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In response to: Fox Valley Plein Air Painting Competition

Anthony [Member]
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.
PermalinkPermalink 09/14/11 @ 10:47

In response to: Fox Valley Plein Air Painting Competition

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.
PermalinkPermalink 08/28/11 @ 00:03

In response to: A = A

Mike Neilson [Visitor]
Nor did I think you were writing just to complain. And as for my comment about pleasing judges that was mainly to say to assume nothing regarding awards. You have written an excellent explanation regarding your criteria for evaluating a painting and I agree with you on these.

On an aside, Robert Henri discouraged young painters from entering competitions because he was afraid that they would be too influenced as to the how and what you speak of. That they would only choose "acceptable" subjects and paint in a safe way and not stretch themselves or go to the edge regarding their own work.

Your conclusion that your work wasn't good enough may or may not be true as far as sales or awards go. This time it didn't go your way. But could your work be better than it currently is? Of course, but that's okay because there's something you can do about it.

I don't mean to disregard the disappointment of more than a week's work with no sales and no awards after all that effort. I know the heartbreak of that. I've been there many times.

Keep going after it. It's worth it.
PermalinkPermalink 07/03/11 @ 01:10

In response to: A = A

Anthony [Member]
Thanks Mike,

I did not write this simply to complain about the judging, nor do I believe that any artist should attempt to cater to the judges' preferences, rather, I wrote this to examine the points raised in that conversation and to restate my views on how to evaluate a painting.

There are other issues raised here that I have not yet addressed, but I plan to in my next post.
PermalinkPermalink 07/02/11 @ 06:36

In response to: A = A

Mike Neilson [Visitor]
Tony, this is a well written post which raises many excellent points. I think Brian is right, it's kind of a crap shoot regarding what the judges are going to like and pick as winners. I don't think it can be a completely objective process to judge a large group of works, especially when there are a lot of excellent, well crafted and well composed works. The judging takes place over a short period of time and one of the real tests of a work of art is that of repetition. The best works of art can be viewed over and over without getting tired of seeing them. It's not possible to use this test in a show like this.

With regards to excellence, what you have listed under "How," especially the first five - drawing, values, color, edges or handling as you list it, and composition... these are givens. In high level works these will be skillfully and well used in a painting.

As far as judging goes, if we consider it from the highest level of excellence that we know, could you say that Bach's Mass is B Minor is better than Mozart's Requiem in D? Is a seascape by Monet better than one by Turner? or Richard Schmid? The absurdity should be evident.

As far as what "style" a work is in, the artist statement, or what the artist's intention is... the work will tell. The painting is the only thing that matters. No written words will help a painting that isn't up to par and none are needed when a painting is excellent.

I think the better question to be asking is "Are the actions I'm taking leading me to become the artist I want to be?" Many, including myself, are still working on getting better at this. An artist who is in this for the long haul would do well to make a declaration of intent that whatever it takes, I'm going to do this. I'm going to seek out whatever it is I need to figure this out, and nothing, and I mean nothing is going to stop me from learning what it is I want and need to learn, and to gain the skills to do it. This knowing that you are in it for the duration can help during those periods of drought which we all have.

Shows like Cedarburg are fun and great motivators to get out there and paint and produce work, but they are just one event in the big scheme of things. I think it's a waste of time to try and figure out what will please judges. It's best to assume nothing as far as awards go and just be happy when they do come, which they do from time to time, I'm happy to say. I think the best reward is this...every day that I faithfully follow this deep passion and intention to create something beautiful, a bit more insight, confidence and skill will come, which inspires and motivates me to keep doing it and keep getting better.

Regarding your lack of sales, you had beautiful works in the show, so perhaps your prices were high for this market. I've never sold well in Cedarburg except in the $300 and under range.

Keep pursuing excellence my friend. The best rewards will come your way.
PermalinkPermalink 07/02/11 @ 05:31

In response to: Fallout from the Show.

