Category Archives: Jackson’s Art Supplies

Borrowed blog about being a life model

Jackson’s Art are an excellent online shop for art materials. Their site is the closest thing to an online sweet shop that I know. In addition they have a regular blog covering a variety of subjects of interest to artists.

This borrowed blog is about being a model. If it whets your appetite have a look at the autumn courses for 5 new life classes at Hampshire Art studio.

How many of you have stepped foot in a life drawing class? Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a life model? After years of interviewing artists for the Jackson’s Art Blog, I thought it was high time I interview one of London’s best life models. Dominic Blake has posed in most of the UK’s art colleges as well as in many of London’s major art galleries and museums. These include the Royal Academy, The National Gallery, The Courtauld Institute of Arts, The Wallace Collection and the Art Academy. Here’s our interview with Dominic Blake – an insight into life as an artist’s model.

Lisa Takahashi has been a contributor to the Jackson’s Art Blog for the past 7 years, writing artist interviews, and features on oil, watercolour and print. Alongside this she has worked as a painter and printmaker, exhibiting her work regularly at the Mall Galleries and the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. In 2018 she reached the semi-final of Sky Arts Landscape Artist of the Year.

Dominic Blake posing at the National Gallery in 2017 (photo by Karly Allen)

Lisa: How did you first get into life modelling?

Dominic Blake: I was always interested in figurative art. I fell in love with portraiture and sculpture when I was very young. Trips to London’s galleries and museums and my Great Uncle’s work as a portrait painter made a re impression on me.

I later built a career as an Administrator and Press Office Assistant at the V&A, British Museum and Royal Museums Greenwich. These roles placed me in close proximity to some of my favourite works of art, including Rodin’s, Giambologna’s and the Parthenon sculptures.

Although I didn’t have any plans to become a Life Model, I longed to find work that was meaningful. I wanted to find work where I could express myself creatively and also offer inspiration for other people to produce works of art.

About three years ago a friend asked me to pose nude for a painting she hoped to make. I initially rejected the idea, telling her that she was crazy. When I finally decided to work with her my life profoundly changed; I discovered a way of being that possessed great emotional meaning, through which results were tangible and immediate (in the form of drawings, paintings or sculptures).

I learnt quickly that I was quite flexible and could create complex and dynamic gestural poses that were interesting to draw and fun to improvise. And I realised I could sustain them for extended periods of time.

At a point pretty early on in my journey as a Life Model, I realised I loved my work with all my heart. I decided to dedicate my life to it. I now work with almost all art colleges and many galleries, museums and Life Drawing groups in London and beyond.

In the Life Room at The Royal Academy (photo by Mary Ealden)

Lisa: Do you study a lot of paintings to get inspiration for your poses? If so are there any painters out there who are the greatest source of inspiration?

Dominic Blake: My inspiration for poses is filtered through myriad sources including, but not restricted to, painting. I take inspiration from all forms of figurative and abstract art. There’s inspiration to be found in the urban and natural world too: the buildings I walk past on my way to studios, music, literature, the branches in the trees. Pretty much anything can inspire a pose!

If I am booked to undertake classical poses within an atelier, I will usually think about the work of Michelangelo, Da Vinci or of Ancient Greek and Roman sculpture. However, where my poses are influenced by painting it tends to be the colours and geometric forms that excite me. Kandinsky’s work makes me think of complex and dynamic, often strange and beautiful poses that are interesting to draw.

Beyond painting, I am influenced directly by the energy of the studio itself. Studios are charged with an infinitely positive creative energy, limited only by the imaginations of those people who inhabit them.

Finally, I am constantly inspired by some of the other truly incredible Life Models working in London and beyond.

Two minute pose inspired by Kandinsky’s Composition VIII, at Hampstead School of Art 2017 (Photo by Derek Ogbourne)

Lisa: What makes a good pose?

In essence, a good pose is one that is interesting to draw. It needs to make sense within the context of the class, session or artist’s studio you are working within. However, that probably means as many things to as many different people out there drawing from life! So there are certain rules that I think about when creating a pose:

Ideally, a pose will take into consideration negative spaces, light and shade, and twists that accentuate the body’s musculature structure. More often than not artists in classes will be arranged in a either a 180 or 360 degree circle around the life model. So it’s very important to consider how a pose would look in the round, from every viewing position.

