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. When one component is overwhelmingly emphasized above the others, I’m not sure that makes for a great work of art.

I just returned from judging the 21st Annual Juried Art Show held at the Breckenridge Fine Art Center in Breckenridge, TX. It’s always an honor to be chosen to judge a show and this was no exception.
The process began by selecting 127 pieces for exhibition, after viewing all entrant’s work on a CD. The thirteen award recipients were chosen after viewing all the accepted original works…on site.
Did I select the absolute best works in the correct order? I don’t know. They were certainly among the best…and on that particular day, I was satisfied with the choices. Would those exact choices be the same tomorrow? Possibly so, or maybe there might be a little movement.
In just about every art show there will always be a small group of works that seem to keep calling the viewer back. That was indeed the case for me with the top award winners…and then there are always one or two artists that dominate and you’d like to give all their pieces an award.
Usually when selecting pieces for an art show from photographic images, the biggest issue is the quality of the photography. Artists do not seem to realize that the only thing a juror has to go by is the image photo. A poor representation of the work there, will get you eliminated quicker than you can say, “What happened?”
I noticed something different this time. The quality of the photography was improved, in fact so improved in some cases (using Photoshop), that when I actually saw the originals of those images I was disappointed. A couple of pieces I originally thought would be in contention for awards, were ultimately left out of the mix. So, I offer a word of caution when submitting work to a competition…only do enough Photoshop manipulation to accurately represent the work, no more, no less.
Thanks, Breckenridge, for presenting me with the challenge of judging this show. I am proud to present the award winning works seen below. Congratulations to each of you…and also to the other 114 exhibiting artists.
Randy Meador – Confederate Soldier – 30″x 18″ – Watercolor  (Clay Pitzer Memorial Best of Show Award)
Patricia Rohrbacher – Tulips and Siberian Iris – 16″x 18″ – Oil  (Lester & Virginia Clark Memorial Award)
Kim Hill – Go Fish – 22″x 29″ – Oil  (Fine Art Center Award)
Joseph Fuchs – Botanical Garden, Mendocino, CA – 10″x 13″ – Pen/Graphite  (Juror’s Award)
Tim Harmon – Raised on the Rocks – 13″x 7″x 10″ – Bronze  (Newcomer Award)
Natalie Smythe – Dressed in Denim – 18″x 16″ – Graphite  (Patron’s Award)
Don Weller – Equine Conference – 22″x 27″ – Watercolor  (Honorable Mention)
Flauia Eckholm – In Her Own Name – 25″x 31″ – Oil  (Honorable Mention)
Jan Mapes – Too Close for Comfort – 23″x 9″x 12″ – Bronze  (Honorable Mention)
Nancy Grobe – Looking Up – 16″x 14″ – Oil  (Honorable Mention)
Rebecca Zook – Late Lunch – 18″x 22″ – Acrylic  (Honorable Mention)
Sharon McConnell – Puttin’ on Miles – 32″x 16″x 12″ – Bronze  (Honorable Mention)
Soon Warren – Street Art Critic – 38″x 30″ – Watercolor  (Honorable Mention)
I always like to do some kind of art when traveling. Even though it was still over 100 degrees in the evening, I did manage to get in a couple of quick permanent marker drawings of the bed and breakfast in which my wife and I stayed…and the houses across the street.
If you’re ever in Breckenridge, TX and need a place to stay, I highly recommend The Keeping Room. Brady and Laverle, are warm hosts. The place is clean and the breakfast is excellent.
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(Next week I will be featuring an incredible interview with Dianne Massey Dunbar. Don’t miss it. It’s really good)


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