Monday, July 13, 2009

Being Judged

Graphite drawing by Lori Levin
Graphite drawing by Lori Levin "Varnold's Paradise" (top)
"Where the Varnold's Play" (bottom)
sketches in moleskine

If you scroll back and look at "Bunny Brave Looks to Home" you can see a winner. It won an honorable mention at the juried exhibition at Gallery 50 in Bridgeton. This gallery also has shown the works of artists like Stan Sperlak, Glenn Rudderow and Bobbie Berg. There, my work was well received, sold and even got me the offerings of a possible one man show. All in all I should have walked away feeling like a success. Let's face it, 75 other works at the show did not place in the judging. Yet, the experience left me unsettled. Really, being judged made me feel like I needed a good bath.

Let me explain. Truly, I am grateful for the honor of the award and the great people I met that night that had such flattering things to say. In my college years I was accused of painting without heart and too much technical showmanship. Now, I paint with all heart and put every emotion out there for all to see. I'm getting better at this all the time. Though I do understand the need in this world for ranking things, it is uncomfortable to have one's soul measured against another's. Ok, I hear you guys out there telling me to stop taking myself so seriously or to act like a professional who knows the judging is subjective and based on many criteria. Others would tell me not to detract from my success and rather to play it up to get more business. You are all correct.

Still, as I become more adept at being who I really want to be as a person and as an artist, I have less need to see where I fall amongst my peers. I used to paint for something to do, for acceptance, for a grade or for the money. Now, I paint because it is my way of putting my world in order. It is my language. It is my connection with The Creator. How can something this sacred be judged?

Again, I realize how silly I'm being. Why do I share this with you then? Simply put, my goal here is always to help you understand what being an artist is all about. People often think it is just about making pretty pictures and playing with paint. It is so much more. How and why you create the work is just part it. What you do with the work is a whole other story. Depending on where you show your work and what others say about it can sometimes alter the course of everything. Van Gogh's paintings did not sell while he was alive and yet many are in awe of him now. Being judged is a dangerous playground.

Now that I'm done ranting, I'd like you to go back and enjoy the above sketches from some recent outings to my happy place. Maybe I need to take a trip back there and cleanse myself in the pond.

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