Saturday, February 19, 2011

The art of judgement and the judgement of art

 Sterling Fellows
charcoal and white pastel
19" x 25"

I won't belabour the point as I've had my rant over on Facebook about the vaguaries of criteria for acceptance and rejection of art in juried competition.  This piece was submitted and rejected to a juried competition.  That's fine.  No problem.  My ticked box on the application form asked for adjudicator comments, in my hope that I would receive something that would help me in the future if the piece was rejected. The note that was sent with my rejection letter told me that  I can draw well, create great atmosphere, but I need to add colour and broaden my composition.

Hello...there was no colour because that was the purpose of the piece.  NO COLOUR.  So the feedback is basically telling me, yes, you can draw well and create a scene, but we'd really prefer you made it in colour and choose a different composition.  ie  it would have been better if I hadn't done it at all or done it to someone else's criteria.  I was asked for and included an artist statement.  I guess they never read that  as it may have given a little insight into my work and its theme of fish.   These comments weren't telling me why the piece was rejected, or how I could improve it technically.  I see these as comments from a group/individuals personal preferences in art and how they would prefer to see the piece if they had created it.

So I'm left shaking my head and mentally ensuring that I don't enter that competition again.  I should have learned after the rules were changed the other year where a piece must be hidden from the world before being entered.

I don't mind having work rejected, in fact I expect it, as not all work suits all exhibitions and my piscean creations aren't everyone's cup of tea, nor is representational art.  My problem is with the criteria, or what seems to be lack of, in both the ability of judges to choose work objectively and to respond, if required, with comments that can assist an artist to grow.   I'm likely flogging a dead horse to rail at it from time to time, but I will continue to do so.

Now on to a lighter note...if you subscribe to my newsletter, you will know that I am having a contest until the end of February with a prize of an original portrait.  However, I thought I'd share it here as well.  Details of how to take part are below.

This contest gives you a chance to win an 8 x 10 original portrait. The portrait can be of you, a friend or family member or a pet.  I will choose the medium and the winning name will be drawn on March 1st.

The pieces shown here are drawn in charcoal. Your portrait may be in charcoal, graphite, or coloured pencil.  Perhaps painted.  Its all part of the surprise... 

There are several ways to win.

1. I will have a contest post on my Facebook page. Join my Facebook page 
(you need to click 'Like') and let me know why you want to win a portrait. 

2.  Become a subscriber to my newsletter.  Current subscribers  and those added up until February 28 will be included in the draw. You can join in the link on the sidebar to the right here.

3.  Send me an email  between February 15 and 28 and tell me why you would like a portrait and of who. 

The winner's name will be announced in the March newsletter.

Good luck!


Ernest Friedman-Hill said...

Jeanette, I know you're extremely good at photographing your work, so I know there's no flash reflection in this photo. That makes this piece all the more remarkable, because these little guys look as if they shine like a mirror. It's elegant and beautiful. Don't listen to those judges.

Next year, though, sad clowns on velvet :)

Olivia said...

Jeanette, thoses silver fishes are gorgeous !

Christiane Kingsley said...

Jeanette, I agree with Ernest: these little guys do shine. That would have probably been much easier to achieve in color:-)

Gordon Pritchard said...

They probably would have rejected DaVinci's drawings as well since he didn't use color in his drawing.

In any case, lovely rendering of the fish.

Hedera said...

I actually like this drawing very much Jeanette. It's striking and your disappointment and frustration completely understandable...
A series like this would be outstanding!!

Jeanette said...

Clowns on velvet it is Ernest! :) Thanks for your comments.

Thanks Olivia, I really did want to capture that shine on them.

Gordon, no doubt you're right! Everyone's taste is different but I'm not marching to someone else's tune simply because they'd prefer colour.

Thanks Denise. My frustration stems from my inability to understand the purpose of juried competition anymore - or the process of judging. It all seems such a farce at times.

And yes, perhaps I'll do some more fish in black and white. I like the effect.

Jeanette said...

Christiane, sorry missed your comment. Yes, capelin do have a real shot of silver in them. Colour...ha

vivien said...

it's beautiful, subtle and gleaming

I can't imagine why they felt it should have colour added and agree with the comments above.

Monochrome drawings are special in their own right

I think it may have to do with the fact that jurors literally have just a few seconds to give a yes or no and vivid colour grabs attention more than subtle work at that speed :>( - not necessarily more sustaining in the long run though.

Lydie said...

Do not be disappointed, your fishes are beautiful with a very good job on background texture . I have also noticed, to be presented at competitions on forums that deal with works colored, black and white drawings were not winning. This does not prevent me from continuing to love this art form. Make what you like.

Jeanette said...

Thanks Vivien. The judges had under 200 entries and 3 months to review them. I don't see speed of view as the problem somehow.

Yes bright color and lack of detail attracts attention for sure. Another nail in the coffin of pure drawing.

Lydie, thank youu. No it won't stop me from drawing and creating what I want. It does clearly show me that some competitions aren't worth my effort.

RH Carpenter said...

Color? Well, you said it all when you summed it up, Jeanette. It is sad that there are no criteria for judges (some say they have certain criteria and use them but others just go by the seat of their pants and think, since they were chosen to judge, they must be smarter than the average bear). So, draw and paint what you want and it will find it's place - and ignore those places that give you nothing helpful. Perhaps the Mona Lisa should have more of a smile, too? Yes, that would make it such a happier painting! ha ha

jane minter said...

very elegant ... i love b+w jeanette

Jan said...

That just proves what I've always heard - that judges go for what appeals to them personally for the most part. Wait til next year and a new judge and the outcome may be very different! Or enter it into a different competition as we all know it's just a super painting.