It has been a while since you have seen this one as a work in progress. Here it is finished. You might recall that in the past I talked about not being one to work in a series. I had hoped to attempt a series of large, simplified and somewhat abstracted rose pieces. Well, I finished two and then I got distracted by peonies. So here are the four below...The rose pieces are my favourites and I think I will do another one some day. That would make three for the rose series. For now, I guess this is the 'petal series'. :-)
The workshop involved watching a mock jury in action. Three distinguished cp artists: Jeffrey Smart Baisden, Elizabeth Patterson and James Mateer made up the panel of judges and the moderator of the workshop was CPSA founder, Vera Curnow. The art being juried was from 25 submissions for a non-CPSA show. There was a variety of styles, subject matter and media. The neat thing about this workshop is that as the jurors examined the projected images, they spoke their thoughts about each piece into their microphones allowing those of us in the audience to watch and listen to the process.
So what are judges looking for? Is there anything here that we can use when reflecting upon our own work?
First of all, it seemed that factors like composition, handling of values and edges, drafting skills etc. were expected to be executed well. Of course it got their attention when they weren't executed well but the judges were looking for more than technical ability. What each judge articulated time and again, is that they were looking for something that "gave impact at first glance". Originality was a big plus. Was there an emotional response?
Work that was well executed was dismissed on the grounds that work like it had been "seen a thousand times". Sentimental work or work that was "too sweet" and "warm and fuzzy" was readily dismissed.
The judges were also looking for consistency in a painting. Was the artist technically consistent across a piece and was there balance? Was there a sense of 'wholeness'? Elizabeth was very turned off by bold colourful signatures. They were too distracting. James often referred to any technical glitches that he saw (as he said, "Don't show what you don't know") and he seemed to focus on the design of a piece and he looked for movement.
Jeffrey commented a few times that the artist needed to do more than record information, she "wanted to be moved". She also stated that she wanted "punch, impact" and "something that would jar my teeth"! Elizabeth commented on how the artist "shouldn't make it a chore for your audience to figure it out". Again and again the panel referred to the mood of a piece, did it make them curious, did it make them want to think about it, was it compelling, was it thoughtful, was there emotion?
Ultimately, whether the piece was a pastel or an oil or an abstract or a traditional painting, what the judges were looking for was to see what the artist was trying to say. What was the point of their art? They commented that the artist should be able to convey why they are doing what they are doing.
This was a very intriguing event to watch unfold. I found their views insightful into the process of jurying. Perhaps their comments will give you something to ponder the next time you head to the studio. What are you trying to say? What is the point of your art? Is your art original, compelling and does it convey emotion?
Of course there is also the reality that work that sells is often sentimental and has been seen a thousand times before! :-) I recently read a comment on artist Aili Kurtis's website and I quote: "Human perception of what is good or bad varies from human to human and from one culture to the next." Think about what has been thought of as good art or bad art over the past few hundred years in Western culture...humm...perceptions do shift and change. For now, I am just going to focus on whether or not my next piece might just jar someone's teeth!
And now for my favourite garden plants, brown eyed susans and purple coneflowers. I transplanted these as small clumps from my former home two years ago. They are spreading and thriving beautifully.
And oh the apples I am getting this year off our elderly apple tree. I am busy these evenings cooking up apples (with butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, lemon juice and brown sugar) to store in the freezer. Absolutely yummy with french toast and pancakes.