There are many reasons to enter an art competition such as the PleinAir Salon—for instance, it forces you to analyze your work, it signifies a level of achievement, and it puts your work in front of key people in the art world. Gary R. Haynes, the owner of Haynes Galleries in Nashville and Thomaston, Maine, told us recently how he will be approaching his job of judging the entrants in the PleinAir Salon’s Dec.-Jan. contest.

Lead Image: “Morning Light,” by Eric Jacobsen, oil, 16 x 20 in. Second Place in the Oct.-Nov. contest of the PleinAir Salon

“What I am looking for as I approach judging is work that is so compelling that it grabs you—immediately,” he says. “It can be inherently dramatic or simple in nature, but either way it holds your attention. Quiet or loud, it should speak to me. There is so much sameness in artwork today that I’m looking for work that has a strong voice.”

Many gallery owners look at a resume/curriculum vitae to assess how serious an artist is and perhaps how far along the person is in his or her development. A competition win would show up there. Of course, artistic development is also evident in the artwork. That is always the bottom line—good work.

Haynes says a salon win might do wonders for artists—on the inside. “I think it is important to the artist,” he says. “It gives them confidence and appreciation that their work is achieving a higher standard. Recognition is good, but all awards aren’t created equal. Also, there are some very talented folks who should win and don’t. There is a plethora of competitions, salons—by genre, by medium, by suppliers, and by organizations. So competitions might help me find talent, but so do publications, blogs, and just talking to talented people. The awards have value, but are just a part of the equation for me. In the end it’s all about the work.”

The deadline for the Dec.-Jan contest in the PleinAir Salon is Jan. 31. Get your entries in now, by clicking here.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here