Monday, September 19, 2011

Here Comes the Judge

The Innocent Eye Test
Mark Tansey, 1981
Yesterday I had the honor of judging the 6th Annual Exhibition for the CPSA (Colored Pencil Society of America) District Chapter 119. The show was located in the Sharon Center in Sharon Woods and will be open September 17th 30th, from 10:00-5:00.
I have judged a few shows before and it is not an easy job. I was asked a few times at the opening if I worked in Colored Pencil. I do not. I have of course used them, but never for finished work. That being said, I judged the work under the same standards that I would when viewing any other work.
One does not need to bring in a cow to judge a painting of cows, as in the Mark Tansey painting above.

I gave a small talk at the show and I discussed my method for selecting the winners.
1)Composition. This is where I started in the process. Did the picture have a pleasing and lovely arranged abstraction of shapes on the page? Was there a good and strong center of interest?
2)Color. I think most good work has some Red, Yellow and Blue- meaning, is there color variety (unlike the painting above).  Now, I do not mean specifically those colors, but at least colors in those primary families. So more specifically, something Reddish, something Blueish, and something in the Yellow family.
In addition, the color arrangement should be harmonious and pleasing. Usually, one color is prominent, and the rest are there to feature the "star" color and help set it off.
3)Breadth and Atmosphere. This is the area where drawing and painting can separate itself from photography. If drawing it the interpretation of form, a successful piece must be considered in this way. By carefully managing the relative hardness and softness of edges, the painter can direct the eye and begin to create the illusion of form. I will say this was the one thing most difficult to find while judging this show. Colored pencil, by its very nature, lends itself to extreme detail and sharp edges. It can lead to an image that is hyper-focused and flattened. If I could pick any one thing lacking throughout the show, this would be it. A lot of work would have been greatly improved had there been more soft edges and atmosphere. I would imagine much of the work in the show was completed by copying photos, which are not form, but flat images. A lot of the work would have benefited from more study from life.
4)Subject matter was my final consideration. I did look at mood, story, and the clearness of the message. If I was at all confused about the subject of the picture, it got crossed off the list. While subject is important, it must be clearly stated through good composition, pleasing color, and breadth of treatment. To do otherwise would be like writing a book full of misspellings and bad grammar.
This was a good show and I had fun judging the show, meeting the artists and talking to them about their work- congratulations to all the winners.
First- Cecile Baird  "Twisted Lemon"
Second- Tom Kinarney - " In the Woods"
Third- Cheryl Metzger- "Puppy Dog Tales"
Honorable mentions:
Jean Malicoat- "On the Chopping Block"
Margi Hopkins " Hot Dog"
Marcia Greenwald " All That Jazz"
Nancy Pugliano "Cherries"
Janice Glaser "First Taste of Snow"

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