Minnesota plein air painter Bob Upton takes the responsibility of being a plein air competition judge seriously. In his opening remarks as judge of the Roseville Parks Plein Air competition in Roseville, Minnesota a couple of years ago, he outlined his seven “C”s criteria for judging artwork.
The paintings featured here were winners in the 2017 Roseville Parks Plein Air Competition. The paintings and Upton’s advice stand the test of time ~ enjoy!
Upton takes his responsibility seriously and graciously outlined for PleinAir Today his seven “C”s criteria for judging artwork, offering our readers invaluable insight into what many judges likely consider.
- Compelling — An irresistible visual impact. It’s memorable. Often hard to put into words. You can watch people walk up to it. They are drawn to it like a magnet. You say, “I keep coming back to this. There is something about this piece.”
- Craftsmanship — Drawing, values, skill of the medium, paint handling, presentation. You say, “This is really well done. It reads right. It’s painted beautifully.”
- Composition — The unity of a painting. The whole impression. Design, balance, movement, rhythm. It’s thoughtful, not accidental. You say, “This works together as a whole. Everything is in the right place.”
- Color — Not just bright color, but color harmony. Color relationships. Color balance. It can be subdued color or strong color. The effect of light permeating a piece. You say, “I like the color; it feels right.”
- Creativity — Not common. A unique perspective or voice. Outstanding — stands out from other works. You say, “I haven’t seen this before.”
- Capture — Truth is presented. Not photographic, but real. You feel something. Capturing the light. You say, “This really captured that moment. It’s like I’m there in the scene.”
- Challenge — This piece takes on and overcomes the challenges of painting outside. Weather, fleeting light effects, simplifying dizzying chaos, and dealing with dubs, bystanders, and blustery wind. You say, “How did they paint this outside? I’d like to hear the story of this painting.”
So what did this mean for the paintings? First Place was awarded to Doug Malin’s “November Grey” while Tom McGregor took Second Place for “Morning Mist.” Third Place was taken by Greg Lecker and his piece “Around the Bend.” Three Honorable Mentions were also awarded, to Allison Eklund for her painting “November’s Last Light,” Naomi Tiry Salgado for “Retail Therapy, Gray Day,” and Jim Henly for “Wise Tree.”
Greg Lecker also received the OVALumination award for best painting of the 2017 holiday lights display at the John Rose Minnesota Oval. This was a separate competition judged by the Roseville Visitor’s Center, which will make posters of Lecker’s painting to promote the City of Roseville and its holiday tradition of lighting its popular outdoor ice skating facility.