I most enjoy improvising short, dynamic gestural poses. Moving organically from one pose to the next, with each pose influencing the one that follows it, and never knowing quite where you will end up can be really exciting.

A room of Dominics!

Lisa: Are you ever surprised by the work that is made in response to your modelling? If so what’s been the biggest surprise?

Dominic: I’m often pleasantly surprised by the work made in response to my modelling. There are as many different approaches to drawing from Life as there people out there! Since no two drawings, paintings or sculptures will ever look the same, I find the way people interpret me endlessly fascinating. Wandering around an art class viewing students’ work is one of the greatest pleasures I know as a Life Model.

Knowing that I am inspiring artists to create works of art is an amazing feeling. I feel that my work is symbiotic in nature; I engage in a creative and collaborative exchange with the artists who draw, sculpt and paint me every day.

Posing in front of Caravaggio’s ‘Salome with the Head of John the Baptist’ at The National Gallery, 2017 (photo by Karly Allen)

Lisa: Where has been the most enjoyable place to pose as a life model?

Dominic: I am fortunate enough to have Life Modelled in some incredible places. I’ve modelled in front of a Caravaggio at The National Gallery as well as next to some of Henry Moore’s sculptures at The Courtauld Institute.

My favourite place to pose, however, will always remain the Life Room at the Royal Academy.

The RA’s historic Life Room dates back over 250 years. Constable, Reynolds, Stubbs and Turner all sat at the benches there. The seats are arranged on three levels in concentric semi-circular arcs, surrounded by original study objects on shelves including busts, statues and even a flayed horse.

The Life Drawing workshops and courses are delivered at the Royal Academy via the Academic Programmes department. I’ve worked within courses focusing on Anatomy, Historical Approaches to Life Drawing and Digital Drawing, among others. Mary Ealden, the RA’s Academic Programmes Manager, curates all the RA’s Life Drawing events. She has an enviable reputation within the London art community for delivering visionary and exciting journeys through drawing.

There is something magical about the RA’s Life Room; every time I work within it I feel that I’m contributing in some small way to the space’s cultural memory and history.

I also love working within the studios at The Art Academy, Hampstead School of Art (HSOA) and Putney School of Art and Design (PSAD). The Art Academy is an inspiring place to Life Model. I have worked there within courses led by artists including Tai Shan Shierenberg, Robin Lee Hall (RP), David Caldwell (RP), Andrew James (RP), Susanne Du Toit and many other artists.

There are countless amazing Life Drawing groups in London; I really enjoy working within figurative artist Dan Whiteson’s epic ‘Freeform Life Drawing’ classes. Also the events staged by Art Macabre, ‘Drawing the Star’, run by Catherine Hall and the Hesketh Hubbard Society at the Mall Galleries’.

At the famous Life Room at The Royal Academy of Arts

At the famous Life Room at The Royal Academy of Arts

Lisa: Why do you think drawing and painting from life models continues to be so important to artists?

Dominic: I can’t think of another subject as endlessly complex, fascinating and interesting to draw than the human form. I think artists will always seek to draw from life in order to hone their observational drawing skills.

Drawing from life is a uniquely human experience. Beyond the form itself, which is of course of central importance, it’s also interesting to appreciate that Life Models are emotional beings. At their best a Life Class can explore the human condition as much as the human form. There is no other more intimate and beautiful artistic context than the Life Class.

‘Caroline Wong’s blind contour drawing of me through which she channeled the energy of Frank Auerbach. This work emerged within a class at The Art Academy in 2018’

Lisa: You must have listened to so many life drawing lessons! What’s the best advice you’ve heard given in an art class?

Dominic: The best advice I have heard in an art class is ‘… Let go of your preconceived notions of what a hand, foot, arm, look like. Draw shape, not subject’. It’s often too easy to draw what we ‘think’ we are looking at, rather than the thing itself. You think you know what a hand looks like. But you don’t really, unless you really, really look!

