It's Just the Judge's Preference

Entering juried competitions is a tricky thing. After all, the selections are purely the preference of the person(s) viewing the artwork. The art juror brings to the table their own personal likes and dislikes. No matter how hard you try to be objective, if you really don't like something, it's bound to play into your choices.
For some reason I can't explain, I recoiled at the sight of tattoos as a child. I have worked hard to overcome that as they have become more mainstream, but the point is, I have to work at it. Given the choice between a natural beauty and an artificially adorned one, I would tend to gravitate to the former. That is a bias that I have and the point is, most everyone has predilections they consciously or subconsciously carry with them.
The judges for art events bring their own inclinations - consciously or not - to their judgments. I like all different kinds of art, but may not be able to appreciate certain types to the degree someone else might. In addition, it is the judge's responsibility to create an exhibition that is varied and interesting. If a large percentage of entries are similar in subject, it makes the competition in that genre more difficult.
When I created my still life painting, "American Classics", I thought it was one of my better colored pencil paintings. I also realized that there would be an abundance of still life entries with flowers and fruit, making it more difficult to stand out in a large field of similar entries. I had wanted to do something a little more "out-of -the-box" and have been doing quite a bit of free-lance illustrating recently, so I came up with the concept of "In Search of Rousseau". I believe that the piece shows more imagination and creativity than the still life painting. However, I believe that the technical skill used in the still life painting was of a higher level.
There have been years when I have entered 2 paintings and neither was selected for inclusion. The first year I entered the Colored Pencil Society of America's International Exhibition, I sent 1 submission. (Entrants are allowed to submit up to 2 images for consideration with no more than 1 entry being eligible for inclusion.) At that point, I was entirely self-taught in colored pencil
and was totally naive about the level of competition. My piece was included and I was thrilled. If it hadn't been juried in, I might never have entered again.
I am writing this blog to let other artists know how wrong-headed that would have been. In another year among other entries or with a differen juror, that piece could have easily been rejected. It was a still life of fruit and might have been one too many to make the cut that year. Just remind yourself that the variables are many and keep trying to do your best work. The decision to include or exclude your entry, is no more than the preference of the judge.


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