Friday, August 1, 2014

Pink and Amber

Pink and Amber, 11x14" oil/linen, ©Diane Mannion

How I Judge A Work of Art

I was invited to judge an art exhibition at the Visual Arts Center Punta Gorda and asked to show up for the opening reception last night.  Afterwards, an artist asked why her abstract painting wasn't selected but another one was.  Then she asked me to crit her work... I'm honest with my opinions and also attempt to explain why.  It was a good question and I hope she understood what my ideas about realism and abstraction are all about.

I believe that behind every good painting or craft... realistic or abstract... the basic ideas of visual language, the music of seeing, the joy (or angst as some artists prefer to exhibit)... come into play.  A painting has to have something that visually sounds like a song or compelling piece of music.  Color, light, composition are the elements that make up a good painting... whether realistic or abstract.  A fine work of art must have a feeling of life!

When judging, I need to see the results of concentrated study, practice, and skill necessary to create a valid piece of art or craft.  Another analogy could be watching a dancer perform with grace and skill.  Sometimes, it's a natural talent, but even this has to be fine-tuned with hours and hours of rehearsal and practice.  A good artist never stops growing, learning, and practicing... a life-long process!

This is the value-sketch of Pink and Amber.  Behind every good painting are the abstract bones of value, composition, and rhythm.  Value does the work, color gets the credit!
Putting your work OUT THERE is an important stage of every artist's journey, unless you're content with hanging on your mom's refrigerator door, or decorating your own walls.  Every artist that enters an exhibit is a winner whether they win a ribbon or not!  And no one ever agrees with the judge's decisions... unless of course, they won first prize.  Congratulations to Nancy Colby!


2 comments:

Matthew Chinian said...


Well said, Diane. I like the "like a song" reference. I'm often thinking that whatever I paint, it's just an excuse to arrange lines and shapes and colors......

Diane Mannion said...

Yes, Matthew... you know what it takes and you've got it!