August 14, 2012

Golden Trail

Golden Trail (12 x 18, dry pastel, info on my website)
click image for a larger view

Hello and Welcome,

Having just juried one art show and soon getting ready to jury entries for the Pastel Journal Pastel 100 competition, I've been doing a lot of thinking about what makes a good painting. Of course, over the years of learning to paint, we artist all consider these things practically daily! What I find extremely useful when jurying a show is being accountable for the choices I make. Writing critiques makes me think harder and longer about why I make the choices I do; not just for the work of others but also for my own work. 

There are lots of reasons artists enter competitions; exposure of work, prize money, building a resume, etc. I am not a competitive person but I do consistently try to find ways to push myself beyond my own comfort zone when it comes to my art. One way I have found that helps me improve, and work a little harder to get a little better, is to enter competitions. Lest you think I might get full of myself when I win an award, please take note that I have a folder full of rejection letters to keep me in line. It is my opinion that an artist who chooses to enter competitions needs to build up competition calluses. And, like calluses, the first ones are a little tougher to take than the later ones but eventually, you take them in stride.

Last year, a painting that won first place (for me) didn't make it into the finals the year before. I reviewed the painting, thought about the results, decided I was still quite pleased with the piece and felt it was strong in all aspects. I left it as it was and re-entered it. Jury results can be a useful tool but ultimately you are the one who is the best judge of your work.



  1. Truly a gorgeous piece, Sandy!!

  2. Very good post, Sandy. I really appreciate what you say that as a juror, you need to be accountable for your choices. In the juried shows I've entered, all local so far, I've always appreciated it when the judge (and/or juror, if they are the same) has given a talk about his or her choices for the placings and the criteria they used in their selections.

    Lucky you to be a juror - a fun but challenging job, and no doubt very valuable for you as well.

  3. That's quite an honor being chosen to be a juror for Pastel Journal's Top 100, congrats!

  4. This is SO beautiful! It really is a winner!
    And I agree that we should enter competitions as much as we can. I entered one last year but didn't get through. I entered a new one recently and have been shortlisted. I probably won't win, but to be shortlisted feels good. I don't think rejection should make us feel bad at all. I'd rather enter and be rejected than not enter at all and wonder! I never take rejection personally - I think it simply depends on the tastes of the judges on the day :0)

  5. Thank you, Hilda!

    Hi Sonya, thanks so much. It is humbling, to be sure!

    Dan, Thank you for the nice comment. I am honored, indeed.

    Hi Sandra, You've certainly got the right attitude for entering competitions and congratulations on being shortlisted!

  6. Wonderful and the deep richness of the color is terrific. Also, congrats on being a chosen juror, an honor for sure.

  7. Thanks so much, Mary!

  8. Lovely painting above and all your thoughts are so interesting to read. Love your artwork, and all you put into it.

  9. This is gorgeous Sandy!
    I like the almost hidden deer included also!
    I've just recently started my art so I'm pretty sure it will be a while before I enter any contests but good information to keep in mind for later :)