Tuesday, March 4, 2008


Since I've started to show my art, I only went for safe shows. The ones that are member shows, to which you get automatically accepted, as there is no jurying process. Actually, this show was kinda juried, as if you entered 3 artworks you were guaranteed one in, but the others could be rejected.

WackieM keeps telling me, "It's about time you added some rejections to your resume!", but I keep stalling.

I think I still carry the scars from that first time I tried entering a juried show,. It was about 5 years ago, with a collage I created - and it was rejected. It was supposed to be my very first show as a painter, and I got so discouraged, that I went home and threw away that piece as well as all the other canvases I painted (I used to paint acrylics back then). Not only that, I also deleted the photos I took of them. Went for the scorched earth method, big time. I was new into art, and I thought the rejection was a clear message that I am not good enough. Luckily, I took Mike's incredible class, and that got back to painting, big time.

Me? Emotional? no................. How can you say that?

I thought jurors and judges of art shows are the ultimate authority, and their choice can be a significant input on my artistic skills. Little did I know... Since then I have seen many shows, been in some, got a couple of awards, and above all - learned that selecting paintings in a juried show or selecting the award winners is a subjective matter that has a lot to do with personal taste. unless you type the criteria into a computer and let it do the choosing, personal taste will always be a significant of the choice. Can't escape that.

Now that I am wiser, I can only kick myself for responding so strongly (and oh so stupidly) to that rejection. Looking back after all I know about color and design, I now know the collage that was rejected was a good one. I did it right after the first Cirque Du Soleil show I went to (the unforgettable Varekai), so it was fresh and personal and expressive - well, damn good! And I don't even have the photo, as I deleted that as well. But I'll always have it burnt in my mind.

So - our organization is now having a juried show, for the first time in 20 years or so. Why juried? 'cause in our quest to find better venues for our members (as in not just a library, a cafe or an abandoned building...), we managed to get into Gallery Saratoga, a place that has a lot of foot traffic, in the quaint downtown of Saratoga. We were given one long wall in the gallery (and then granted another small space), that can only hold about 25 pieces - even after limiting the size of the paintings. We had 50 entries, which meant that 50% will be rejected. Artists could enter one or two pieces, and since I handled the registration, I was blessed with headaches galore due to the constant repeating of the rules and size limits to people over and over again, as sooooooooooo many artists do not bother to read and follow instructions. So, that was a joyous fortnight full of hair-tearing and a lot of cussing.

I also volunteered to help hang the show. I love hanging shows! While exhausting, is so very satisfying to start with a bunch of paintings scattered around and end up with a nice colorful jigsaw puzzle where all the pieces fit harmoniously together.

Between these, I was very aware of the fact my paintings might not make it in, in which case it means I am doing all the work for a show in which I have none of my work.

Tough call, eh?

Going to the gallery on Monday morning, my fears increased, as there were so many good paintings there! We all seemed nervous, including our exhibits co-chairs who organized the show - nobody knew who's gonna be in and who will end up carrying the paintings back to the car. So we all registered our paintings, leaning them against the bare wall of the gallery, and those of us who were in the hanging team went to have lunch, leaving the 3 jurors to do their job. The jurors were former presidents of our organization (which means some day I may be asked to do this too), and they are very sweet women, but when they were doing the jurying, boy did they seem tough! Examining each and every painting with scrutinizing eyes, critiquing it and deciding which will stay and which will go. I wish I were a fly on the wall, so I could see how they did it. By the time were allowed back into the gallery, I was just curious to see which paintings made it in. I was also glad I did not need to do the jurying - as far as I saw, all the paintings were good, and selection must have been tough.

Well, to my surprise and delight, both my paintings made it. The show is named "Let It Shine", to celebrate the approaching spring, and it's looking good!


Tracy Wandling said...

CONGRATULATIONS!!! You must be thrilled! I know I would be...if I had the guts to do it. I like them both too...really beautiful stuff.

Mike said...

Niiiice!!! Congrats, Nava. I can see you beaming from here!

Keep up the good work!

RHCarpenter said...

Congrats, Nava! I really really really like that Kunnanura(?) scape painting. It pulls me in and makes me want to go wandering inside it. I like the portrait, also, but this one was new to me and it's a GOOD one!!

Anonymous said...

Nava, this is a gorgeous abstract! I want to learn to do this!

Nava said...

Thank you all. I see the Kunnunura one is getting popular - it was fun to paint, especially since it's a scene from one of our favorite places on our trip to Australia 4.5 years ago.