Artists Portfolio Review

Posted by Ivan Grieve on

Portfolio Review. The open call on the Artrepreneur website  was on the 8th September 2023 and provided the opportunity for winners to :“Calling all artists! We are excited to announce that our most recent Open Call is here, “Meet A Professor” offering a unique chance to connect with distinguished art school professors from across the United States.

These educators will serve as jurors, providing invaluable feedback and creating opportunities for aspiring artists, current students, and graduates to showcase their talent. Participating in this open call not only allows you to have your work evaluated by respected professors, a total of nine winners will have the opportunity to have a 30min one-one portfolio review.

We're thrilled to collaborate with Professors Melanie Vote, who serves as Adjunct Painting Faculty at the New York Academy of Art, and Matt Rota, an Illustration Faculty member at the School of Visual Arts. “

I had my portfolio review with Melanie Vote on the 4th October 2023. Melanie is a really interesting and personable New York Professor of art.

MV reviewed five of my works asking about the materials and techniques the feelings and connection with the subjects. Each insight that MV provided was objective and constructive.

(Top left to bottom right; Winter at Sharpham Marsh, Winter in Polaroid, Dartmoor to Yelverton, Summer Evening, Totnes, and A family Visit).

The range of the portfolio review covered five pieces of work that I selected for the open call. The pieces I selected varied in size, subject matter and materials used.The review was to look at these works as well as my areas of interest, the processes and materials used and expressions through the artworks created.

Technical advice included for example, the use of shellac for some works on paper including a discussion of how I might present some of the field sketches on paper to preserve them, or to show them more effectively or work into them in the studio. The suggestions from MV being very much food for thought and being given with a real feeling of encouragement.


The use of more specific terms rather than simply “site specific materials” MV felt would be more illuminating for any audience, be they viewer or someone wishing to understand more about my technique. It will be fascinating to learn and describe more about the found material the type of seaweeds or moss the soil type and paper and materials used. This has certainly got me thinking and researching the materials that I work with. At times when the soil is dry, some dew from a leaf or water from a bottle can allow the clay or loam to be used to draw with, or the pigment held in leaf mould.

MV mentioned and I must agree, that it is very special to have a specific day to go drawing after I had detailed my regular “walk and draw” sessions each week throughout the seasons whatever the weather. I do look forward to the time I dedicate to commune with the passing months, it is something of an honour in my view. I have in my bag some pencils, charcoal, pastels and liquid charcoal. I take an old cloth to wipe muddied fingers and  an old medicine bottle filled with water. The visual notes are made as quick and simple gestural marks on a selection of papers cut down about A5 or smaller to fit a large pocket.

From each trip there are memories and sensations that find their way into a sketch, a studio drawing or perhaps a later painting. The other week I was by a lake sketching in the Autumn sunshine, the sound of the October birdsong occasionally punctuated by the satisfying plunge of acorns falling into the still water. Feelings or memories I feel I put down on paper, parcel them up and bring them back to the studio to unwrap and gaze upon again.


The contrast between en plein air drawing and studio practice is delineated largely by the augmentation of materials. Back at the studio I have a small collection of found pigments and materials.

For example there are a small range of raw ochres and some rich Bideford Black. The excitement of reviewing the work that I have brought back to the studio from my walks never fades and always satisfies a longing to bring a piece of the outside world with me.

There is quite difference between an urban life versus rural life and yet as an artist I find interest and beauty in both. A trip to the city of Bristol, produced sketches and a small body of work that proved to be as saleable as the country cousins.

As with any conversation artists love to discuss the work of influencers and favourite artists, MV mentioned el Greco, Anselm Keiffer in respect of an element of moodiness in my work.

The discussion around artists who are new to me included Rackstraw-Downes at the Betty Cunningham Gallery,, and the work of Outsider Artist James Castle, whose work really appeals, perhaps also because of my voluntary work as an ambassador with the U. K. based charity Outside In The work of William Kentridge for me was a real eye opener and a new source of inspiration for future creativity

So thank you Artrepreneur and thank you Professor Vote.




artist callout creativity inclusion landscapes mood natural outside in pigments social media tips working practice

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