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Sunday, July 31, 2011

How “Bout Them Juried Art Shows?

I’ve juried an art show or two in my time. I’ve entered  them too. Being on the juror end of it is really fun, though sometimes a bit wild. Being on the juried/inspected/judged end is another story.
Let me back up here. If you don’t know what a juried art show is, I’ll explain (and if you do, skip this part): the producers of an art show send out a call for art submissions. It costs money to produce the art show, so the producers charge a small fee for you to submit your artwork. The fee helps defray some of the cost of the show, you get to have your work looked at and evaluated by professionals, and maybe you get into the show. I said “maybe”. There’s no guarantee you’ll be accepted into the art show. You pay the fee up front either way. The person who decides if your work is in or out is the juror. 
Since there’s no guarantee that the art will be accepted, why do I enter juried shows? Short answer: SALES, baby!!!! Longer answer: Sales.  Recognition.  Recognition that leads to sales.
Recently I entered an example of work similar to the image above into the Southern California regional Art + Science* show. Happy to say, the work was accepted and even received an honorable mention from the juror, Ruth West.  I love to display my work at the gallery that’s holding this show, and I highly respect the juror, who is, like myself, both an artist and a person who works in the sciences. Gotta love that combo.
One thing about entering a juried show that the artist best  keep in mind: don’t take it personal. Easier said than done, but it’s true. The work that didn’t even get a passing nod from one juror, may receive an award from another. This really happens. All the time.  And let’s not discount the work that was rejected by a juror, went back to my studio where a private collector saw it and paid 4 figures for it. Buyer with cash trumps juror’s opinion. This happens, too, yee-ha! And last but not least, there’s the juried show I entered because it was annual, well known and well-attended by collectors. My work was accepted. And I sold two pieces to my first public art collection. What’s that I said earlier about sales and recognition? If you take a juror’s rejection personal, you might stop entering.  If you stop entering…you get the picture, n’est-ce pas?
So go to your studios and make stuff. Then take a chance and enter juried shows. You won’t be sorry, and who knows, you might get rich!
*The exhibit runs August 9-September 30, 2011. Go to for gallery days and times. Entrance is free, as is the artists’ reception on September  10th.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Finger-Painting, Anyone?

I was teaching a paste-paper workshop several weeks ago when one of the attendees said “This is just like finger-painting.” I don’t think she meant it exactly in a good way. But her comment got me to thinking. Paste paper is like finger-painting; only with much better materials and tools other than your fingers that you can use to make the designs.
Way (way) back in the private Quaker school I attended in the 60’s, we did finger-painting now and then, and we learned that the coloring material we were using was called “tempera” --ringing any bells with you artists and teachers out there?  Tempera was cheap, came in great colors, washed off hands and clothes, and we kids didn’t much like the taste of it, so were not inclined to eat it. All really great “must haves” on a materials-list for kids.
Now-a-days, paste paper colorant can be acrylic, water color, food color---all good. But the least expensive and least fussy to clean up after remains good ol’ tempera, from a bottle, pre-mixed, and in a large variety of colors, including glossy versions.
For the work in this image, I decided to step out of my personal box a little and try applying the paste-paper medium and technique on a sheet of recycled paper I’d made. Ingredients for the recycled paper were cold water, shredded medical records, a page from an old American Airlines flight manual, and a used Lake Hodges kayaking pass. For the colored paste, I used undiluted wall-paper paste and acrylic paint. To make the designs in the colored paste, I used a Speedy Cut rubber stamp and various foam brushes I had around. My fingers stayed mighty tidy.
I think my friend was right in making the finger-painting connection. I’m guessing paste-paper has its roots there.  Just another reason to restore art classes to the early grammar-school curriculum.
Finger-painting, bring it on!!!