submissions for a merit exhibition

This morning I submitted three paintings for the Western Cape Watercolour Group annual merit exhibition.  It is unfortunate that they are holding this at the same time as my show in the Nature Reserve but it worked out OK because I was keen to submit the figures I have done.

The first was the two girls looking at photos shown here with a midnight mounting job:


In the end I decided not to crop the painting.  This was accepted.  The other two were not.  They were quite tough in the evaluation which is really great.  Prof (I think) Louw Erasmus who ran a top art school, gave me feedback.

I submitted this nude, painted from a photo,  which I have shown on my figures page:


Louw said that the colours were great.  He liked the saturated colours in the figure.  But the background should have also had strong colour to support the figure.  As it is it has a ‘pasted-on’ look that I have read about in Charles Reid’s books.  Good feedback.  One of the other judges said the scarf should be blowing the other way, which is neither here nor there I thought.

I also submitted another nude that they liked but took out in the last round of judging:


Louw said the painting was technically excellent but the pose was too stiff.    A model would not be able to hold such a pose long enough to paint.  Also comes from painting from photos.  Useful feedback all round.

17 thoughts on “submissions for a merit exhibition

    • Thanks Leslie – I have just looked at the criteria they used to judge the submissions:
      – Good use of colour
      – Interesting use of composition
      – exciting watercolour technique
      – subject matter (nudes may be an issue here)
      – good drawing technique
      There is work I want to do in all of these areas. And there are paintings I could have submitted that may have been succesful. But I really wanted to put in the figures.

  1. Hi Stephen

    I’m pleased for you getting accepted.

    I wouldn’t particularly agree that the figure needs more saturated color in the background. I think the lighter tone means the figure stands out with more more simplcity which it needs to avoid any possibility of sentimentality. I actually like that more hard edged look which you’re refering to as “pasted on”. And I definately don’t think the scarf needs to be the other way – you’d lose the zig zag of the arms & scarf. I do agree about the saturated colors though!

    • Thanks Sonya. I appreciate your comments so much. I woke up thinking about the feedback and whether I agree. I like the painting as it is. There is a lot of subjectivity in this but I know one of the judges has been around for a long time and is an excellent artist so I don’t want to fall into the trap of anti-learning. So I am going to rest with it a while. I have registered with the where there are a bunch of tip-top artists and when I have sorted out my avatar and stuff will start posting to get their input too. These are guys who are publishing comics and stuff and they are wonderfully blunt with each other.

  2. Bah! There are too many ‘shoulds’ and ‘shouldn’ts’ in art. They’re all great in different ways and I don’t think the last woman is too stiff either. Well done for getting a painting accepted though, that must be a thrilling feeling.

    • I agree with June. You will always find someone who doesn’t like your work and someone who does. Quite frankly, jurors have a difficult task to do. They select art, to the best of their abilities. I doubt, Charles Reid would have jured your show the same way as these jurors. I have stood and watched rejected work go out the door at one local show and seen accomplished artists be rejected. So, everything is relative. I think learning new ways to express yourself is a good thing and picking up technique is another good thing. Learning from one another is a good thing. Looking for critiques is one of the most dangerous things you can do because you will open yourself up to a confusing myriad of directions. If you want critique, find a mentor, whose work you admire. Ask him to critique you. He will, most times, respect your style, sense your creativity and aspirations and actually be of positive assistance.

      • PS I also agree with Sonya. LOVE the silk scarve blowing the direction it is… and that painting will get in a show you enter enough of them. So will the bottom one……

      • I’d love to say I was, but that really isn’t the case. I learned the above the hard way, by entering many shows, listening to many viewpoints wide and varied and becoming totally confused. I just think there is a world of difference between someone who is assisting someone on their journey and someone who is judging a final project. You are doing great!

      • That is such a useful distinction – one that I will take into my other life as a consultant. And this is what you do so well. There is that point at which someone just needs a leg-up and an optimistic nod – when so often they get some realistic, tough, well-meant and debilitating criticism – tops Leslie

      • Well – this comments obviously comes from experience and reflection. Thank you for this wisdom. I agree with all of this. I think juried shows are OK as long as I don’t choose to set to great a store by what is said and decided. Your comment on a mentor is spot on. I intend to plug along as I have been doing.

        Having fellow travellers such as you guys is heartening and precious.

        thanks to all of you.


  3. Yes it is exciting – I agree with you. There are many people who have set themselves up as the arbiters of perfection in art. Of course there are some principles but they seem to be so different for different artists. Thanks for your comments.

  4. congrats Stephen! I think that they all are great. So glad that a piece was accepted, you are so deserving.
    I really love the piece that got in. It is so intriguing! WHAT ARE THEY LOOKING AT! A very intimate moment, witnessed by the voyeur.

    All the best!


    • Thanks Maria – yes this has worked for the best – I like this work as well. Franschoek is such a picturesque town, it could be anything. I took a photo thinking it could be a lovely painting but it really is intimate as you say.

  5. Boy, I’m not on line for a few days and look at everything I’m missing!

    Congratulations on getting accepted into the show. And, like June says, Bah to the judges who say you should do this and shouldn’t do that. I

    • right on – I suspect the judgement includes a decision not to include nudes – but there are also inputs for me to consider – it has been so good having the discussion here. I am coming to see your latest work

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s