JOHN POTOTSCHNIK FINE ART

Educational

Making Judgments Again

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Judging art shows can be a challenge. It’s not an exact science, thank goodness, and it can often leave room for second guessing oneself. 
All art has intellectual, technical and emotional components…and they all need to be considered as part of the judging process. » Read More

Overcoming Creative Slumps

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It is a fact that one’s creative juices can ebb and flow. It’s not pleasant when they ebb, particularly when you make your living being creative. I’ve experienced a few slumps in my day but this » Read More

Independence Day 2012. Really?

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Two hundred and forty-six years ago on July 2, 1776, Congress of the United Colonies adopted a resolution of political independence, meaning that the 13 colonies believed they had a right to be free and independent States…absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown. » Read More

The Academy Tradition

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Some of the best work being created in figurative painting today is the result of an intensive, systematic, well-planned course of study that could be defined as “academic”. » Read More

City Scenes – Our Town and Other Places

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Those of us who have had children and now have grandchildren are quite familiar with the question, “Why?”

Most parents remember these seemingly never ending questions: Why is the sky blue? Why do elephants have trunks? Why is the snow white? Why does it thunder? Why is that policeman pulling us over, Daddy? Why can’t we go to McDonald’s? Why do I have to go to school? Why can’t I stick my finger in the light socket? Why can’t I wear my camouflage cloths to church? Why can’t I go home now?” The questions just keep coming. Sometimes we’d » Read More

Reality Sets In

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“Approved” art of the last 100 years proves destructive
 
When I was in college in the 1960′s, having decided to become an artist, there was a distinguishable antagonism and snobbery, from those » Read More

Is OPA Judging Rigged?

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If you want to be juried into an art show, or win an award in a show, it’s important that you have “connections”. Knowing the judge or jurors doesn’t hurt, maybe even being involved in the host organization will further your changes of winning something, anything…Right?

Accusations of award winners being preselected or friends being shown favoritism are occasionally leveled against art organizations by disappointed applicants. Oil Painters of America is not immune from such criticism. The question is, is there justification for such accusations?

BeckOPA_Dan_AWarmBreeze_36x24_$5800

Dan Beck – “A Warm Breeze” – (2011 Gold Medal Winner / Associate Signature Division)

 

Recently, within the last three weeks, I was bestowed the honor of seeing how an OPA Selection Committee works…from the inside out. I was one of five judges chosen to select the paintings that will be in the OPA Western Regional Exhibition this October at the Lee Youngman Galleries in Calistoga,

Now that all the selections have been made, I am able to tell you how it works.

Qian_Mary - Model on Break

Mary Qian – “Model on Break” – (2010 Gold Medal Winner / Associate Signature Division)

 

First off, you need to know, I still do not know who the other four jurors were…and will probably never know. I asked out of curiosity, after the judging was completed, but received no response. Another thing, only two people knew the identity of the five jurors, the OPA President and the Jury Chairman.

David Riedel - Wooden Bowl David Riedel - "Wooden Bowl" - (2009 Gold Medal Winner / Associate Signature Division)

David Riedel – “Wooden Bowl” – (2009 Gold Medal Winner / Associate Signature Division)

 

We had four days to rate the 924 entries, grading them on a scale from one to seven. The entries were viewed using the internet and we had no way of knowing how other jurors voted. After all the grades for each painting were compiled we were given an additional three days to reevaluate the top 190 entries scoring them in the same way…one to seven. Those receiving the highest cumulative scores were selected for the show.

I did not enter the competition this year, but if I had, I was instructed to vote for my painting in order to avoid any possible computer processing issues. However, it was the average score of the other jurors that would have been substituted for my vote. So, even in that, the temptation to show favoritism toward one’s own work was eliminated.

Howard Friedland - "Morning in Giverny" -  (2008 Gold Medal Winner / Associate Signature Division)

Howard Friedland – “Morning in Giverny” – (2008 Gold Medal Winner / Associate Signature Division)

 

Paintings were evaluated based on design and execution. The best works had one dominant value, a dominant color harmony, a clear center of interest, balance, accurate drawing, convincing value relationships, consistent and believable color temperature relationships, appropriate variety of hard and soft edges, and varied and interesting paint application.

Get all those elements right and you ended up with a seven…in the top 1-3 percent of entries.

Johanna Harmon - "Vintage Dreams" - (2007 Gold Medal Winner / Associate Signature Division)

Johanna Harmon – “Vintage Dreams” – (2007 Gold Medal Winner / Associate Signature Division)

 

I have judged many art shows and only once did I sense a little urging to vote a certain way…and that was for an Elementary School art competition.

Oh, you may be wondering if the artist’s signature on a painting has an influence. Well, to be very honest, I make it a matter of personal integrity to avoid looking at the signature. If the focal point of the painting is located in the area of the signature, there’s no need to be concerned about awards.

I’m sure if an advantage can be gained in any art competition, there will be those who will try to get that advantage. But, as for the Oil Painters of America Exhibitions, I was most impressed to see just how unbiased the jury process actually is. This should be an encouragement to many of you. Hey, it all comes down to the quality of the work, not to who you are or whom you know.

 

Robert Coombs - "Almost Sundown" - (2006 Gold Medal Winner / Associate Signature Division)

Robert Coombs – “Almost Sundown” – (2006 Gold Medal Winner / Associate Signature Division)

 

Below are website links to those featured in this article:

Lake Como Villas

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I’ve written previously of my affection for Italy’s magnificent beauty, its architecture, and the amazing contribution they have made to the world as artists and » Read More

Color Concept

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Color is an important part of painting. Some artists believe it is the most important part. I don’t agree. The reason for my position is that masterful paintings have been achieved using just one color. » Read More