Monday, February 09, 2009

Sketchbook Entry & Juried Show Musings

About this Sketch: Based on a painting by Christopher Pearse Cranch, Rome, 1847, oil on paper. While I love sketching from life I also enjoy interpreting paintings from master artists as sketches. This was completed using graphitint pencils with the addition of brush and water to create some washes, in a Raffine sketchbook. These quick little sketches are loose and fresh capturing the feel of the original not necessarily every detail. I've had the pleasure of viewing the original painting at the Lyman Allyn Art Museum last year and it is such a lovely piece, very charming and captivating for such a small study the original is just 8 1/2 x 15 3/8 in.

Juried Shows Friend or Foe?

Since I'm waiting to hear if either of my paintings make the cut and are juried into the Slater Museum Connecticut Artist Exhibition I thought I'd share this article, The Jury Game, written by Keith Bond and featured on Clint Watson's blog Fine Art Views.

Juried shows are such a bugaboo for most artists. Great when you get in, even better when you win a prize but potentially devestating when you don't get in , especially when you go to the show and see what did get in and won the grand prize (OMG #%^%$#!! is what you might find yourself thinking or even saying !)

Some of my personal pet peeves are organizations that use the term rejected, rather than declined, non-selected or some other less provacative term on their entry forms. Granted it all means the same thing but it really stings to open that stamped self addressed envelope and pull out the entry form you so recently filled out while brimming over with hope and whispering prayers, (and handing over your entry fee) only to see the rejected box checked and to know that your hopes are dashed and your money wasted.

Second on my list, and this is closely related to the first, is when you dutifully trot back to the show location a week, perhaps less, later to pick up your non-selected paintings only to have the person on duty loudly proclaim to you that your rejected work is down the stairs and to the left in the basement.

While my bruised ego may heal in a few weeks my third concern, bruised frames, does not. I have seen paintings (my own included)that didn't make it into the show crammed, stacked, stuffed, tossed, pushed and jammed into spaces not nearly big enough to hold them all, placed frame face against the hardware on the back of the neighboring painting, in rooms that are damp, poorly lit, filled with cobwebs and the paintings stacked in rough hewn storage crates made from unfinished 2x4's and large screws. It's literally a nightmare scenario. Frames (often)and sometimes even the paintings themselves are damaged.

(and yes, we all sign the waiver on the entry form that tells us that while xyz organization will make every effort to handle your paintings carefully, they are not responsible for any damage that may occur)

Not only are you feeling badly because of the rejection, but the carelessness and disrespect with which your declined paintings are treated is enough to make you cry for heaven's sake.

In my own local area there are two arts organizations which I no longer enter paintings into because the storage areas for the non-selected works are positively horrid.

So why do we do it? Why do we continually subject our sensitive natures and labors of love to such indignities?

I guess the joy of being accepted, the opportunity for well deserved recognition and the honor of an award means a lot to us creative folks. So much so that we're willing to risk quite a bit for those successes.

What do you think? Share your thought in the comments section.


Nancy and the fatties said...

Jan, I saw Keith's article yesterday, too. Your work is amazing, I suspect if it was not selected, it has much to do with the jurors looking for a different format. I'm just beginning to try to enter juried formats, so am getting very used to the rejection notices! I take a lot of comfort from other artists here in the blogs who are so supportive and positive with each other. I wish you best of luck with your next batch of show entries! thank you for sharing your beautiful art.

Jan Blencowe said...

Hi Nancy,

The community of bogging artists is amazing. I learn so much from so many different artists, and I'm always grateful for their willingness to be open and share their experiences.

Juried shows certainly have their place in an artists life, but it's really helpful to develop a thick skin, and a group of trusted mentors/supporters to reaffirm your work when you get a rejection notice.

We really need to remember to keep each show in perspective, one judge, on one day, in one venue. That same painting may go on to win best in show somewhere else.

Keep believing in youself and your work!

Mirabelle said...

Well, Jan if you didn't have your painting 'accepted' into the show at the Slater Museum, you are in good company. I picked up my two pieces yesterday, both have been accepted into multiple shows and have also won awards. I noticed that some other highly respected artist's work was in the pick up area. The artist that won first prize last year and who's work is on the card announcing this years show, for one. I was not able to preview the show (drat) it's always interesting to see what DID get accepted.

I hope more shows go to digital entries (email preferably) so that we don't have to go thru the expense of framing, shipping (or driving all over the state) to drop off, pick up, and face the scrached, nicked frame on the rejected work that you just spent a small fortune to frame.

Jan Blencowe said...

Well, now I know I'm in good company! Neither of my paintings were selected for the show. I was too sick to go pick them up, so my husband went and retrieved them and was talking to another artist who was also picking up his paintings. This other artist commented that basically no landscapes were in the show. So there you have it! Landscapes are clearly no this particular juror's thing. The juror by the way, is a modern style artist, nothing wrong with that certainly but I'm sure it informs his choices and decisions. Congratulations to any CT artists who did get in, a museum show is a nice addition to your resume, make sure you update your resume right away!