We all know that entering artwork into a show or competition for judging by a complete stranger can be a very emotional experience. After all, artwork is extremely personal and you are opening yourself up to the judge and that judge’s individual preferences. Judges are only human after all and we know humans do make mistakes. Many times I have told artists that if they don’t win in one show they should not give up on that piece they poured their heart into – go enter it in another show and see what happens when viewed by a different judge.
Normally, before entering a show, I go to the judge’s website and take a look at their artwork. I do this for a few reasons. First of all, I want to be sure that they truly are a competent artist and have mastered their medium. If, in my opinion, the judge is not up to “snuff” I don’t enter the show. Secondly, having a look at the judge’s art portfolio gives me an idea of the type of artwork I think they prefer. If the judge paints only landscapes I assume that their knowledge and preferences will be centered in landscape paintings and because I am not a landscape painter I would naturally think my chances of winning with that judge would be nil. And, thirdly, I just love to snoop around looking at other artist’s work on the Internet!
Recently I took my own advice and entered a pastel piece, one that I thought was very good but which had been overlooked in a previous show, into a show in Brenham, Texas. The show’s judge was a contemporary oil painter so I knew I had no chance of placing in the money but, because the show raises funds for the art league, I thought I would enter anyway. Imagine my surprise and delight when on the day of the show I received a phone call to tell me that my entry won Best of Show – and all along I presumed I had no chance of winning a thing.
This experience demonstrates what we all need to remember: that if your artwork has been passed over by a judge at one show it could very well win at the next show. Pick yourself (and your pride) up and enter that superb piece into another show. If you feel your artwork was well done, original and are confident it’s a good piece then there just may be a judge out there that agrees with you. I know because it happened to me.