"Everybody knows a work of art takes at least an hour!" Lucy to Linus, (Peanuts)

FineArtViews Painting Competition - Twice in the Fav 15%

http://canvoo.com/boldbrush/badge/13203 three times selected for FAV15%, Fine Art Views Bold Brush Painting Competition

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Perhaps I am being way off-base here and there might even be a teeny weeny smidgeon of sour grapes going on, but I like to think of myself as more magnanimous than that. Normally I accept rejection with good grace, take off for the nearest den to lick my wounds, and come out to cheerfully congratulate the winners - and actually mean it!  Last year I entered the Blossom Art Competition which has an amazing $25000 top prize and several very nice paying smaller prizes. It is open to anyone world wide so I didn't truly expect to be a winner but I thought I had a good chance of being accepted. When my rejection notice came it was sad but it was ok. I moved on. Then today I found out the winning entries.  You can see them for yourself at 

To say I was underwhelmed is an understatement. The winning work is quite beautiful, lovely, competent, and serenely elegant...and to my mind, ho hum.  I feel I have seen this same sort of painting dozens of times. It would look good in anybody's home. It would look good in my home. I hesitated to state my opinion so publicly but I want some other opinions. If I am being snooty, off-base, and curmudgeonly let me know. I congratulate the winner...I have looked at his site and everything he does is carefully elegant and lovely. 

Above are my two entries to that show. The addition of figures or other elements was allowed as long as the primary focus was flowers.  Perhaps my portraits are taking too much of the attention. As I said, that is fine, I accept the judges ruling regarding my work.  I just was so hoping to see really incredible, phenomenal stuff when they announced the accepted works. I expected to be inspired and wowed. I am the first to admit when I LOVE the work of another artist and there are many of you out there who humble me with your talent. Somehow I feel the judges for this show missed the boat. If you think I am wrong tell me. I can take it. I'm a big girl. I won't cry in front of you...too much.

Now I would like to go to my living room and sit with a bucket of Ben & Jerry's Wavy Gravy except they don't seem to make that anymore and anyway, I'm trying to go vegan. Somehow soy yogurt is not going to do it for me.


  1. I don't think anyone would blame you for your oppinion. I had a quick look at the link and I though the words "ho hum" desciribed the winning painting perfectly. A couple of the catagory prize winners were interesting but if that was the cream of the crop I'm shocked your paintings didn't at least get accepted.

    Oh well, if I were you I'd put the vegan thing on hold for a day and crack out the good ice cream ;)

  2. Thank you Amatheya! Hugs. I needed that! I may need a trip to town for some B & J's...

  3. Hi, Karen,

    Honestly, a couple caught my eye, but most of them, YAWN! I saw more imaginative painting in my first year of art college.

    Karen, you know how I feel about your painting. Your latest painting is magnificent, but you have to remember as in writing, art is subjective. Many, many talented artists are picked over for less talented ones. It has happened for centuries.

    Don't let it bother you... remember you have another exciting exhibit coming up soon. I know you'll do great!


  4. Hey you are talking my language here. I so often see the "winning" selections and am baffled why. I often think safe and boring.
    I would be willingly to bet they passed you over because of the portrait content. LIVE and LEARN..right? But you have to be proud of your work and know that while you didn't fit in their niche, there is an even better niche waiting for you. This exact thing happened to me. I entered a piece of art assemblage that I thought was WOW. And it was barely noticed.
    Then a year later, I had it on etsy and an artist who I admire greatly saw it, and asked if I wanted to submit it to be included in her new upcoming book. YES and it was! I keep it in my collection to remind myself to stay true to my intention and not let others rejection effect my belief in my art.

  5. Karen, Who knows why the judges pick certain paintings. Just had a similar experience in a local show! The subject was to paint scenes around the town which I did then seeing what was picked there were a number of paintings of subjects that could have been anywhere in the world (ie a painting of a sunflower)! Go figure! Don't worry it's not your work.

  6. Hey Karen, I went and checked out the art and must say I too am surprised you weren't accepted. Your work is amazing. I don't find the winner to be "ho hum" but exceptionally beautiful....almost too beautiful and lifeless. To me the rendition of the pottery was right on but the flowers looked flat (not sure if flat is the word I am going for but it's all I can think of). Trust me, it wouldn't look good in my home....not my easy-going country style, too elegant (but flat).

  7. Have been there too Karen and it's such a bittersweet and unexplainable realization. I love your work, so found it difficult to accept the rejections. But competitions are so subjective to the Judges personal taste - shouldn't be but typically is.

    ps If you want company, I'll pull up a chair alongside and eat some of that ice cream with you.

  8. Karen, while I will never put brush to canvas, I developed a lifelong obsession with viewing art as a student in Italy in 1971.

    In the ensuing 40 years (what, I'm 40 years older than 19 :() I have no idea how many museums I have visited how many times, hundreds.

    I can tell you that I've seen everything from Henry Moore's sculpture installation on the Piazzale Michelangelo in Florence to Christo's Gates in Central Park. I've seen Van Gogh at the Met, Picasso/Matisse at MoMa (when it was temporarily housed in Queens), Hassam/Prendergast at the New Britain Museum of American Art, Seurat in Chicago, Marsden Harley at the Wadsworth Atheneum, the Gees Bend Quilts at the Whitney, the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Rivera/Kahlo exhibit at El Museo del Barrio... You get the idea.

    Underwhelming is a kind assessment of the Blossom choices. The winners, in my humble opinion, are only slightly more interesting than the over-the-sofa art offered at places like the Christmas Tree Shops or the unobtrusive color coordinated art found on the walls of most doctors offices.

