You are currently browsing the monthly archive for October 2008.

To provide a bit of balance after my Obama pop-art pictures, here are some of John McCain- I must play fair after all! Down the bottom is a statement by McCain’s team on his stance on the Arts.

To see the Obama art, click here to see my previous post!

To give credit where credit is due, these are from and not by my artists in any shape or form.

“John McCain believes that arts education can play a vital role fostering creativity and expression. He is a strong believer in empowering local school districts to establish priorities based on the needs of local schools and school districts. Schools receiving federal funds for education must be held accountable for providing a quality education in basic subjects critical to ensuring students are prepared to compete and succeed in the global economy. Where these local priorities allow, he believes investing in arts education can play a role in nurturing the creativity of expression so vital to the health of our cultural life and providing a means of creative expression for young people.”

Finally here’s a photo- as the above pop art images are a bit boring in my view, here at least is a fairly good photo. Click here for my previous poston why I prefer paintings/sketches to photos. My artists (see them in the “important links”) can paint photos 100% by hand from any photo in any style.


Here are some pet paintings (original photo’s then final paintings) by Portrait Xpress artists. Certainly the original photo’s are good… but you can see that the Paintings make a great gift/ memory! And the beauty of paintings rather than prints, is that so many alterations can be made, up to the person who comissions the artwork.

original photo  (labrador puppy)

original photo

original photo

final painting

final painting

final painting

another photo

original photo

original photo

and the painting

the finished painting!

the finished painting!

see my previous post for a video of one of these being painted, to show you its 100% by hand, no printing or any funny business!!

Have a great day.

The Sovereign Art prize winner for Europe was announced a couple of days ago, it was won by Nadia Hebson.

Hebson makes several specific types of art work, most recently: intense, romantic and darkly atmospheric seascapes and shipwrecks. She also does some portraits…. see below!!

Born in 1974 in Romsey, UK, Hebson studied at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design and The Royal Academy of Arts, both in London. Currently the Artist in Residence at Durham Cathedral, she was also awarded a Derek Hill Foundation Scholarship earlier this year and spent three months studying at The British School at Rome. Hebson has exhibited internationally and was selected for this year’s Jerwood Contemporary Painters exhibition. She has previously been the recipient of an Arts Council Award and Duveen Woman Artist Award. For the last four years, she has lived and worked in Berlin where her love of middle European writers has developed.

Hebson commented:”I am absolutely ecstatic to be awarded the Sovereign European Art Prize, especially by such a distinguished panel of judges, whom I can’t thank enough. My painting of a shipwreck does appear quite prescient in the light of recent events! However I was genuinely surprised to hear that I had won with such a dark and romantic image. This award is, for me, the icing on the cake in a year of unprecedented experiences and I would like to thank all those who have supported me in getting this far. “

shipwreck- the winning painting

Valser- the winning painting




Th winning picture is very gloomy and melancholic, her main inspirations are mostly art historical.

See here for nadia’s website. I personally prefer her portraits, but perhaps I would given that I run a bespoke portrait painting business.!

See here for my previous post about the sovereign art prize.

“When you start with a portrait and try to find pure form by abstracting more and more, you must end up with an egg.”

There spoke Pablo Picasso.

A portrait is a painting, or other artistic representation of a person, in which the face and its expression is predominant. The intent is to display the likeness, personality, and even the mood of the person. For this reason, in photography a portrait is not a quick snapshot, but a composed image of a person in a still position.

A portrait usually shows a person looking directly at the painter or photographer, in order to most successfully engage the subject with the viewer.

The art of the portrait flourished in Roman sculptures, where sitters demanded realistic portraits, even unflattering ones. During the 4th century, the portrait began to retreat in favor of an idealized symbol of what that person looked like.

One of the best-known portraits in the Western world is Leanardo da Vinci’s painting  “Mona Lisa” which is a painting of an unidentified woman.

the mona lisa

the mona lisa

The world’s oldest known portrait was found in France in 2006 and is thought to be 27,000 years old.

If you want a portrait painting made of yourself, nowadays it can even be done from a photo!

as Portrait Xpress can do, as well as other artists.

there is an interesting exhibition currently still on (but just for a few more days) at The Pacific Asia Museum…..

Its about Asian values, and their role in Asian art. This is a theme I hope to return to more later. Confucianism is thought to be a basis for Asian values, see here for a great summary of a talk which can give you an interesting summary of asian values and the 21st century..titled …
Rethinking Confucianism: Asian Values and the Global Ethics of Human Rights and Responsibilities by Prof. On-cho Ng of the Pennsylvania State University.

The exhibition I want you to see if you can is called

Confucius: Shaping Values Through Art

Confucius: Shaping Values Through Art,  explores how Confucian values have permeated East Asian culture.

titled- the four sons of filial piety

titled- the four sons of filial piety

The Pacific Asia Museum has a collection of over 14,000 works of art including paintings, prints, sculptures, ceramics, jades and textiles from all over Asia and the Pacific Islands, and a research library containing more than 7,000 reference volumes relating to Asian and Pacific art and culture.  It is located at  46 North Los Robles Avenue, Pasadena California 91101

I can’t go (I dont live in the US!) but if anyone  reading does, please tell us how it was!!

