I have to admit, submitting my artwork for an exhibition or show can be intimidating. I wonder how my art will compare to other's? Did I fill in everything correctly on the entry? And most of all, what are the judges looking for when they are shown all the entered artwork?
I was recently asked to be a juror for an art show, and I can tell you it is a very humbling task. There is so much talent out there, and choosing can be very challenging.
Once I got over the initial awe of most of the submitted artwork, I realized the task at hand was just as intimidating as entering my own art into a show. I viewed over 1,000 images. It was certainly a time commitment that I took seriously.
The first step was to determine whether each piece of artwork followed the submission rules. Those who didn't follow ALL of the rules had to be rejected. There were just too many exceptional artists who did follow the rules to spend time on those who did not. When you are entering artwork into a show, be sure to follow the submission guidelines to the letter. As the saying goes, "You only get one chance to make a good first impression," and it really does make a difference!
The second step was to look at the quality of the images that were sent in. If the image wasn't cropped professionally, sharp and clear, and have accurate color presentation it was declined also. As an artist you want your work to be presented in the best way possible so the jury will have a clear and accurate view of your hard work. Show your art at its best!
These two steps unfortunately eliminated many pieces that might have been great, but it was too difficult to tell by the images and information that was sent in.
The third step was to look at the art itself. I started with the basics. Did the elements of design (line, shape, direction, size, texture, color, and value) contribute to the composition as a cohesive whole? Were the principles of design (balance, gradation, repetition, contrast, harmony, and dominance) followed? If not, was there a reason not to follow the principles that contributed to the composition?
Then I looked at the composition, or the arrangement of the elements-not the subject matter itself. I was looking to see if the image would catch my attention and lead my eye through the painting. When looking at 1,000 or more images, the piece truly needed to grab my eye and make me want to continue looking. Ultimately, there were so many good pieces entered into the show, it was difficult to eliminate artwork at this level.
I’m glad my first experience of being a juror was at the admission level. Jurying at the prize award level will be a very different and even more difficult adventure. I learned many valuable lessons, as an artist, as well as an art juror. I'm very grateful for the opportunity I was given.
As a wildlife and children’s portrait artist, Sandy Brooks uses pencils and pastels to capture through art her awe for the untouched and untainted in today’s pressurized world. Her works express the innocent emotions of animals and children who explore the world as one with unlimited possibilities, unaware of the barriers that hold us back from our own happiness. Whether her subjects are humorous or striking or dramatic, the end result is always intimate and inspiring.