Have you ever wondered how they judge the Archibald Prize?

Last Friday I delivered my large mixed media panorama piece to the Art Gallery of NSW for a competition. For some reason it is quite a nervous time for I’m sure all artists entering. It’s hard to be truly objective about your own work and at the end of the day the rational end’s up being “You’ve got to be in it, to even have the chance of being hung”. And wouldn’t that be an incredible thing.

20150625_154304sml At The Art Scene Framers

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The competition falls into three categories, the most well known being the Archibald Prize started in 1921. The Archibald Prize is awarded annually to the best portrait, ‘preferentially of some man or woman distinguished in art, letters, science or politics, painted by any artist resident in Australasia’. The other two prizes are the Wynne for landscape pictures and sculpture and the Sulman for subject or genre pictures.

Judging for the Archibald and Wynne Prizes is carried out by 11 trustees of the Art Gallery NSW. ”One by one the works are carried or wheeled in by the gallery’s installation crew to be viewed by the trustees, who decide by consensus if the work is ‘in’, ‘out’ or ‘maybe in’. It is estimated that each works has about 11 seconds to impress the panel, just because of the sheer volume of thousands of works entered. How difficult would that be? A single judge is invited to judge the Sulman Prize each year. There is also a prize called the Packing Room Prize awarded by the hardworking men and women in the basement of the gallery who receive the works from the artists over the week before deadline and also People’s Choice.                                                   Artists also have the chance of being chosen to hang in “The Salon des Refuses” which is held at the S.H. Erving Gallery on Observatory Hill in Sydney. From the S.H. Irving “The ‘alternative’ selection from hundreds of entries to the Archibald and Wynne Prizes. Each year our guest selectors go behind the scenes of the Art Gallery of New South Wales to select the exhibtion. The Salon has an excellent reputation and the criteria for works selected are quality, diversity, humour and experimentation and cover themes such as contemporary art practices, different approaches to portraiture and artist’s responses to the landscape.”  This exhibition goes on to travel to other Regional Art Galleries.                                                                                                                      Then – of course, there are many artists who travel back to the art gallery packing room to pick up their art babies to take them back home to the studio, trying not to feel too dejected. Better luck next time.                                                                                               I’ve been in that boat twice. So full of dreaming – dashed. Back to the shed or studio.

Because my subject of the moment is the trees around where I live, I entered the Wynne Prize. I’ll let you know what happens this time. 

******* It was the long drive back to the NSW Gallery and then back to the shed.

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Off we go

A couple of weeks ago I went to Sydney to deliver my work to The Art Scene for framing. Kim was so patient and extremely helpful when I went in to choose the mat board colour, the size the mat boards would be cut and then the frame. There are so many beautiful frames to choose from and it is quite a daunting task.

the art scene

Last week I was back to pick up the pictures – which now looked very different – and quite a bit larger now the mats and frames have been added. It was incredibly exciting to see the work and I am thrilled with the framing and the way my pictures look. Thank you, thank you Art Scene.

Yesterday I packed up the car and delivered the pieces to Humble House Gallery – after a quick inspection my by two resident art critics Coco and Domino Laurie. I think the felines approved, although I think they liked the corrugated cardboard packaging more.

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I left Roger and Weilian Carter to the daunting task of hanging the show and moving the beautiful furniture and ceramics which the gallery is famous for. When hanging an exhibition – there isn’t room for too many opinions about which picture goes where. Especially from the artist! Better to leave that to the experts.

The show opens tomorrow – the 20th May. So I’ll send you some pictures of the gallery after I visit. Until then – I wish these butterflies which are beginning to fly in my stomach would calm down.

Getting Ready for an Exhibition – Photographing Day

This week I was determined to get all the pictures for my exhibition at Humble House Gallery in Fyshwick, Canberra completed. And believe it or not I did. Scary! It’s a strange business being an artist working alone in your little box for most of the time. There comes a time when you have to let the world see what you’ve been up to in private. And the only way to do this is to let go of your work and put it up on the wall – in public. Yes. It’s pretty scary.

So what’s next now I’ve finished? Oh dear –  so many things. But today was photographing day – because next week all my work will be taken to the framer to choose mat boards and frames. SO – the dining room turned into a photographic studio for the day and Bill took over (with a little help from studio assistant AKA me).

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Bill with his camera, lights (hidden) and lap top ready to go.

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A miniature, pinned up straight and ready to strike a pose.

The exhibition begins on Wednesday 20th May, 2015. Humble House Gallery, 93 Wollongong Street, Fyshwick, ACT, Australia.

Please email me if you would like an email invitation or for more information. michaela.laurie1@gmail.com

A Visit to Shirley

I just love Australia’s Open Garden Scheme. When we lived in Sydney our cottage garden “Allways” was part of the scheme. When ever I visit another garden I remember just how much hard work and passion has gone into creating a week-end visit which visitors will enjoy. It is wonderful to meet the visitors and to see your garden full of enthusiastic gardeners lovers.

So on Saturday we got up early and travelled to Nimmitabel which is about one and half hours away from us, to visit “Shirley”. This house and garden is approximately 80 years old – so you know that there will be some beautiful large trees which will frame the garden space. I knew it would be a special garden. It has been in the same family for all those years. In 2006 the present owners, John and Sally-Ann Cottle approached garden designer Paul Bangay, http://www.paulbangay.com to help renovate the garden and to give them a master plan to gradually work through. The garden is expansive, very peaceful and incredibly beautiful and we came away with ideas for our garden here at “Wren’s Nest”. It was a lovely morning.

Here are some pictures of our visit.

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You can go and stay at “Shirley” in the original overseers cottage. http://www.shirleygardenretreat.com.au