Tuesday, April 22, 2014

What do judges look for?

My students often ask me what a judge looks for when they enter artwork into shows or to gain membership in an art organization.  After years of judging for both types of situations, I can pretty much break it down 2 ways for you.

1.  If trying to join a local Art Guild, the judge will look for: 
- Proficiency in the medium.
- Consistency in the body of work
- Framing choices (doesn't sound like it should matter, does it?  But it does.)

2.  If you're trying to enter a Competition, the judge looks for:
- Uniqueness & creativity (don't give them what they've seen a thousand times)
- Proficiency
- One more important thing:  judging for a show usually involves curating the show for well-roundedness.  A judge doesn't want to put in an over-abundance of the same type of scene, no matter how good they are.  That kind of brings us back to that "uniqueness" point.

"That's it?", you ask.  "What about all the technical stuff that we work so hard to master?"

The word PROFICIENCY covers all of that other stuff.  A judge could eliminate you if it's evident that you don't understand drawing, aerial perspective, and value (but they're also aware that sometimes we break rules on purpose if there's an advantage to doing so).  One more thing...if you're obviously "copying" a photo instead of "interpreting" your photo, you'll be judged accordingly.

Is it time to take a minute and glance over your current body of work?  What's on your drawing table now?  Something unique & creative?  I'm headed upstairs to my studio along with you...time to refocus, Helen!

"Petal Pattern" (watercolor 4" x 6") by Helen K. Beacham Fine Art
Available from the artist.


Come paint Montreal, Maine, and Charleston with me in 2014!  
In May 2015, we go back to Venice!!!  Find details HERE.