Dan [Visitor]
Hello!
I found your blog from your wetcanvas profile. I'm a WI plein air painter also and I really hear the frustration and disappointment in your entry about the MIAD show. Like you, my family members ignore my work and only a couple of friends inquire about my artwork. You talked about frustration with your city and state - I thought it was just my Wis. Rapids! HA!
I was at a local Arts&Crafts show this summer and a lot of people breezed past me (with barely a glance) to the stand beside mine. Two ladies made solar lights for graves with little ceramic figurines and other junk hot-glued on them. Ugh! People were buying them and exclaiming how cute they all were! It all just made me so angry and hurt!
PermalinkPermalink 11/22/10 @ 10:27

In response to: Well...on to the next thing...

Larry Seiler [Visitor] · http://larryseiler.blogspot.com
Very fine piece, Anthony...and that format can be fun...

As for the Door event, I aim to go there, spending Friday night in Green Bay at my mom's place. But..looking at the ten day forecast for Fish Creek area, they are talking off and on thunderstorms so far. Hope that changes.

Hey...might have to come back here and look at your shirts for sale. As I've said, a long love for the martial arts..
PermalinkPermalink 07/21/10 @ 07:28

In response to: Final Day of the Cedarburg Event

ZenBadger [Visitor]
The life of an artist has lost its allure for me now ;)
PermalinkPermalink 07/01/10 @ 13:21

In response to: ...After the Long Good-bye.

Bill [Visitor] · http://www.billsell.net
Nicely written, Tony. It means a lot to me to learn the story.
--Bill

PermalinkPermalink 01/17/10 @ 19:43

In response to: Oconomowoc Mid-Summers Brush Plein Air Painting Competition

Richard McKay [Visitor]
These are wonderful! I like the peninsula painting. I liked your choice in background flora pallet. That choice really makes the subject (trees on peninsula) pop out. I like it. I also like the suggestions in the foreground reflections (say that fast). It totally feels like an after rain moment.

I'm looking forward to painting with you some day soon.

PermalinkPermalink 08/02/09 @ 21:10

In response to: Anime Blues

John [Visitor] · http://www.twowaters.net/
I absolutely felt like that at the end of Bebop. Hmmm... Anime Blues. I think that's an accurate description.
PermalinkPermalink 11/25/08 @ 07:17

In response to: July Sketches

Anthony [Member]
Thanks. I did finally get the pen, I'll be writing a review on it later this month. I haven't had time to blog since it arrived. I have not yet gotten my order from Akadot, I would warn people about that company.

I did finally get a response from Mr. Ackerman himself, who explained that they were having email problems. There were two email addresses listed, one on the site, one on the invoice. I tried both but the messages kept getting returned. He apologized for the problem, and explained that the order was to be shipped within the week. About two weeks later it did arrive.

The pen is very interesting, worth the $25 I think. When I get a chance I plan to get the brush pen as well, but I won't expect it to arrive in anything short of a month after placing the order.

Watch for my upcoming post, I'll go over it's performance in detail.
PermalinkPermalink 09/17/08 @ 11:26

In response to: July Sketches

steven [Visitor]
nice blog. Just wondering if you ever sorted things out with Ackerman. Did it take a long time to get your pen? I wish I had read this before I ordered one. Now I'm worried
PermalinkPermalink 09/17/08 @ 10:18

In response to: Origami!

John [Visitor] · http://www.twowaters.net/
Directions?! Bah! That's just the way some other guy thinks it should be done.
PermalinkPermalink 09/09/08 @ 07:46

In response to: Dragon Design

John [Visitor] · http://blog.twowaters.net/
T -

This one's outstanding. VERY nice work.
PermalinkPermalink 07/17/08 @ 08:52

In response to: Portrait (sketch) on Yupo

Anthony [Member]
The jury is still out, I have a number of medium combinations I want to try, that will take time to explore.
PermalinkPermalink 06/25/08 @ 14:33

In response to: Portrait (sketch) on Yupo

John [Visitor] · http://blog.twowaters.net/
So are you liking this medium? Or is the jury still out?
PermalinkPermalink 06/25/08 @ 11:29

In response to: The Death of George Carlin

John [Visitor] · http://blog.twowaters.net/
Nice post, T. And thanks.
PermalinkPermalink 06/23/08 @ 09:01