Monday, November 16, 2015

Last weekend my pastel painting "Garden Dance" won the Best of Show award at the Northwest Pastel Society Exhibition on Vashon Island WA. I didnt go to the opening because it is a long drive home on a dark and rainy night. I really had not considered that I would need to be there to accept an award.  I had no thought that I would win anything. I enter shows because it keeps me engaged with the art community "out there". I like seeing shows and how the juror chose the paintings and how the work looks hanging together in one place. I enjoy seeing my work combined in a show. Of course winning is great but I have learned not to think about that.

"Garden Dance"

Choosing paintings to enter in a juried show is an interesting process. I enter what I like, what I think is a successful painting. It is easy to get into trying to second guess what the juror will like and to send a painting based on that. I know people who paint for shows. That amazes me. I also don't believe in sending in a lot of images of painting hoping one will catch the jurors' eye. What matters most is what I think and feel about a piece.

Garden Dance is a special piece to me. It was one of the first abstract paintings that I did here. I painted it last spring after doing a little oil study of my back yard. I loved the winter colors and the oil study was just a lot of brush strokes and color. I used that as a study for Garden Dance. I liked it. I entered it in the big annual juried show here my little town. It is a regional show and there were a zillion entries. Garden Dance was rejected. I actually remember laughing and reminding myself that for me showing "locally" is much more difficult than showing nationally. I didnt take it personally because I have done this for so many years. It is challenging not to feel disappointed but it is just one persons' opinion of an image on a computer screen.

oil study for "Garden Dance"

Competitions become all about a lot of judgement. We love to make judgements about who won, who didnt win and who should have won. Art Receptions are full of it. There are a lot of people who just love to see the paintings and to learn from seeing a show and to think about why certain pieces got awards. A good juror will often explain her choices and thoughts on why she chose as she did. But the bottom line is that it is all subjective. Shows inspire people to make art or buy art or just to appreciate art.  The juror has an aesthetic like all of us. She likes certain colors and shapes and subject and styles. Who wins is actually one person's opinion on one day. I am so grateful for my award. In my mind the piece deserved recognition mainly because it felt authentic to me. I liked it and am pleased that other people can see what I wanted to say in the painting. But I also realize that I was fortunate. Does it make the painting a better painting because it won the top award? No, of course not. I had a good day. That is the truth. It was my day to win. And, yes, it feels really good! I am thrilled. The painting also was sold. Lets not forget how wonderful that is! No matter how many paintings I have sold in my life I remember that someone actually paid money to buy a piece to live with and to look at every day. That is very cool and makes me happy that I am sharing a piece of who I am.


  1. This is a beautiful work and it's so true about on any given day. Rejected once and the best of show the next time. I so agree with you about the work mattering to us first. Congratulations!

  2. Like the indigo pieces I saw in your studio, you capture movement so beautifully! Congratulations on both the nod of approval and the sale. So nice to meet you the other day!