Tuesday, March 9, 2010

What do awards really mean?

Today's blog came about because I listended to two of my students bemoan the fact that they haven't received awards at the shows they have entered. It seems to be a re-current theme among aritst that enter shows. I have heard several of my artist friends who are devastated by the fact that they don't win awards.
What is it about awards that make our lives so centered around whether we "win" or "lose". When did it happen that it became more about the award and less about the art? Don't get me wrong awards are great. They are a validatioin that for that piece, on that day, someone thought your art was a stand out from the rest.
What I think we forget sometimes is that awards are someone's opinion about our work and the work of others in that particular show. What I think should be more important is how you view your work. Is it the best you could have produced? Does the composition and values work well for the concept? Are you proud of this piece? Is the drawing accurate? Does the art "say" what you wanted to say when you produced this piece? Does this piece move you and therefore your audience?
Art in the long run is a personal journey of each artist. Enjoy the journey and the process and your art will always be an "award" winner.
Happy painting,


  1. OK Jennylynne, but I have to say I won a BLue Ribbon last night at the GKCAA, first time in pastel. I did the drawing yesterday and entered it last night! It does feel good to have that validation that others appreciate what you do...not so much the prize as the kudos. Anyway sometimes it can spur us on to push our craft farther, just a thought.

  2. What a great comment!

    For me, attempting entry into a gallery requires some kind of placing in a show . . . which, I'm still working on! :-) But, one of the greatest artists of contemporary time (when I interviewed him up in Maine a while back) said that the problem with Juried Shows is that it will become a trap for the growing artist . . . it turns out that we often spend our time working for shows. He said, focus on the growth, and the accolades seem to come anyway. Just a thought. :-)