What Art Show Judges Look For - Craig Penny

Following your initial viewing of all the works in the Art Show what is your next step in the Judging process?

I find the paintings, whether big or small and whatever medium, that have an impact on me.

What are the most important aspects you look for in each painting?

For me it the use of the medium. A good judge should have knowledge of several mediums and be aware of the disciplines involved. There are of course other elements such as creativity, composition and the use of colour.

Do you have a view on a work that is technically correct as opposed to one that presents an emotional journey?

I think a painting must have both of these elements.

It boils down to knowing your medium, getting the best out it and then being able to give a painting as much integrity as possible.

Do you think presentation is important with good framing and use of mats, what about stretched canvases?

Presentation is crucial in presenting a piece of artwork.

Get it wrong and it can detract from the artwork.

When framing with matt boards, the painting needs be able to speak for itself and not compete with the frame.

This is a big consideration with today’s modern open spaces, décor and neutral colours.

A stretched canvas can hang on its own without any frame in the right environment, provided that wooden stretcher bars don’t warp. They need to be good quality.

Can you offer three important guidelines to Artists in their choice of subject matter?

Choosing a subject is very personal and for this very reason it is up to the artist, but my guidelines would be

  1. A subject that has a visual impact on you
  2. A subject that you passionate about painting
  3. A subject that allows you to be creative and interpretive

What work, in your opinion, is likely to create an instant impression in an Art Show?

There are many wonderful paintings in all art shows.

For me, it is a painting that depicts some sort of instant emotion.

This is very broad I know, but it could be the energy in the brush strokes, the flow of paint, the use of color or the depiction of light.

Traditional works still have a place but is the trend growing towards more progressive productions?

It is my opinion that there is a trend for buyers to purchase to suit their décor. More than ever, I think it there is a need for artists to know their market.

What about pricing, are Artists pricing themselves out of sales and do you have any guidelines to offer?

Pricing is a difficult one, particularly if you are new to exhibiting.

The bigger the reputation and status as an artist the more you can ask.

I suggest designing a pricing formula, one that is proportionate with a small, medium and large painting.

Cover framing costs if any, value your art work so it offers value for money and then consider the commission.

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