Seven minute pose at Village Underground, Shoreditch, 2017 within Dan Whiteson’s Freeform Life Drawing session (Photo by Didier Cuzzolin)

Lisa: For anyone considering trying out life modelling, what advice would you give?

Dominic: Life Modelling is the most rewarding career imaginable.. You will work with interesting people and be able to challenge yourself creatively every day. However, I think there are some important points to consider before you start Life Modelling.

You should actively want to learn your craft, which could become a lifelong process. In that way think its really useful to attend a life drawing classes as an artist, to experience things from the other side of the easel. By doing that, you can quickly find out what kinds of poses artists enjoy sketching, and also you might spot ways that you can improve as a model.

Life Modelling is also physically very demanding, so I would also recommend models take up yoga, or learn some good stretching exercises. These are useful before, during and after sessions, to minimise chances of injury.

Finally, don’t give up, and enjoy your journey!

‘One of my favourite interpretations of one of my poses, by figurative artist Dan Whiteson’

Lisa: What plans do you have coming up?

Dominic: I will continue Life Modelling in many of London’s art colleges, galleries and museums throughout the year. Fortunately 2018 has been great so far –  in April I worked in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Paris. In June I was really lucky to have the opportunity to work with Maggi Hambling at Morley College.

Dominic Blake by Gina Tawn. Gina is a student of Sam Dalby’s

Lisa: If people want to find out more about your work or how to book you, how should they contact you?

Dominic: If you want to learn more about my work, or contact me, you can check out my website and Instagram. These present portfolios of my work to date as a Life and Portrait Model.

You can also find me in the recently published ‘From Life’ book, accompanying the Royal Academy’s exhibition of the same name, as well as in the ‘A Little History of The Royal Academy‘ book.

‘This painting is by Royal Society of Portrait Painters artist Sam Dalby (RP) for demonstration purposes for his students. He painted it really quickly, which kind of blew everyone away… I spent the weekend working with him in his beautiful home and studio in Settle, North Yorkshire, a couple of weeks ago’

Christmas List, not really an advent calendar, and it does have chocolate.

This is an Advent Calendar with all the doors open…but no chocolate

What do you buy for the artist in your life?  Have a look through these ideas.  They mostly have links directly to suppliers.  Obviously courses with ARTDRAWPAINT will be at the top of all lists!!!

This is OBVIOUSLY too long a blog. Sorry about that.  Persevere – there are loads of good things in here.

Some suppliers have special Black Friday deals.

1st Day of Christmas

Sketchbooks are where it all starts. A5 fits into a large pocket, or handbag. Or simply stroke it, and sniff it.


Sketchbook - A5 300gsm HPA smooth (Hot Pressed) medium weight paper (300gsm) in A5 size with 34 pages, bound with black boards and a green linen spine.


A5 x34pp  300gsm Smooth   £20.00

Quill – Cut & Hardened.

I’d love to try these.  quillQuill - Cut & Hardened


These goose and peafowl feathers have been cooked in sand and hardened. They are ready for use as a traditional writing and drawing pen.




2nd Day of Christmas

Dickies Decorators Bib And Brace Workwear

Premier Jeans Stitch Denim Bib Apron
Premier PR126 Aprons & Tabard Black Denim
 …they will embroider your logo on if you want, or “Happy Christmas”, or “Art is the lie that enables us to realize the truth.” – Picasso
Product Code: PR126


3rd Day of Christmas

Tickets to see Klimt and Schiele at the Royal Academy, London

Egon_Schiele self portrait

Klimt / Schiele

Drawings from the Albertina Museum, Vienna

4 November 2018 — 3 February 2019

Daily 10am – 6pm
Friday 10am – 10pm

The Sackler Wing of Galleries, Burlington House, Royal Academy of Arts

£18 (without donation £16). Concessions available. Under-16s go free with a fee-paying adult. Free for Friends of the RA. To ensure the best possible experience, Friends are required to book a free timed ticket for both themselves and their guest.

