Chicago area artist Stephen Puttrich recently posted on Facebook the following:
Don't just paint beautifully, move me. Don't just paint largely, connect me. Don't just paint boldly, encourage me. It's not how beautiful the artist's painting is, but how wonderfully moved the viewer is that encounters it. It's not how confident the artist feels after painting, but how deeply connected the viewer is that remembers it. It's not how bold the artist's painting is, but how encouraged the viewer now is in living a bolder life. Paint it beautifully, and move me. Paint it largely, and connect me. Paint it boldly, and encourage me.
How fitting. So many artists write and send me images wondering why their paintings did not get into competitions. Now, I must admit, I don't enter National competitions very often. The whole "shipping / excess storage fee" thing usually stops me. But I will enter competions that I can drive work to. I'd rather sell my work directly, and luckily, I've been fortunate enough to do so over these last few years. But I may forage into the world of National competitions one of these days.
Still, I often tell artists that a judge or juror's opinions are very subjective. I remember being rejected by Chen Khee Chee for a competition and when I spoke to Chen Khee about it, he said he remembered my painting - he said it was masterfully executed, the composition was strong... it made it through those first two cuts. But in his final cut, he only selected what caused him strong emotion... and he just didn't "feel" strongly about still life paintings of glass (that particular work has since won a Best of Show and has been sold). So, when reading these words... move me, connect me, encourage me... it all makes sense. "Its not how confident the artist feels after painting, but how deeply connected the viewer is that remembers it". I love that quote.