As the editor of Artist Daily, I constantly experience art
on the screen of my computer. It just isn't possible for me to go everywhere to
see everything that I would like to in person, but images in any given online
art gallery or art blog have come a long way in terms of quality and the
ability to see texture and movement of paint on the surface.
|Insh'allah by Marittie de Villiers, acrylic on canvas, 59 x 59.
Experiencing paintings and drawings this way has made me
hypersensitive about looking for telltale signs of how a work's surface appears
and visually feels. For any given painting, I search for indications
about how the brushstrokes are applied in relation to the subject of the work.
I ask myself, where and why does my eye go first when looking at a painting?
Second? Third? Answering these questions allows me to better understand the
artwork even if I'm not able to actually stand in front of it.
I also love to see that the brushwork or mark-making has
been honed--that there is a strong skill with blending in places of transition
and that passages with daubed applications or broken areas of gradation or
color show me something interesting about the artist's gestures. But I also
want to be surprised. Color, composition, and subject matter can all play a
part in giving a painting or drawing the 'wow' factor that makes it memorable.
As a fledgling, wannabe artist, studying art this way helps
me actively teach myself about art techniques that I observe, no matter where
or how I see a work. But these aspects of any given painting or drawing are
also like a crib sheet for what judges look for and respond to in art
competitions. They are certainly what I look for when I'm curating shows and
making exhibition selections and paneling competitions, and I'm thrilled that I
can announce that American Artist
magazine's art competitions for this year have arrived and are accepting
submissions right now.
There's the American
Artist Show Us Your Very Best art competition and the 75th Anniversary exhibition competition, Drawing magazine's Shades of Gray
drawing competition, and Watercolor
magazine's What Do You Love competition. All four have notable editors and
artists evaluating the submissions. I encourage all of you at Artist Daily to
participate with a few of your top works. You've already got an insider's take
on what it takes to impress, so take advantage of it and good luck!