Note, the Pacific Asia Museum also has some great podcasts, see here.

well, today I thought about blogging about artists using blood (there is a crazy artist who makes self portraits out of his own blood) but its so distasteful, that you can go and read about that yourself if you like. I thought about blood …given that the stock markets are dropping 10% region today in many places in the world… so everyone is seeing red.

Anyway, on a more uplifting note, what I did decide to write about is elephant dropping art!!

I have long known about paper made from elephant droppings, in Thailand, but I had forgotten about the artist who uses elephant dung in all his artwork!

First, here are some of his paintings. By Chris Olifi.

no woman no cry

no woman no cry

holy virgin mary

holy virgin mary



For example, this last pieceAfrodizzia, is made 96x 72 inches, is on linen, and is made from paper collage, oil paint, polyester resin, glitter, map pins, and wait for it………………..elephant dung.

Best known for his paintings using elephant dung, Ofili remarked during a radio interview at the Turner Prize award ceremony (about ten years ago), that the important thing was to know whether art was “good art or bad art” and not whether it contained elephant dung. He is, nonetheless, reported to have used this ingredient in all his works so far (almost a guarantee of authenticity), the original smuggled in from Africa, with subsequent needs coming from London’s Zoo and dried in an airing cupboard. He won the Turner prize for his “inventiveness, exuberance, humour and technical richness in painting”.

Another great quote I like is, he says ‘the way I work comes out of experimentation, but it also comes out of a love of painting, a love affair with painting.’ fantastic!

He is a British Born artist of Nigerian origin, and his works are available to buy online and in a few galleries.

So, if you afford it, go buy one.

If you want to have the fun yourself, go do a painting.

And if you don’t know already… for those people who can’t paint but want a personal painting, without the elephant poo (sorry!) then check out my commercial site Portrait Xpress for bespoke art from your photos. Have a good day!

With global stock markets reeling, people are paying a lot of attention to the ups and (mainly) down’s of the stock market. Today I looked at the two images below, and wondered….

are bloomberg market data tracker screens, the new art for this century? have we lost the creative ability to inspire new artists? is all we care about finance and the markets? what is the future for art?

art gallery 2.0???

art gallery 2.0???

(  traditional art gallery )

On November 14-16th is an exhibition in the cultural centre in TST, photos by Cathay Camera Club. I will tell you more about this great club another time (of which I am a member).

cathay camera club exhibition

cathay camera club exhibition

Today I have been reading an interesting blog which I feel should be mentioned here. Im learning more about blogs, and as I search the web for interesting things, I want to keep you abreast of them.

Tyler Green edits and writes Modern Art Notes, the most-read blog about visual art. He also writes regularly for numerous magazines.

In 2005 the Wall Street Journal called MAN ‘the most infuential of all visual arts blogs’. Two years later the WSJ said, “You won’t find a better-informed art writer than Tyler Green.” In 2008 the Washington Post named Green one of the capital’s “young and influential” arts figures.

Now, I would love to be able to produce a blog like this, but its not really my aim- I am not a professional art critic- in fact I just want to blog a little to inspire more people to practice art/photography, to realise there are some cross over areas in all fields (eg my parallel interests in animals and art), and ideally promote my portrait painting business in a way where I can be educational/entertaining, without being too commercial. I hate lots of art critics although I love art, and I know lots of other people feel like this and get put off by some art critics rather false, wordy, analysis of art.

I like the MAN blog because its fairly simple to read/navigate, and is daily updated. What do you think?

However, this MAN blog is quite enlightening so have a look at it if you get a chance.

To give you a brief biography, Green attended the University of Missouri, where he majored in journalism. Green regularly lectures about art, including at George Washington University, Detroit’s College for Creative Studies, the Maryland Institute College of Art, Virginia Commonwealth University, and at Artissima, in Turin, Italy. Green was the art critic for Bloomberg News from September, 2004 until September, 2005, and the Washington-based critic for Artnet Magazine from March, 2003, through August, 2004.

So, today for example, on the MAN blog they are discussing Yukinori Yanagi’s USA & USSR artwork.

This artist is a guy who uses ants (ok somehow unintentionally  I have found myself back at the art/animals area, involving ants, although that wasn’t deliberate I assure you) to move around coloured bits of sand, so disturbing the original sand pattern and creating a new ‘art’ form.  Crazy stuff eh, if you have not heard of him before…

a number of pet related news issues this week in Hong Kong….

First, there is a probe into an illegal dog slaughter house in Hong Kong. Some dogs, some knikes, and some bones, and other items were found this week in a flat near Tseung Kwan.

Also, pet food….. bit of a pandora’s box. Lots of unlabbelled pet food in Hong Kong from China etc, how much of it has melamine in? It has emerged that cyromazine, a derivative of melamine, is widely used in animal feed in China, so could it be in some of the Hong Kong pet food also? who knows. Best to stick to known brands which clearly identify their contents and say clearly where they are made, I say.

And on a lighter side, a couple of months ago (if you missed it in the news)…

A squeamish Hong Kong animal lover was rushed to hospital by ambulance after being bitten on the finger by his pet hamster. The 20-year-old rang 999 after the hamster nipped him on his finger at his home as he stroked him in the city’s Tin Shui Wai district at 3 am in the morning!

An ambulance was sent to take him to hospital where he was treated and later discharged after minor treatment, a police spokesman said.