Book now

See rare and fragile drawings by Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele, offering intimate insights into their artistic relationship and differing creative processes. This extraordinary collaboration with the Albertina Museum in Vienna marks the centenary of both artists’ deaths.

jacket, Klimt Schiele Drawings

Klimt Schiele Drawings From the Albertina Museum, Vienna

Marian Bisanz-Prakken (author), Elizabeth Clegg (author), Jane Kallir (author)

Hardback (24 Oct 2018) | English

Save £3.50

  • £30.00
  • £26.50

order from Blackwells

FREE UK Delivery

10+ copies available online – Usually dispatched within 24 hours

4th Day of Christmas

Build Your Own Life-Size Skeleton

skeleton va image003 44638

Build Your Own Life-Size Skeleton

A model of the human skeleton made entirely of foldable cardboard

From the medical student and biology enthusiast to the graphic designer and artist: this life-size model gives everyone access to an age-old classic of scientific illustration. Simply fold the precut pieces (no need for scissors or glue!) to build this human skeleton, complete with anatomical labels in English and Latin, bendable joints, accessories, and detailed step-by-step instructions.
Ready-cut cardboard kit, with instructions and accessories, 50.5 x 65 cm.

5th Day of Christmas

Essdee : Lino Cutting Printmaking Set : 22 pieceI enjoy making prints with lino.  This seems like a good introductory se


I tend to use speedball rubber rather than lino….but they don’t have a photo of their sets on Jackson’s website.

If relief printing is something you enjoy then the best tools are these are to drool over. pfeil tools from Jacksons    These tools are a joy to use, balanced in the hand and last for ever.

This is a special promotion price.Palm carving tools set of 12

Grab some Graphite

Graphite is a fabulous drawing material. The Caran d’ache box is definately at the top end of the market. I use a number of Artgraf materials. These two suggestions may be more stocking sized…


Caran D'ache Graphite Line Satin Gift Box Black Set

Caran D'ache Graphite Line Satin Gift Box Black Set
This Caran D’ache Graphite Line Satin Gift Box Black Set is a comprehensive collection of graphite products of many shades and grades including graphite cubes, double hole sharpener, eraser and blender , beautifully presented satin gift box.
Special Price £207.00  carat d’arche box
Price £18.30

The extra large handmade Viarco ArtGraf Watersoluble Graphite Stick is great for use with large scale artworks or projects. It is formulated to be water-soluble to create interesting washes and effects when drawing however it can also be used as dry as a regular graphite stick.

Each stick comes in its own material pouch with a cord fastening.

Weight: 250g

Width of graphite stick: 4.5cm

Length of graphite stick: 17cm

Depth of graphite stick: 2.5cm

graphite chunk


Watersoluble Blocks in Earth Tones

Inspired by traditional tailor’s chalk, ArtGraf Tailor Shape is a rich, water-soluble block of pigment. It is extremely soft and provides artists with a wide range of shades depending on the amount of water used, from light, transparent tones to deep, rich, opaque colours.


7th Day of Christmas

Noble Art Supplies in Salisbury are local stockists.  This is an excellent art shop with helpful owner.

8th Day of Christmas


Sketchbooks are great, portable, contained…all sorts of things, but I love a pile of cheap paper that I don’t get precious about.  I get big packs of A2 and A1 paper from Art Discount on a regular basis.  Anyone who has been to a class with me will have used their paper.  No photo….not really necessary.

9th Day of Christmas

I think this is totally brilliant.

I have one (obv) and use it all over the place.  You can go to many museums, galleries and places of interest with a discount on entry, or free. It comes with a useful map of all  places that accept the card.

If I didn’t already have this card I would want it.

National Art Pass

From Cardiff Castle and Kensington Palace to the V&A and Tate Modern – the National Art Pass gives free entry to over 240 museums, galleries and historic houses across the UK as well as 50% off entry to major exhibitions.

10th Day of Christmas

These are ALWAYS in every art list I make. The Koh-i-noor Anilinky Brilliant Watercolours Set of 12 is suitable for graphic techniques with it’s high colour density. Also very cheap.

