Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Art competitions; a necessary evil?

After a lot of deliberation, I have decided to enter the BP portrait competition. I was deliberating as I have entered once before, but didn't get in, and have had quite a few rejections from more local competitions over the years. For the BP though, there is really only about a 2% chance of getting shown (never mind winning) but the standard of the work is usually extremely high. I feel it is worth doing, as if I got shown, I would at least feel highly honoured.

In general, I find competitions particularly difficult to choose work for, as there are a few factors that I can't get out of my mind when painting; how much it is costing and whether the painting will be good enough, or liked enough. There is always a terrible temptation to dumb down what you do and be more safe, more classic, more grey etc. in a bid to be liked by the Art Societies in question.

In reality, art is often rejected, not because it isn't any good (as I saw some lovely work on reject day at the SSA) but how much space an organisation has left over after all the VIPs have been hung. With dwindling budgets and societies getting squeezed for wall space, this situation will only get worse, meaning that the public will get the chance to see less work from new artists, and more work from the members of the old boys club. I realise I probably sound a little cynical, but having work rejected, only to sell it the following week, tells me that there must be another reason, above quality, on why my work is not being picked for the national shows.

So, back to the BP. I have decided to portray my long suffering husband, Trevor. The only way I could get him to sit for more than 5 seconds, was to draw him while he was watching Top Gear and Horizon. He felt deliciously naughty watching TV in the afternoon! Of course, the dog had to get in on the action and will be in the painting too. Keep and eye on this page for developments.

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