Last Friday, I entered the Houston Civic Art Association's Greater Houston Open Show. Each artist was allowed to submit up to three paintings. Turns out that all three paintings I submitted won awards; one first place and two honorable mentions, all for portraiture. Because of facebook updates, many of you already know this, and have asked that I include photos of the winning paintings. Thank you all for your kind words and congratulations.
This particular art show was judged from the actual work. On Friday, the artists were asked to submit their work. And then at 5pm on Saturday, we were to come pick up the pieces that weren't selected for the show. Since I never received a phone call saying that my work was selected, I naturally assumed that none of the paintings were selected. I thought that I would be going to the HCAA Gallery to collect my three entries. What a delightful surprise to see ribbons on all three paintings!
The fella who did the judging was still there, and was summoned to critique my work in front of me (and a small crowd of folks who gathered around us.) He gushed over "Symphony in Flesh Tones and Pink" which won first place. He especially liked the eyes in the painting, which was interesting because he said that when he teaches portraiture, he tells his students to never draw or paint the eyes the way I did in that painting. He then looked back and forth from my eyes to the painting's eyes and was further convinced that the reason the eyes were so wonderful in the painting was because I had copied my own eyes. (It's not true.) Then he talked about the brush strokes, and color placement, and the this and the that....such technicalities. A lot of what he was saying was going over my head, even though I was trying really hard to concentrate. Heavens, this was a well regarded professional giving me one on one advice and attention! It started sounding (to me) like the teacher on Charlie Brown cartoons, "wah wah wah wah wah wah." (Focus Sarah. Focus.) At one point he cautioned me to be careful about not letting art instructors influence my style. Well, that one's easy. I don't take lessons.
He critiqued the two honorable mentions in much the same way, though he preferred "First Time at the Rodeo" over "Hilary Holding the Baby." He admitted that he would have given the second place to "First Time at the Rodeo" but felt it only fair to spread out the awards. Even though it was a blind judging, (all artists' signatures were covered,) he could tell that all three paintings were done by the same artist.
The artist reception for the winners is this upcoming Thursday, October 29th from 6 - 8pm at HCAA Art Gallery, 5202 Bissonet. The gallery is located in the Bermuda, I mean, Bellaire Triangle area. For whatever reason I had no trouble finding the gallery on Friday when I dropped off the work, but by the time I went back on Saturday, the gallery seemed to have magically disappeared. What is it with the Bellaire Triangle? Does anyone else have trouble finding things and places in that little triangle of streets?