Koh-i-noor Anilinky Brilliant Watercolours Set of 12

I use them with these Bic Plastidecor crayons for a wax resist effect.Bic crayons


I find the cheaper the crayon the higher the wax content.  More expensive oil pastels are not better on this occasion.


11th Day of Christmas

The clutch pencil is a delight to use and practical.  A small box will hold a mix of charcoal, graphite and chalks, all to fit in these holders.  I have more than one.

12th Day of Christmas

How do you  get your work home from a class? Do you get paint on your car/coat/best jumper/dog? Does your picture fall on the floor? Do your paint and brushes fall onto a wet picture as you take a corner … possibly, maybe, faster than you should?

A2SXX Open Painting3 L olmc

This case seems like a very clever idea.  It won’t be strong enough for an airplane but would make the journey home much less fraught.

13th Day of Christmas

How about a Drawing Week with art draw paint?


14th Day of Christmas

Biscuits…obv. Coffee and biscuits are a vital part of any creative process.

Waitrose Christmas All Butter Shortbread Tin500g

Waitrose Christmas All Butter Shortbread Tin
all butter shortbread

15th Day of Christmas

A weekend in Malagafullsizeoutput_d18

In October we had a painting week at Casa Rosa in Andalucia. On the Wednesday we had a guided tour around the Picasso Museum in Malaga.

The thing we didn’t have time to do was a really good mooch around the town.  There is clearly lots to see and do, AND it is only a brief flight from Southampton.

Or come to Casa Rosa in the Spring Spring in Spain

16th Day of Christmas

I am looking forward to a number of exhibitions next year…this is certainly one of the highlights.Another case of tickets and catalogue.



23 January – 6 May 2019

£18 / FREE for Members

Concession £17

Pierre Bonnard, ‘Nude in the Bath’ 1925

Rediscover this master of colour and composition at Tate Modern

This is the first major exhibition of Pierre Bonnard’s work in the UK since the much-loved show at Tate 20 years ago. It will allow new generations to discover Bonnard’s unconventional use of colour, while surprising those who think they already know him.

Born 1867, Bonnard was, with Henri Matisse, one of the greatest colourists of the early 20th century. He preferred to work from memory, imaginatively capturing the spirit of a moment and expressing it through his unique handling of colour and innovative sense of composition.

The exhibition concentrates on Bonnard’s work from 1912, when colour became a dominant concern, until his death in 1947. It presents landscapes and intimate domestic scenes which capture moments in time – where someone has just left the room, a meal has just finished, a moment lost in the view from the window, or a stolen look at a partner.

Book tickets

Organised by Tate Modern in collaboration with Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen and Kunstforum Wien.

17th Day of Christmas

Tombow : Mono Zero Eraser Pen : Round Tip : Black Barrel


18th Day of Christmas

I went to see this exhibition, loved it, but failed to buy the catalogue. What was I thinking of?

Cy Twombly and Nicolas Poussin: Arcadian Painters Hardcover – 15 Jun 2011

In 1624 and 1957 two artists, aged thirty, moved to Rome. Nicolas Poussin and Cy Twombly subsequently spent the majority of their lives in the Eternal City, and went on to become the preeminent painters of their day. This book looks at these two figures side by side for the first time, examining how the two painters, separated by three centuries, nonetheless engaged with shared interests and concerns.

19th Day of Christmas

Vitamin D2: New Perspectives in Drawing Hardcover

 20 May 2013

An up-to-the-minute survey of contemporary drawing featuring 115 artists from around the world, Vitamin D2 allows the reader to look at the medium in detail and study drawing’s unique properties in relation to itself, to contemporary art and to the world at large.

I have a copy of this (5 years old so up-to-the-minute-ish).  It is part of a series of  either drawing or painting books showcasing contemporary practise. Always interesting.

I haven’t got a supplier but they are around.

20th Day of Christmas

In preparation for the National Gallery’s exhibition – Sorolla: Spanish Master of Light (18 March – 7 July 2019)

Sorolla the Masterworks

A new survey of the best works by the elusive and spectacular Spanish Impressionist Joaquín Sorolla. Often compared to his contemporary, the American artist John Singer Sargent, Joaquín Sorolla (1863 1923) was a master draftsman and painter of landscapes, formal portraits, and monumental, historically themed canvases.

