Mike Barr Art Blog
I know this sounds like somewhat of a cliche, but staying true to yourself as far as your artwork is concerned is good for the soul and your work.
I know I'm not the only artist in the world to be downright annoyed at some of the aweful work that gets the nod at big-money events. I'm not just talking about the winning paintings, but stuff that gets into final 100 or so.
Recently, entries closed for this year's Waterhouse Prize in South Australia. A very big art event that is held every year at the museum. Every year amazing works are seen at this exhibition, but there is always the shocker. The work that no one can understand the reasons why it made the cut. Last year was no exception! Have a look at the link here http://www.thewaterhouse.com.au/page/default.asp?site=1&page=cat1_final&year=2008 and look at some of the amazing paintings on show. For the point of this blog piece though, scroll down to the plain light blue panel. Yes, it took two artists to paint a plain blue canvas, and, it made it into the final few out of hundred of entries. Can you imagine the look of horror on artist's faces as they saw this work hanging there?
Some artists vowed to boycott the next show. Others suggested they paint a black canvas and call it 'night'. Some wrote letters to editors and others wrote articles in art society newsletters about it. As for me, I determined to paint something completey silly to see if I could get acceptance that way. And I did paint something that just wasn't me. An abstract moonlit night. It looked aweful and it didn't give me any sense of achievement. I knew I couldn't enter the painting in good faith.
The next evening I turned the work into a more traditional one and in my style. It's the painting shown at the begining of this blog. It still didn't make it into the show, but I was happy with the way it turned out and in the end I knew I had been true to myself and will be happy to show the work in my next show.
There are times when we just have to put the blinkers on and not be distracted by what seems to be the flavour of the month. Do what you do best - your own work! Painting for judges is a one-way ticket to disappointment.
We need to be comfortable with putting a signature to our paintings, after all, it is our seal of approval and we can't truly do that if we paint something we really dont like!