When we first realize that we want to draw or paint or make collages, our focus is on learning as many techniques as we can, on practicing and honing our skills. Then one day a friend says, “Wow, that’s really good, you should enter it in a show.” Being our own worst critics we modestly declare that it’s really not that good, and we need more practice, more classes, more time etc. etc. But that little niggling voice keeps saying, “Maybe it is that good, maybe I should enter a show.” So we screw up our courage and take the plunge. First we find a show that isn’t juried, then another and another. Our confidence builds and finally we decide it’s time to enter a juried show. The work is finished, the frame looks great, we have visions of a first place ribbon hanging in our studio. Unfortunately, the judge doesn’t share our enthusiasm. The piece doesn’t get in.
At first, you are devastated. I knew it, I stink! Why did I ever think I could be an artist. But if you’re lucky someone more experienced will come along and tell you her story – about how many shows she entered before she finally got one accepted. About how eventually almost all of her work was accepted and about how finally she won her first ribbon – only an honorable mention but it was a ribbon. She will tell you not to allow any other person to make judgements about the value of your work – it has value because it is a part of you and who you are. She will tell you that regardless of what criteria a judge uses, the bottom line is that selection is subjective. What one judge rejects, another will love. And, if you are wise you will take heart, keep making art and enter another show. Your time will come.