A Show Coming Up!

I am very excited! I’ve just received an invitation to participate in an art show hosted by the Blue Springs Art League.  It’s amusing, really, to think that only a few years ago I had no idea “art leagues” even existed. Now, I’ve become a member of several organizations and have participated in shows from several others. My decision to “learn to draw” certainly opened up a wide, new world for me.

I have about two weeks before the entry deadline closes, and the specifics include a provision that all work shown must have been completed in 2020 or after, so no picking favorite old paintings to include in the show!

I have a couple of paintings in mind, but before I choose I’ll go through the paintings in my studio and give them each a “quick evaluation” using what I’ve learned from previous shows. I know that judges differ in their approach to art but that they tend to consider these factors:

  • Originality
  • Mood and Emotion
  • Narrative
  • Academics
  • Execution
  • Presentation

Judges typically look for works that show a unique, original point of view, and which “draw them in” through a strong focal point, works that tell a story or create an emotional impact, and works that show an understanding of the elements of art — including composition, color theory, rhythm, balance, harmony, and proper use of values. Judges look for both “mastery” of the medium used and also for “potential” apparent in less experienced artists. Of course, presentation is important, too.

I’ve heard other “theories” too — some a bit off-the-wall. I’ve read of artists who include subliminal suggestions in their art, and I’ve heard that judges are partial to orange. I don’t necessarily believe that, although one of my autumn paintings featured a great deal of orange and did receive a 3rd place ribbon in oil painting. Here it is, unmatted and unframed.

Some people say, too, that judges prefer larger works over smaller ones, and sometimes that seems to be true. Yet I’ve also seen very small paintings receive 1st place honors and even the “Best in Show” award.

I’m actually thinking that I want to do an entirely new painting for the show. If I start today, I can complete a painting and give it just enough time for drying and varnishing, as well as matting and framing. I really want to showcase my art now — not paintings I did last year or two years ago. I’ve grown a lot over these last two years. I’ve tried so many new techniques; I’ve learned so many different approaches. Yes, I think I want to get busy painting something new for this show.

Of course, I’m not going into this show — or any other — with expectations of getting ribbons. For me, the excitement comes from simply being part of an art show, from being recognized as an artist, from being able to participate in events like this.

So now I’m off to plan and prepare… choosing the right size, toning my canvas, selecting a subject, making decisions about colors and composition, focal point, values, and most of all putting together a painting that does tell a story, one that does have a bit of mood and atmosphere about it.

This will be exciting, and I’m looking forward to sharing my art.


    1. Since our fall show was canceled, I’m really looking forward to this one! It’s always so much fun to be around other artists and to see so many wonderful drawings and paintings.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh, so true! I think this is one reason I always volunteer to work at the shows our local clubs hold. I just love “being there” and soaking up that energy and atmosphere.


  1. After spending an entire work day with the judge for Cass County Regional Gallery’s winter/spring show yesterday, I can assure you that your paragraph addressing what judges typically look for is spot on. The judge and I had several long conversations and they included all of your points in that paragraph…ding ding ding!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think those are good “starting points” to understand what judges look for. I know every judge has different preferences, but I think most are guided by a lot of these “academics”.

      Liked by 1 person

I'd Love to Hear Your Thoughts!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s