Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Art Contests - a rant of sorts

Uptown Glassworks
12 x 18 soft pastels on Kitty Wallis white
by Miki Willa
Plein Air Painting

" Create an art piece between 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. on August 22, 2009 in the Art Walk vicinity."
How would you interpret that? These were the instructions for a "Quick draw" contest held in conjunction with an art show this past weekend. While my husband, our son and his wife set up and manned our area, I set up my easel to do a painting of a local landmark "in the Art Walk vicinity." I had a great time painting this wonderful old building, working on perspective, and trying to make it look the way I wanted it to look. After a few hours, I felt it was done and got it ready to enter into the auction and contest. We framed it in the prepared frame we brought for just this painting. I took it down to the entry table to turn it in. I should have suspected something was amiss when the people manning the table had no idea what they were to do with the painting.
It turns out I really misinterpreted the rules for the contest. "In the Art Walk vicinity" meant only that you had to paint whatever you painted in the area that day, but it really didn't matter what you painted. It didn't have to have any relationship to the area whatsoever. I don't mind not winning art contests as long as I feel that the same criteria have been applied to every entry. Perhaps I should have verified exactly what they meant. Now, I can see just how vague the statement is. I also didn't realize that friendship counted. Being new in the area, I haven't established friendships in the local arts groups. Oh well, live and learn.
We will be moving on from the venues in this area. There is a good market there for our son's glass art, but none for our pastel art. It will take time to learn about the local market. In Hawai'i, people bought art with different things in mind than people in the PNW, it seems. It also doesn't help that the economy is affecting art purchases. I have observed that art that serves a second purpose is more marketable right now.
In the meantime, I will add the painting of Uptown Glassworks to my glass making series. I have a nice collection of Hugh's glass, and Tom hung some of the paintings above the mantle where a few pieces are displayed. I like the way it looks as it is all tied together. While I had a difficult time with the contest, I had a wonderful day painting and adding to this series.


Willa said...

I am sorry your experience was so painful. I think you are right about finding your niche - don't give up. I agree the mainland is a different place than Hawaii...

I am curious though about your statement "art that fills a second purpose". Doesn't all art do that - be it filling a space on a wall, or making a plate more beautiful, or making a garment more fun to wear?

Tom Willa said...

Maybe it is because people who live around Renton like to think of themselves as Seattlites or from near Bellvue. The art elite how many times do you think that has happened over the years? You have captured a local landmarks, when we at the River Days people seemed disapppointed that one your painting acutally was from Renton. LOL

Elena said...

I think it's a wonderful painting captured in such a short time. Don't get disgusted; you're alot gutsier than I am with pursuing your art and putting it out there in fairs and contests.

april said...

Your painting is an absolute winner! And to do such a lovely finished job in that time span. It's beautiful! By the way, i would have interpreted the instructions the same as you did.