It’s nearly spring, and I can’t wait! I’m ready for some warmer weather! This spring has been an especially busy one for me as I’m teaching several art classes and working on my teaching recertification at the same time. My town is also sponsoring a local art contest for adults, so I spent some time preparing for that as well. I love looking at the pastel animals of Lesley Harrison, author of Painting Animals that Touch the Heart. I’ve been trying more with pastels, and here’s my latest piece that I entered in the contest, called Huddle Up.

This contest is juried, which means not every piece will be accepted into the contest. If mine isn’t, I’ll be disappointed, but just for a little while. You see, art is truly in the eye of the beholder – what one person really likes, another may not care for at all. There is a level of technical skill that could be judged, but past that, it’s all very subjective. This became most apparent to me when my children and I entered a contest sponsored by a local bank last year. The entries were to reflect life in the Carolinas, and many of the entries did. The grand prize winner, however, had nothing to do with the Carolinas that I could figure out – I wasn’t even quite sure what the artist was trying to convey.

I found a similar situation online when I was looking at some artwork in oil pastels. The Oil Pastel Society sponsors an annual contest, and last year’s winners were displayed. As I looked through the pieces, I picked out my favorites, some of which won only an honorable mention, some of which won nothing at all. Not that the winners shouldn’t have won – they were just not the pieces I would have chosen. Check them out and see what you think.

These are all important points to remind children when they enter art contests. Art is subjective, the decisions will be subjective, and if your child doesn’t win, they shouldn’t give up. They’ll be disappointed, but it’s good to remember that the real enjoyment is in the creating.

Speaking of contests, you can enter your child’s work (ages 18 and under) in the Art Made Easy Monthly Contest (next deadline: March 31). Because of the large range in ages and abilities, the monthly winners will be chosen by a random drawing of the names of all who entered.

And entering has gotten even easier! Simply go to the contest page to fill out the form and upload a copy of the artwork. Each entry will have its own “web page”, including space for your children to describe their work, what they like about it, what they learned, etc. There’s a “comments” section, too, where grandparents, teachers, and friends can leave words of encouragement.

Also…

The deadline for the State Fish Art Contest for kids in grades 4 – 12 is coming up on March 31st. This is a neat contest where the students not only draw the fish, they learn about them as well, writing up a small essay about its habitat, diet, etc.

Have a great month, and keep creating!

Samantha





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