It is always a difficult job awarding achievements for fine art, for competition is not the purpose of art. However, there are great benefits to acknowledging particular levels of achievement. More difficult still is judging a show with a wide variety of subjects and styles. I have produced a wide variety of works during my career, utilizing a wide variety of subject matter and styles - so although I have become known for my realism - I have also produced non-objective abstractions, and do not inherently value one over the other. It has been my experience that striving to produce abstractions strengthens one's representational efforts, and vice-versa. So how does one rate an abstraction against a representational painting? My process is to largely set aside subject matter and stylistic approach, and take things on a more visceral point of view: mood, atmosphere, emotional impact, etc.. Overall strength of design and handling of media have a great consideration as to awarding of effort.
Though there were a few standouts, there were no entries without merit, and, in fact, all submissions had certain strengths, and could have received some form of merit.
"Best of Show" Afternoon Sunshine, an intimate interior, was selected for its mood, subtlety of light, and nuanced handling of medium.
"First Place" Oils: Trees, a highly textured surface with a relatively shallow depth of field, and strong color harmony.
"First Place" Graphics: Magnolia, was chosen for its design strength, drawing skill, and consistent color palette as well as handling of medium.
"First Place" Miscellaneous: Winter Solace, a landscape with a satisfying composition emphasizing movement, adept handling of paint, and consistent atmosphere.
I have long said that winning a particular award in an art competition should be kept in the context that it is a subjective opinion, and it is only the cumulative effect of a resume that eventually has impact.
Thank you for inviting me to serve as judge for the Spring Arts Festival; it was a pleasure viewing the artwork.
Daniel Mark Cassity
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