Monday, July 26, 2010

Entering Art Shows, Part 1 - Will I do this?

Everyone loves positive feedback. And we all want acknowledgement for our work. The desire to join other artists in displaying our work is strong. Almost overwhelming, in fact.

How Will You Do This?

Last week I talked about some on-line sites I have enjoyed displaying my art and viewing other peoples work. I do this often, and love it. But there are other options and venues in the real world.

Art shows are a good way to get started and try and put forth our art in a small way. Usually participation is limited to a few works or just one. You do not need a large body of work, as you would for an individual show. But you also need to conform to the organizing person or organization’s thoughts on that show.

Some shows are just general art shows. Many organizations hold a spring or summer art show, where there are a variety of styles and subject matters displayed. Others have a special theme or reason for the display, such as breast cancer awareness or help for victims of domestic violence. Whether or not you wish to join in these events depends on what you expect to get out of it and how strongly you feel about the organization or cause behind the show.

But each show represents a lot of work on the part of the organizers and a lot of commitment. (Some say we should be committed!) People who run these shows care about them. And you should too. Look into sharing your artwork with groups and people who share your commitment to fine art and to the causes you believe in.

Monday, July 19, 2010

How To Get Feedback On Your Artwork

The first time you open your sketchbook and willing share what you have struggled with for maybe hours with someone else can be the most traumatic time in your artistic life! It is bad enough if you are sitting, sketching in public, maybe simply doodling while waiting for something and a stranger comment on your work.

But when you hang yourself out there to someone whose opinion matters, well, that is stress! So even more terrifying can be to deliberately show your work to an uncaring public, via the ART SHOW.

But sooner or later, you will be compelled to show why you cannot get any clothes in the closet! You will drag all those canvases, sketchpads and boxes of papers out into the bright light of the world and decide to exhibit.

Many start by simply entering a local art show or exhibition. Some go the arts and craft fair routine. But either way, putting it up in public is a normal right of passage for most artists.

Today, there is another option available to the beginner and professional like, the on-line forum or gallery.

A lot of artists are content to set up a small website for their work, and never seem compelled to do more. Others regularly enter on-line contests and shows, while many are active in a forum, both showing their work and critiquing others. This can be a good way to learn and develop a more critical eye if you can get constructive criticism by people who will take the time to really look. This is not impossible on line, and there are many forums for this purpose. My own favorite forums are the Painting and Drawing/sketching sites on,

But I am a frequent visitor to wet-canvas also. Recently, I have joined the primsa color site,

posting the work I am doing in colored pencil, and I have long been a member of Corel’s forums. Each of these groups offers support and practical advice when you face the inevitable problems with any medium.

Sites to show your artwork

Of course, there are tons of artists on Facebook, and I meet many of my art friends there, but most of them, I met elsewhere, and we meet up again on facebook. Facebook is good for connecting with those you already know, and there are galleries available, but remember, these do have limits. While the average person might not reach those limits, this is easy to do for an artist! Also, while facebook helps you keep connected, it is not the best place for critique and feedback. Forums provide a better intereaction between artists.

What are your favorite art sites? where do you go for Critique

Monday, July 12, 2010

Photography as Fine Art

It is gratifying to see the reactions to real fine art photography, to know that we really showed them the art in it. All of the submitted photos show great creativity. I think the caliber of the work enter this year far surpasses last years entries, even if the number was down.

Each and every piece showed that the artist really thought about it. These are not simply what they had on hand, but executed and mounted with this challenge in mind. And it was a difficult challenge for photographers, to feature and work with color complements.
But that is what art is all about, problem solving. We take the problem of how to express what we want, consider our medium and then work out our own particular solution.

This past Sunday we had our opening reception for the annual Fine Art Photography show. It is a great show. The artists who took up the challenge to work with color complements through photograhy showed great courage and creativity. The many solutions they came up with shows that it was not an impossible task.

Still, many photographers stuggle to be taken seriously as artists.

It can be disheartening when other artists denigrate photography as a medium. I know a few painters who feel that photographers should not be accorded the same respect as any other artist. That somehow, the very “ease” with which they create art somehow lowers it value as art. Even collage artists are accorded more respect.

Many art show do not accept photography in their show, or put it in another area and category. Yes, photography is the red-headed step child of the art world.

But it takes more than simply snapping the shutter to create a true work of art in photography. It takes vision, patience and hard work.

When I set up a still life for drawing or painting, I can play with the arrangement, colors and lighting on my canvas. I can fiddle with the background or eliminate it completely. But when I set up a still life in photography, I have to look it over very, very carefully. I have to look at it from all angles, see not just the objects, but how they fit together, and if anything else is in the picture that I might need to eliminate.

Then when the picture is take, the real work begins.

As has always been true, much of the artistry happens in the darkroom. Today, more and more photographers work in the virtual dark room, but the work still has to happen. Now, instead of chemical baths, we have software and filters and effects, but the artist still has to know which filter to apply, in what order and how much.

Then there is the output, the physical photograph. Today there are more choices here, and each effects the perception of the work. What are you going to print it on? Photographic paper? One of the newer art papers? Textured papers or even fabric? And then presentation. Matted and framed? Size of the mat, color, frame. Each choice effects how the work is viewed.

And these are not simply technical decisions, but the kind of choices all artist must make to make sure the work conveys the meaning the artist is trying to get across.

So for the most part, this show for me is a labor of love. Love of art and my fellow art photographers.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Show is Hung

All the Photos are up, and the judging is done. All that that remains is the opening reception for 2nd Annual Fine Art Photography Exhibition. The reception will be this Sunday, July 11, 2010 at The Renaissance Art Gallery. Awards will be announced at this time along with the awarding of prices. Reception is from 2-4 PM in the Kumkum Majundar exhibition Hall, part of The Renaissance Art Gallery. The room is located on the ground floor of the former Huntington High School building, corner of 8th Street and 9th Avenue. The reception is free and open to the public.

This year’s show focuses on the use of complimentary colors in photography. There is a high standard of work, with many innovative and new photography forms. This is the perfect opportunity to see what is happening in fine art photography today. The art in this show will hang until August 1, 2010.

It was a hard show to sell, hard to get artists to accept the challenge. Although there are fewer entries this year, the quality of work is rather better than last years. These are the real artists among the local photographers, those up to a challenge, who look through their lens for more than a pretty picture, but for artistic expression.