Western Christmas dinners are most commonly celebrated with a turkey being the main event. Depicting the birds as Mary and Jesus forces us to think about other mothers that have been sacrificed since the original bible story.

Although the more traditional scene may be lost with the more modern interpretations, we can see from these examples that the story of an immaculate conception exists and is arguably highlighted with the more contemporary pieces. This is emphasised by omitting Joseph – now that is something for him to be grumpy about!

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Art History

Christmas 2015 Delivery Times

by Aileen Mitchell 1. December 2015 01:00

Our artists always do their best to despatch artworks in time for Christmas - but couriers and the Royal Mail are always under intense pressure at this time of year, so please do order in good time for Christmas:

Last ordering dates:

UK 17th December 2015
Mainland Europe 12th December 2015
USA & Canada 10th December 2015

 

ArtGallery.co.uk wishes you a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

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