Joaquin-Sorolla-spanish-impressionist-Strolling along the Seashore 1909Highly influenced by French Impressionism, the Valencian artist was a master plein-air painter known for his luminous seaside scenes of frolicking youths and for vivid depictions of Spanish rural life and its pleasures and customs. This beautifully designed and produced volume brings together one hundred of Sorolla s major paintings, selected by his great-granddaughter Blanca Pons-Sorolla, the foremost authority on the artist. Benefiting from close proximity to the artist and his personal archives, she presents an in-depth essay that explores Sorolla s life, work, and remarkable international legacy. With virtually all of the artist s previous publications now out of print, this much-anticipated volume is an important addition to the literature on this great Spanish master.

Sorolla Masterworks

21st Day of Christmas

Surely it is impossible to have too many brushes?  No photo.  Just give me BIG hog hair brushes.

Price £12.90

Made of hog bristle, this brush is traditionally used in oil painting. The white Chinese bristle from Chungking is of the highest quality. Its natural hardness responds perfectly to more or less dense oil painting technique and acrylic.

Ferrule Diameter: 62.6mm Brush Head Length: 7.8mm

22nd Day of Christmas

I love to use Charcoal. It is quick, responsive, subtle, surprising.. If you are giving it as a present I would suggest the largest pieces you can find.  BBQ charcoal can be interesting (make sure it isnt impregnated with starter fluid). Compressed charcoal is dark and interesting, and charcoal pencils have their place.

I hope to be able to provide EXCELLENT charcoal before too long…still at the development stage at the moment.



Charcoal is most often used for quickly sketching and is especially suitable for life drawing sessions. It is chosen by so many artists because of the immediate response to the artists hand where the marks can be very bold and heavy or can be blended into soft and subtle shading. Willow charcoal breaks easily, especially the thinner sizes. But that’s okay as you will usually want to break the sticks into smaller pieces when you start drawing, as they will be easier to use.

Charcoal Pencils

Charcoal pencils are the perfect tool for an artist who desires the traditional effect of a charcoal stick without the associated messy dust. Charcoal pencils are charcoal leads encased in a layer of wood which not only protects the charcoal from snapping, but also guards the fingers from charcoal marks.

And for something slightly different…   Artgraf do a variety of interesting drawing materials. Seek them out.



Price £4.90


23rd Day of Christmas

Destination Art: 500 Artworks Worth the Trip Flexibound – 5 Oct 2018

I haven’t seen this book yet, but I like the idea.  I may be found on Boxing Day, in a quiet corner, dreaming of holidays to come…

A global guide to the 500 works of permanently installed modern and contemporary art worth traveling to experience

Enjoy a world tour from the comfort of your reading chair or plan a detailed and engaging art itinerary for your next trip with Destination Art, the essential guide to 500 must-see examples of permanently installed art from the last 100 years. With the book’s geographical organization and logistical details – including GPS coordinates, addresses, websites, and symbols indicating the degree of possible access, travel planning is made easy.

Discover hidden gems in big cities, explore art in nature, and trek to remote locales for one-of-a-kind experiences of art in unique locations. The artists featured in this global selection are among the world’s best and most beloved from the past century, including Marina Abramović, Alexander Calder, Jenny Holzer, Yayoi Kusama, Henri Matisse, Henry Moore, Richard Serra, and many more.

Highlighting the best and most significant of public art in city centers, sculpture parks, site-specific installations in museums, memorials designed by contemporary artists, works of land art, and much more, Destination Art is an informative and enjoyable overview of the most significant and travel-worthy art around the globe.

From the publisher of Destination Architecture.

24th Day of Christmas

The Fortnum’s Christmas Box

Catalogue code: 2201911
This Fortnum’s Christmas Box encapsulates the spirit of a childhood Christmas. Amongst the array of sweet treats you’ll find magical biscuits and seriously delicious chocolate in all shapes and sizes. Open up this box of merry enjoyment!


All I want for Christmas…Advent Calendar of Essentials (!)

