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Fox Valley Plein Air Painting Competition

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Comment from: Peter S. [Visitor]
You said that the artists that won this particular event used a "contrived formula for sentimentality" for paintings that "could be seen just about anywhere" and don't represent things unique to the region. Yet, you seem to imply that your paintings of a boat and a rack of canoes are somehow more novel and inventive than a painting of grazing cattle. Don't all of these paintings highlight common scenes of the region that they were painted in?

The nature of Plein Air painting certainly imposes special constraints on the artist that forces her to seize the moment as the day literally passes by. In this way, each painting is necessarily unique to the time at which it was painted. That said, how do the paintings that won this competition not meet your requirements if each artist was under similar constraints? How can an artist possibly use a formula for a Plein Air painting? In terms of subject, how are your paintings for this day different, or more deserving, than the ones that were awarded 1st and 2nd place?

Who's to blame? The artists that won, or the people who judged and organized the event?


With respect.
08/28/11 @ 00:03
Comment from: Anthony [Member] Email
I'm sorry I'm only just seeing this. I think I've addressed some of the issues you bring up in the next post: http://www.sageartsstudio.com/drawingboard/?p=258&more=1&c=1&tb=1&pb=1

But to be specific:

1. I don't imply or state that my paintings of a boat rack are more novel or inventive, rather just more relevant as it is more indicative of the area which we were to paint. The grazing cattle piece could have been anywhere in WI, or CA or a host of other states where they have dairy cows. It was largely arbitrary. I think the locals who frequent that marina would recognize the scene I painted, though it was not necessarily the best example in that regard, of the paintings I posted.

Meaning is relative to one's perspective. Perhaps the grazing cattle painting would have specific meaning to the owner of that farm, but beyond that, it was pretty arbitrary and was largely appealing to the sentimentality of a generic sunset.

2. Artists use formulas for Plein Air paintings all the time, whether it's a strategy for starting the work, or a simple value structure plan such as the Notan method, or even a choice of subject matter that is likely to appeal to a larger audience or the anticipated interests of the judges.

3. I thought the painting that took third was the best in the show. I think there were a handful of others that should have been in contention for second and third places, and that mine were among them. I did not include the two that took first and second among those. I think I established why I felt that in this post, but I also expanded on my thoughts on evaluating paintings here: http://www.sageartsstudio.com/drawingboard/?p=239&more=1&c=1&tb=1&pb=1 and here: http://www.sageartsstudio.com/drawingboard/?p=246&more=1&c=1&tb=1&pb=1

4. To be specific, I blame the organizers for not instructing the judges, or for finding poor judges, and I blame the judges. I don't blame the artists for trying something that has worked in the past, I just lament that the judges are falling for it, and the public suffers because of it.

Thanks for the comments.
09/14/11 @ 10:47

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