Take it on the Chin Girl

Having prepared a lot of paintings for the “Mordros” exhibition, I decided it was a good opportunity to have a go at getting into the Westward Ho and Bideford Art Society. 6 paintings had to be presented for selection and scrutinising in front of a committee of RA members.

“Work submitted in application for Exhibiting membership of the Society should show a consistency of quality in all pieces, as well as a clear understanding and appreciation of the chosen media. The Committee looks for a clear artistic identity running through all the work”. Ok. With two seascapes and four panoramic seascapes, I think these fit the bill.

Having left them in the judging room, we returned to discover my fate; either a big A (accepted) or big R (rejected). Mine had neither? I was really disappointed to find it had been a split decision over my acceptance. Don was absolutely gutted for me as I was told I had not been accepted. In other words rejected…. this time; but encouraged to try again! I went having no expectations and decided that whatever, I would take it on the chin as I had already heard the standards were off the scale of being high.

Artists are given feedback and ‘constructive criticism’ by the secretary in front of everyone, whether you agree or not, going into great detail about presentation of work and that the mount cuts had to be absolutely perfect. What’s being judged here…. the art or the framing? I knew my framing from Ian and Sally at Kilk was of the highest standard and shows my work off to its best. Apparently, I am tackling one of the hardest subjects to get right i.e. seascape with the correct perspective and light conditions. The paintings I thought I had got spot on were the ones they had issue with which was surprising to say the least. Other artists leaving the room listening to the feedback I was being given, were all saying what amazing work it was.Whether out of embarrassment for me or trying to bolster my confidence, I think they genuinely could not see why I hadn’t been accepted and agreed that the whole thing is very subjective to each judge.

So … did I set myself up for a fall just before a major solo exhibition. In one way, putting work before a panel of judges goes against everything I believe in and tell others to do. To paint with your heart and let your instinct lead. So that begs the question – Why did I do it.? Having thought about this, I think that because I am self- taught and have not had the formal training of many artists, I wanted some recognition and to be a part of something. Will I try a simpler approach and subject? NO!! I will carry on painting what I love and feeds my soul. From the feedback I get I know it connects to other people too. It’s not a case of stuff them either though.

No sour grapes. I might try again next year. I have set my self a challenge now. And I think through painting practice you do discover new things and are learning all the time, so maybe it will make me strive for that perfection and beauty. As the saying goes, ” Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”, so perhaps next years judges will have a completely different opinion.

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