One of the things you get accustomed to as an artist is that your work will be admired, critiqued, awarded, found wanting, rejected, accepted, purchased, or left on your gallery wall. You never know what a viewer is looking for when they gaze at your work. It’s why an artist has to stay true to what and how they, in their hearts, want to paint. You can’t please everybody all of the time, so you have to just please yourself and hope for the best. That said, we all have egos and those can sometimes be fragile.
I recently entered the IWS Canada Biennale exhibition which is occurring in Vancouver this summer. As you may know, I am one of the IWS Canada Co-Representatives. Our country head decided it would be best if we had the jurors choose all of the paintings that would be exhibited, rather than the often customary invitation of country branch heads to exhibit without jurying. I thought this was a good way to go about things – fair for everyone. I really only wanted my work to be there if it was juried in, anyway. So the digital images – over 500 of them from all over the world, were assigned numbers and ranked by three excellently qualified independent jurors on a number of criteria. Only 175 were allowed in the show.
As it turned out, my painting Highland Afternoon did not make the cut. I was disappointed, naturally, but not crushed, as I knew the competition would be tough. I am not sure who applied and who didn’t apply to the Biennale, but I learned this morning that I am in very good company when it comes to rejection from this exhibit. Apparently there were many, not on the list of 175, who may have fully expected acceptance.
I am really proud of us as an organization, that we are moving towards fairness, away from politics, and ensuring very high quality exhibits, showcasing the best of watercolour art from around the globe. I congratulate all of the participants who made it on to that list of 175, and I look forward to being inspired by their beautiful work!
I am also very happy that I now get to show this painting instead of keeping it under wraps until July. I really like it. It’s true to the vision I had of it in my mind, and I completed it fairly quickly because I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it. I feel that it exemplifies a variety of effects you can achieve with watercolour. It is what, and how, I wanted to paint.