Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Madison, Indiana

Last month I talked about my upcoming trip to Madison Indiana.
The judging was tough. A room of 200 pieces of art that have to be whittled down to a few winners is always a bit intimidating.  There were a few that I wished I could have given a prize, but if there are winners that means a few were not awarded prizes.
So, if you did not win, are reading this and are starting to get angry- please enjoy this image of a puppy sleeping.

It was helpful to have my wife Laura there for a second opinion and to basically listen to me talk my way through the process. To start, we both walked through the show without talking to each other, attempting to pick the winners of each category- Oil, Acrylic, Watercolor, etc. Interestingly, we agreed across the board. Now, of course Laura and I have very similar sensibilities, have been married for 15 years and she has taken my classes for at least 7 of those years.

Still, as there were many other prizes to chose, we did have a few we did not see eye to eye on but in the end the decision needed to be mine.
Even though I have mentioned a similar judging process before on this blog, I wrote a brief statement for the show I thought I would post here:
It took every bit of the 3 hours I was given to choose the award winners from a strong show of work. I selected those works that met my list of criteria and I had the tough job of narrowing those down to a few now displaying ribbons. I will now try to explain my thought process for judging this show. 1)Composition is where I begin. Does the picture have a pleasing and lovely arranged abstraction of shapes? Is there a good, strong center of interest? 2)Color: I think most good paintings have some Red, Yellow and Blue­ meaning, there is color variety. Now, I do not mean specifically those colors, but at least a painting contains an assortment of colors in those primary families. A good picture will contain something "reddish", something "blueish" and something in the "yellowish" family. Color arrangements should also be harmonious and pleasing. Usually one color is prominent, while the rest are there to feature the "star" color and help set it off. 3)Breath and atmosphere. Easily the toughest to do and probably the unique quality that separates the masters from the rest of us. It is also a quality that in my view, elevates drawing and painting from mere photographic representation. Drawing by definition is the interpretation of form. Photographs by their nature are flat. By carefully managing the relative hardness and softness of edges, the painter can direct the eye and begin to create the illusion of form. This quality is best represented by working from life, or at least a studied knowledge of nature.
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 or forms represented, that work was crossed of the list. While subject matter is important and personal, it must be clearly stated through good composition, pleasing color, and breath of treatment.

Of course taste does come into play too. As I walk around the show I think about which paintings would I want to take home. While it was not a major factor, framing was a consideration. There were a few that I think maybe would have had better consideration had they been presented in a better frame, or one that did not overpower the image. 
I am probably most known for my still life oil paintings, so I was surprised that many of the top winners were not still life or oil. Best of show was a lovely watercolor by Rod Lance and Reserve Best of Show was a pastel by Ray Hassard.
Best of Show:
Rod Lance of Carmel, Indiana 'Madison House' watercolor
Anyway, that is about it. Hopefully everyone was satisfied with the judging and no one in Madison is  currently burning effigies of me on their lawns.
In all seriousness, I had a great time, was very inspired by the work I saw in this show and hope to participate in future events at the Madison Indiana Art Club. I was able to talk with some of artists in the show who were asking for comments on their art and how to improve in future work.

I will now add a bit of an advertizement for the Madison Art Club, since one of the members- Bob Saueressig, was such a hard sell for the Club's upcoming show. I would like to enter but probably have too much to do already- but you all should enter.  

Click here for an entry form
With the $25 entry fee you two canvases, a 12 x 12 and a smaller on that will be hung on a tree.
Deadline is Oct. 20th. This looks like it would be a fun event.  

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Powdering my Wig

I am heading to Madison Indiana to judge their 15th Annual Regional Fall Show. I will be following that up by teaching a two day Still Life workshop for the Madison Art Club.

I have posted a few times about judging shows, it is something I really enjoy and I believe it tends to sharpen my views on what makes for a good picture.
If you live in the area there is still time to sign up for the workshop. It promises to be a fun and informative couple of days.

Painting Workshop
Madison, Indiana,  September 13 - 14
Learn the greater art of “seeing” as practiced by the Boston School Tradition and how it is applied to Painting Still Life. 
Participants will gather items they wish to paint and begin arranging them.
The focus of this class is to provide an initial introduction to the steps taken and the principles applied in the art of still life painting.

This includes:

    -the conception of a "visual" idea for a painting. 
    -the arrangement  and organization of values, hues, and chromas on the canvas    -the execution of a coherent and helpful charcoal drawing with which to compose the stuff within the picture plane. |
    -the execution of  a lay-in or 'start' in oil.
    -what to consider while pushing towards a finish.

Fee: $175 per person, supplies not included. Class limited to 15 students.

I will post next week as a follow-up on both the show and the class.