Never Enough, 14x11, mixed media, $395

I freely admit that I enter too many juried shows. But i enjoy the contest, and there is the hope (sometimes faint) that my work will be accepted. Last Fall I had been experimenting with encaustics and produced some watercolor/collages that i coated with beeswax. To make a long story short, the above painting was one of three that I entered into an out-of-state juried show and recently received a denial. I was not particularly upset by this because I have gotten used to rejections!

But I also like to ponder the “why” of the refusal in order to maximize acceptances in the future. First I take a close look at the painting. Sometimes a more objective look reveals composition or value pattern flaws. Sometimes I have been too eager to submit works that were not of exhibit caliber. When i look back at paintings I entered when I was first starting out, I am mildly mortified because now after years of painting I have acquired the ability to see the problem with the piece. .

Maybe the work just lacks a “wow” factor that would impress a judge who has many, many paintings to consider. Also I have read that it is never a good idea to submit a painting that is too much like the juror’s own work, for the simple reason that one can (almost) never be as good as the judge in that genre.  Another factor to consider is the venue. For instance a gallery may lean toward realism or abstraction or conceptual or any other type of art. But sometimes it just comes down to luck, and whether the juror “liked” the work, because there is really no accepted definition of what is art.

But what about the encaustic here?  I think it was a combination of factors that resulted in the rejection. I was excited about a new direction, and the entry was probably premature. The work is a little too offbeat. The dark paint under the face looks a little that I look closer. But being a gambler, I went ahead and entered the same three works in a local show and I promise to reveal the outcome in my next post.