Tuesday, February 24, 2015


Every artist must have courage.   It is essential to what we do. Without it, no performer would ever get up on stage and risk ridicule and public humiliation, no singer would risk a bad note, no musician a missed key or beat,  no writer would submit a work for fear of rejection and no painter or photographer would ever show their work, for exactly those reasons.  It takes a great deal of courage to take our art, which is a bit of our soul, and offer it up, even to close friends or family.  To enter into competition requires the utmost courage and faith in one's work. A disassociated person will judge our work and find it to their liking, or not.  We artists never know why we are rejected or accepted.  No matter what our art form, we all go through the same process and it requires a great deal of courage.  

 My paintings are like children.  I'm sorry to lose one to a sale.  I want to keep them all close to me.  When I submit one into a juried show, I have double trouble.  Now I face the rejections or acceptace by someone completely unknown to me.  If my painting is accepted, in most cases the painting must be for sale.  I risk selling the work to someone completely unknown to me.  They will be walking off with my precious piece!  Will that person ultimately consign the painting to their attic? or worse, to a yard sale? or just give it away?  And worse thought - what if the piece is in the show and everyone wonders "why is this in here?"

For those of us who compete, we must step beyond all those thoughts and take our work and put it up for public judgment and display.  My painting "Habitat - Egret Hunts Frog" was recently accepted into the Watercolor Society of Oregon's spring 2015 show.  I offered two paintings to that juror.  The second "Counting Autumn's Days" was not accepted. One is suggestive, the other nonrepresentational.    Did that matter?  I have no idea!

I think it takes more courage to send a painting into competition than anything I ever did in life.  I've climbed mountains, kayaked rivers, backpacked, skied, hiked, run ultra marathons.  None of that compares to the feeling of sending a painting into a juried show and risking that rejection or acceptance.  


  1. The suggestive abstract, "Habitat and Egret Hunts Frog" pleasing and strong with a movement that encompasses the many parts. While I try to find a suggested subject in the non-objective. I feel it is a bad sewing day. I was see red. I am at war with big cross stitches and basting stitches but still cannot make the shapes fit me.. I believe non-objective painting is far more difficult and courageous.

  2. I completely agree, Diane. Nonrepresentational painting is a much more intense process for me. Color and shape suggest things to the viewer and it always amazes me how many different things people see in my nr work. If I want to compete, it seems that I must have an element of suggestion if not more. Those are more successful.

  3. I used to compete in the Watercolor Society of Oregon. What I learned about the process of jurying from the statements of one juror, is some jurors take pains to pick work that work with the total look of the show.Especially true when selecting the award winners! Back in the days before slide selections when we brought our paintings to be juried to the show, at first mine was not selected for the show at all. The juror couldn't find enough paintigns that stood up with the other award winners with very strong vibrant colors. She went back over the unselected and picked a small one of mine for a second place award.

  4. It's probably easier to select and jury a show if the pieces are actually present in a room unless you are someone who can remember 300 or more images as you go through slides or digital collections. That was how the fine art show at WA state fair was selected as recently as 10 years ago.