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Baring Your Soul – Better Known As “Call To Artists”

June 10, 2011

It was in mid March when I had to make the decision of whether or not to get back into entering  juried art shows.  There was a time when I entered these types of shows as a kind of ‘proof of life’….was my life as an artist valued by others?  I no longer feel that need but rather have decided to jump back into the practise of  entering shows from a purely business stand point.  Clients/supporters and prospective galleries like to see commitment,  perseverance and yes, accolades.

My past recollection was that choosing your entries is not unlike the proverbial crap shoot…what one juror may love, another may not.  It is also my recollection that jurors will be looking for the following:

1.  A good working knowledge of design principles.

2.  Consistency in quality of workmanship.

3.  Overall expertise in the medium chosen.

4.  A good understanding of value (the use of lights and darks)  and the     effective use thereof.

5.  Good drawing ability doesn’t hurt.

An interesting subject that has somewhat of a magical quality goes a long way as well.

With all of this in mind I proceeded to pole family, friends and students to get their opinions on which pieces to enter.  I mulled over the options and finally decided on two paintings that were the obvious favourites and the final entry was my gut/heart talking.  I filled out the required paperwork, sent it in with my fees and set that project aside.  Remember this was March.

The end of May rolled around and I realized that paintings had to be in for viewing by the jury in a couple of weeks….oh, oh, one of the paintings was not even framed yet!  I took the painting to my very talented framer and she did, as always, a masterful, rushed job for me.  Next stop, the submission line-up.

Most shows are now juried via email and jpg. submissions.  This line-up revealed the value in that approach.  Anxiety filled the air.  There were far too many stern faces.  As we filed in, our pieces were given a number and our personal information was checked and re-checked.  It was all very quiet, very somber in fact.  ‘People are far too serious about this process’, I thought.  As I handed in my paintings, I remember thinking “what will be, will be” and then I left.  We were to return two days later to pick up those paintings that had been rejected (this is the term that is actually used!).

Two days later I return.  There is another line-up, more serious faces.  I watch as time and time again artist’s work is rejected.  I see the disappointment on their faces.  I am feeling bad for the whole lot of them.  It is my turn to receive the news….”one of your paintings has been accepted, the others you can pick up over there” the lady tells me.  Did I feel joy….no.  Was I reminded of why I had given up this habit in the past….yes.

While on the way home I considered the jury process.  I came to realize that it is a necessary evil.  Standards are important and people must learn detachment from outcome.  ‘Nice and easy for me to say, as one of my paintings has been accepted into the show’, I thought.

Guess which painting was accepted….my gut/heart talking piece….go figure.

Leaving the Scene - oil on panel - 9" x 12"

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