I was honoured to be invited as part of the selection panel for the Woking Art Society Annual Spring Exhibition this year. I arrived to meet the other panel members this morning and walked into the holding room of all the exhibition paintings. All ready for the selection process. I hadn't met the other two judges before or visited The Lightbox in Woking where the exhibition is to take place. The warm greeting I received made me feel welcome from the minute I walked through the door .
Selecting art for an exhibition is not an easy process. You know what your criteria is beforehand when selecting art for a show but often at these events the wall space limited. So even if you fell in love with every painting there is not always enough room to hang them all.
As a successful Art Society, Woking members had submitted a diverse collection of art with fantastic variety of subject matter, evident technique skill and notable knowledge of the mediums worked in.
The initial judging was where three judges needed to agree on each painting that would definitely be in the show. Paintings of excellent standard meeting all criteria easily stood out. For me, there were stunning watercolours, excellent oils and exciting textural work where mixed media caught my eye. Following the first round of selection the next stage was where the panel worked together and discussed their favoured choices of art. Finally when the agreed number of paintings for the allocated wall space had been selected the judging took place for the prizes. This was interesting in that the selected painting for the Judges Choice Award, luckily all judges had instantly fallen in love with. When it came to the highly commended prizes I could easily have selected far more than the two we were asked to choose. In fact that really was a tough decision!
As the selected art was carried out of the selection room I looked at the remaining paintings that had narrowly missed selection. This is where my heart always feels heavy. No one, no artist at any level, wants to hear that their work has not been selected for an exhibition. And there were some interesting paintings still left in the selection room. There were also one or two paintings that weren't selected only due to minor details that could have made all the difference.
A few tips I thought could be useful to artists new to exhibiting.
Or they may act as a reminder for the more seasoned artist who may tend to forget they matter.
1) Always take time to present your art well. Choose suitable frames and don't skip on the size of the mount. One gorgeous piece I saw this morning had been hemmed in by a very narrow mount that didn't allow the wonderful work room to breath.
2) Choose colour of mounts and frames wisely.
3) Think about your subject for an exhibition. There were some stunning landscapes this morning but right now, sitting at home I can still see some of the more unique paintings that caught my eye. Often unusual compositions and colour choices catch a judges attention.
Most importantly. Never be put off if your work is not selected for an art exhibition because quite often it really is just the lack of space that has effected the judges decision. Or. maybe your subject choice was so popular that too many paintings of the same thing were presented.
The selection panel this morning chose work on merit of skill, subject matter and presentation.
I can honestly say this is a show not to be missed. I don't have any room on my cottage walls but if I did there are several pieces I would love to buy. You can visit the exhibition and find out details of when and where via this link
And there are a few paintings that didn't get selected that are still playing on my mind which just goes to show how much I liked them. I have no idea who the artists are, but red painting of the lady in walking two dogs was unique and I loved it, the red apples were scrumptious, and quite a few paintings of trees made me think of the woods I walk in daily.
To Woking Art Society, thank you for inviting me onto your selection panel.
And to Woking Art Society members, wow what a great society you have! Well done on all your incredible art.
See you at the opening!