Old Blacksmith Shop Interior, originally uploaded by ahtravis.
My “Onions On A Plate, no. 1” (see Flickr photos, “Demonstrations”) has just been juried into the Aqueous Open, 63 Annual International Exhibition of the Pittsburgh Watercolor Society. I had submitted both of the “Onion” paintings and they chose no. 1.
Many of my watercolors have been accepted into competitive shows. (See the 4 most recent Flickr photos for a selection) While submitting works for possible inclusion in a juried show is instructive, I don’t know that the decision of the judges is meaningful in any substantive way. Often my works are not included; often my works are included. What makes the difference? Does it matter? I’m not completely sure.
However, I have noticed:
Shows seem to have personalities and include similar works over and over again. Some prefer loose, expressive paintings; others prefer tight paintings of great technical proficiency. I do not know how this personality develops but it is self perpetuating because the show committee chooses judges from among professional artists who are know to paint in a certain way. After a while an artist learns that there is no reason to apply to certain shows.
Often my paintings included in juried shows are not my paintings that sell. My collectors tend to purchase those paintings that are meaningful to them personally for some reason: a location, a building, an activity, the colors. Paintings I choose to submit for jurying are those that I feel are technically superior, but not necessarily emotional and certainly would have no meaning for the jurors.
Often, one particular painting will be juried into one show but not another. Then one painting will be juried into each show in which I enter it. The painting above, “Old Blacksmith Shop Interior”, has been juried into three shows and awarded a prize in one. What is the difference? Beats me!
While having a painting accepted into a juried show makes my resume look good and makes me feel appreciated no one pays more money for one of my paintings with a pedigree than one without.
After a certain number of acceptances into a given society one earns “signature” status. Again, the award looks good on the resume and carries certain bragging rights but most often the buyer does not know what the expression means. The resume does have meaning for certain professionals and I have noticed that as my list of shows grows I am increasingly approached to participate in invitational “paint outs”.
In the end, I know I am pleased to be included in any given show because on some level it means knowledgeable others share my opinion of my work and that is reassuring.