I don’t know about you, but many times I will look at something I’ve painted and be really happy with it, then I could come back a day or two later, maybe even a week or two and wonder to myself, “what was I thinking”, or “who am I trying to kid”. Really there is no rhyme or reason that I can think of behind it. There are times when it’s just the opposite. I could be struggling, and saying to myself, “why do I even bother”, and have to get back away, from my work. Do something else entirely, cook a meal, or play some tennis. (physical activity is always a good way to get into a different zone). Then I come back and really love the piece and know the only thing I can do to make it better is to sign it.
How about when you take your art and put it up against others in juried shows? How does it look then? Are you still as proud of it as you were when you pulled it off the easel? How about would you give yours an award after comparing it to all the others in the show?
When I entered the 25th annual “Wings over the Platte” show at the Stuhr museum in Grand Island, NE this is exactly what happened. I had driven 300+ miles to deliver the paintings, and carrying my paintings in, and going into the receiving area of the museum with all the entered pieces lined up along the walls, I was going “wow”, no way! There was some very cool work that were being presented to the jurors here. Well, I felt lucky to have been at least juried into the show, and I left happy to be a part of this well established exhibit of art depicting the Platte River.
So when I received the mailing that one of my pieces had just been awarded “Best of Show”, a calmly forwarded the mail to my wife Susie and asked her “what she thought”. Nothing more than that, no joyous reaction, or high fiving, I was sending it to Susie to see what her reaction was, so I could figure out if I had read the thing properly or had dreamed it all.
I mean, I liked my piece, but did it deserve “Best of Show”? At this point in time, “YES” it did. On another day, and the stars aligned a bit differently, maybe 1st, 2nd, or not at all. Art is very subjective, and that’s one of the great things about it. As I had mentioned in a previous blog, it all depends on the juror.
I have juried art shows, and in picking the winners, I in my mind pick what I deem the best art there in the show. There are times when a 2nd could be switched with a 3rd, because you are always comparing apples to oranges out there. They may all be in the same category, but normally they are not all of the exact same subject matter with the same rules to follow.
Is it like any other thing in this world? On any given day, anyone could be number 1, in art, in sports, in life? The important thing is that you get out there, do your best and enjoy what you do. To win art shows, and to beat everyone else is not why I paint. I love the experience of creation, and then to share it with others. It’s a great feeling, and it’s what keeps me going, and going, and…