Sunday, March 31, 2013

How I Judge Show Winners

I was recently honored to be judging the Mt. Pleasant Artists Guild for their annual show.  I always take such a role very seriously, because I distinctly remember being a "young" artist, submitting my own work for someone else to judge.  

What were they looking for?  How would I compare?  Would I make it?  

I've learned that nothing is certain.  I've learned that a lot depends on the judge, and more depends on me (as the artist) and the stage I'm at with my own art.  I've learned that entering a show is half the challenge (of getting recognized) and sometimes it's more than half.  Just putting yourself out there is the first step.

I saw much that intrigued me at last week's show.  Here's the winner, and then I'll follow up below with my thought process and observations on judging a show.

Oil painting by Faye Sullivan (I'm sorry I don't know the title)  - 1st Place at Mt. Pleasant Artists Guild
Awarded by Helen K. Beacham
Steps I go through when I judge a show:
1.  I ask for artists' names to be covered up before I walk the show, so that everything's anonymous.  Especially because this is a local show and I know many of the artists in this guild.2.  I then walk through it, just inhaling all that's been presented to me.  I walk it a second or third time, and I start to hone in on those that speak the loudest.3.  I study each one of those more closely:  design, composition, color scheme, idea (or subject), and technical skills are taken into consideration.
4.  I don't rule out subjects just because they've been done before.  If it's a marsh scene, is it done in a unique way this time, and does it merit a fresh visit from the viewer?
5.  I try to include a good cross-section of styles and techniques, but I won't do that unless the paintings and/or photography actually merit being included.
6.  The top prize should ideally encompass all of the above criteria.
7.  I then review how many prizes the guild is allowing me to award, and make my final selections.


     My congratulations go to Faye Sullivan for taking 1st Place!  Her glowing wave seemed ready to envelope me in a warm bath, which I was evidently eager for.

Come with Helen K. Beacham and Kelly Medford to paint Venice this October...
click HERE for details!