As someone fairly new to art, it can be hard for me to get a real sense of where my work stands relative to others’. Visual art, like all the arts, is very subjective, although there is perhaps some general agreement about levels of quality. You know the difference between a Broadway play and a high school production, even an excellent high school production. But within those general categories, it comes down – at least largely – to the viewer.
I once submitted a painting to a juried show. It was declined. Soon after, I submitted it to another juried show, more prestigious than the first, where it was accepted and sold before the opening reception. I had a similar experience with writing some years ago. I submitted a manuscript to a professional journal, and they rejected it. The rejection letter was so vague that I had no guidance about how to revise it. So I submitted it untouched to another journal (and again, a more prestigious one), where it was accepted and used as the lead article in that issue of the journal. Go figure.
For the last few years, I have been been bringing paintings to the Champlain Valley Fair here in Vermont. The art show attracts a large number of artists, from beginners to professionals. I fall somewhere in the vast in-between. And I have won awards there! It’s only the Fair, but it is so gratifying to know that someone (they do use judges who are well-known artists or gallery owners) finds my work worth a ribbon. And this year, for the first time, I won first place in pastels! I am so psyched about this! Here is the winning painting (“Why I Live Here,” 18″ x 24″):
And here, for your perusal, are paintings that have won awards in prior years:
“Afternoon Enchantment,” 16″ x 20,” second place:
“Gateway,” 14″ x 11,” second place:
“Cool River Depths,” 9″ x 12,” third place:
“My Neighbor’s Barn,” 16″ x 20,” honorable mention:
“River of Corn,” 9″ x 12,” honorable mention:
And there they are: The prize winners! Don’t you wish adults got prizes more regularly?