Advent calendars covered with glitter, or rattling with chocolates, are almost the best bit of Christmas. The tantalising countdown to the day itself raises expectations to a ridiculous degree.

My calendar is a shortish list of all sorts of mostly arty things that would be very nice to have in a stocking, under a tree, wrapped with a bow, sealed with a kiss.




I went to this wonderful exhibition a couple of weeks ago – well worth a visit. I normally buy a catalogue but I was a bit pushed for time…

Cézanne Portraits at National Portrait Gallery

This major international exhibition brings together for the first time over fifty of Cézanne’s portraits from collections across the world, including works which have never been on public display in the UK.

Over a working life of some forty-five years, Cézanne made almost 1,000 paintings of which around 160 are portraits. The exhibition  considers the extent to which particular sitters shaped the development of his practise.

Number one

TWO  Number Two

017450300000 analinky

These are a product I use all the time – I get through endless sets.  What I REALLY want for Christmas is for Koh I Noor to make these with big pans of colour so I can use a bigger brush.


Number Three

The Art Fund

As a child I thought book tokens were a bit of a cop out – a lazy present turning good money into less good money; membership to the Art Fund is the very opposite. This allows the member to have access free, or at reduced rates to galleries all over the country AND the Art fund supports artists and museums.

For over 110 years they have supported museums and galleries, and helped them to buy and display great works of art for everyone to enjoy.

The Art Fund helps museums and galleries in a number of ways:

  • Providing museums and curators with funding for: acquisitions; training and development; and the display of art through tours and exhibitions.
  • Running public appeals when a particular work of art is under threat; for example, in 2014 we ran a successful campaign to save one of the most important industrial archives in the world, the Wedgwood Collection, which documents the evolution of ceramics design over 250 years. Recently we also led a successful appeal with the National Portrait Gallery to save Van Dyck’s final self-portrait for the nation. In recent years we have run several major appeals, raising £45m to save works of art or collections.
  • Promoting hundreds of UK museums and galleries through the National Art Pass, the Art Guide app and more.


ERF5001940 encaustic

Number Four

I love to try new things – who doesn’t? I use wax crayons and wax resist techniques all the time so this encaustic beginners set seems to be the logical next step.





p-jasshiro brushes


Number Five
Just can’t have too many…






Number Sixapron

A good apron is hard to find.  Some people turn up to classes in full body overalls – not a bad idea.  I rather like this, less drastic option.







Number Seven

No list is complete without chocolate.

I don’t know anyone else who likes these so it looks like I get the whole box to myself.


Number Eight

This is TOTALLY ridiculous as half the pleasure of painting is choosing the materials…BUT… it is a very tasty set of delicious paints.

Old holland


Number Nine

These two Van Gogh paintings of blossom, together with Bonnard’s painting of an Almond Tree, make me yearn for a show of spring flowers.


Number Ten

Lino printing is occasionally forgotten…dismissed as a school pleasure and rather junior. Now is the time to revisit relief printing. Speedy Carve have a  rubbery material that is very easy to use. Lawrence Printmakers have everything you need for any sort of printing; their beginners kit will use high quality materials. Pfeil tools are the BEST.

I forgot to mention cashmere bed socks.  Get the best you can afford and have a warm and Happy Christmas.

Totally stolen blog..

Art Competitions

They are everywhere. You don’t have to enter any of them, indeed some are quite expensive to enter, but the competition criteria are often interesting, the prizes vary and the winners are well worth a look. You can catch an overview of what is going on in the art world and be inspired.

The piece below is a list I have ‘stolen’ – my apologies to idesigni art-competitions.  It has many international competitions and some home grown. Art suppliers often hold mini competitions (Jackson’s for example Jackson’s)



Art competitions can present potentially massive opportunities for artists worldwide, offering wide exposure and substantial cash prizes…

But how do you know which ones you should be entering?

There are many colossal lists and indexes of art contests and awards available online – if you’re willing to go trawling the web!

To save you that trouble, we’ve handpicked some of the very best art competitions around, and detailed the rewards up for grabs in each:

idesigni art-competitions