    I am a faithful reader of American Art Collector, just finished the latest issue, and I always, honestly, always, come away thinking - Karen should be in this magazine. Her artwork is as good as anything here and it would sell!

    I've meant to tell you that, the "Blossom Affair" has given me that opportunity.

    Keep painting, please.

    Love, Janet

  9. Karen, both paintings are gorgeous, and I can't imagine it was anything other than simply this technical parameter you mention that possibly eliminated them, so heck, try a portrait or other competition to see these two through. I hope you submit Chica and Samanda somewhere too, another winner in my book!

  10. Karen, I can understand your disappointment of not having such beautiful work accepted into any show. With the amount of award money being offered for this show I'm sure there was a HUGE number of entries and it was probably a daunting task for the judge to work his/her way through them all. I notice that there is a nice variety of styles, approaches and media in the award winning entries. I feel that all of them were well conceived and executed pieces. I agree with you that there are a few that could be listed as ho-hum. I also agree that few of them wowed me. Judging is so subjective, so I hesitate to add anything further except to say that I do not envy anyone the task of being a judge.


  11. Karen, I didn't see a painting in the group of winners that made me catch my breath and dig in closer to see how it was done like I did with your first painting here. Your paintings are new, fresh and excellent.

  12. Hello there "You"!.... Sorry to haer about your "rejection"... and the disappointment... no...sadness that comes along with it!

    Competitions and juried shows offer an opportunity to fly... to unlock doors... to gain acceptance.

    Conversely however... they also offer "rejection" and disenchantment to even the most talented.... BECAUSE... a jury offers only one opinion and unfortunately those who are rejected in these larger contests never really know or understand the reason why they were rejected.

    I did go to the link a couple of times and looked over the jurors' choices. While I can agree with your observations ie "ho hum" for the Grand Prize award... it is as you said competently... silently... classically crafted.

    All of the others do in my opinion... describe an attempt by the jury to use a variety of criteria to make their choices... it is not heavily weightwed in one aspect at all.

    In looking at your work... it is as ALWAYS beautifully executed and planned... your figure work as always is breath-taking. I believe in your case that is exactly what occurred. Your youthful "blossum" figures and their facial expressions dominate the picture plane despite the beautiful inclusion and handling of the floral aspects. I simply was distracted... and couldn't get away from the faces. A good thing in a portrait competition!

    Feel disappointed Karen... but at the same time feel proud of your work in both of your entries! Re-enter them where they more rightfully belong and have a REAL chance to be at least accepted... and with "LUCK"... these competitions are a form of lottery... a Winner.... maybe!

    Skip the Ben and Jerry's... that's a negative response that will only add another welt (later on the bathroom scales) to your bruised ego. Without ego one cannot make Art. When your "child" is rejected... as a parent you feel it for them ... and for your Self.

    Many of us admire you for your upbeat spirit and your VERY substantial gift...in making portraiture. "You" were a "Winner"... before you entered this competition in our eyes!!!

    Perhaps this wasn't the hug "You" were looking for... but none the less... it is a "HUG" in the sense of unbiased Truth... sent to encourage to get on with your work!

    Good Painting!
    Warmest regards,

    PS Vincent faced nothing but rejection during his own life time. It is only now that we recognize his genius and his commitment to his own beliefs and process. Just a thought!

  13. I recently lost a contest for a Christmas card illustration, while I did receive an honorable mention, I lost to computer generated art, apparently anything done by hand is passe with the judges.
    While recognition is nice and a cash reward even better in these times, never lose sight of the fact that you create because you have a driving need to do so and it brings inner peace.
    Your a winner in my book.
    X David

  14. Thank you all for such forthright and honest comments. I did not do the ice cream (we don't have any and it's too far to go to town in the snow) and anyway, I don't eat a lot of junk food and would only feel guilty. It's time to move on and that is the plan! Love you guys!

  15. karen i LOVE your work, i love both of your entries - especially the second one! your colors and execution to me are magnificent! one day it WILL be your turn and if you win THAT MUCH money you can send me a few dollers! i don't even know how to spell dollors - i haven't seen any for a while! please keep up the inspiring thoughts and work!

  16. Congratulations for your work, your disappointement is very compréhensible, your 2 flowers paintings are so beautiful!

  17. You said what we all have felt at one time or another. One thing about those big $$ prize shows is that they need a lot of entries to raise the prize money. More than can easily be shown sometimes.
    Your paintings are 'different' in a way that I like. Keep up the good work.

  18. I hear you, girl. I think possibly the juror had a 'thing' about portraits being included, no matter what the prospectus said. While I did like many of the prize winners (there were certainly a few I said "HUH?" about, your work should absolutely have been accepted. That being said..... NEXT? Keep moving, girl, keep pushing forward. This was not meant to be. There are other, better things awaiting you and your beautiful work.

  19. Hey Karen, its a real shame your work wasnt accepted. Both pieces are wondefully painted, the lighting ont he first one in particular is wonderful. Looking at the winners, I actually really like the first prize, the realism, the colours and lighting and how your eye moves across the piece so easily. Is it a little boring, well maybe. Should the winner really produce something that is quite unique, something no ones seen before...maybe. Like people have already said art is a subjective thing. Looking at the other winners, some of which I dont think that much of, I can only presume your work has too much focus on the portrait like you say. Because in terms of talent, you are better than many of them. I wouldnt let it get you down, and keep them back to enter in another competition.

  20. Both of these stunners are Winners in my book. Your light on your subjects is always heavenly.
    I know you must be terribly disappointed because it is obvious that so much thought and work went into your compositions (as always) and , of course, the colors and brushwork are exceptional. Hope you ate an entire Gallon of something decadent to swallow the bitter pill!