Back in May, my parents presented me with a torn a page from the Daily Mail asking for entries for a painting competition. I have to say, the Daily Mail isn’t my newspaper of choice so I was a bit sniffy about entering. But then I thought, What the hell?
The competition theme was Glorious Britain in Spring. Unsurprisingly it attracted a load of landscape painters. The entry process was easy – all online, so I photographed one of my Spring Meadow paintings, and submitted it.
I didn’t hear anything back about the entry so naturally assumed I’d been unsuccessful. Then last week, out of the blue, I received an email. It informed me that although I wasn’t one of the four winners, my work was going to be featured in the weekend publication. A result! Naturally, I assumed the feature would contain lots of examples of entries so whilst pleased I wasn’t expecting too much. I thought maybe I’d be a tiny thumbnail tile amongst hundreds of others. I was therefore very surprised when I opened the magazine to find that my work was alongside 8 other paintings in a “Best of the Rest” section. You can view the article here.
Small pleasure I know, but as the competition had some pretty esteemed judges – Andrew Marr, Philip Mould and Mark Bergin. It gave me a great boost of confidence! And a bonus, my entry is also featured in a virtual exhibition at Mall Galleries in their Glorious Britain in Spring exhibition. I should also say that I loved the painting that won, created by artist Amanda Murray.
Is It Worth Entering Art Competitions?
If you google “why enter art competitions” you end up with a pretty well balanced list of links. Half of them bemoaning why they’re a complete waste of time, the other half evangelising the benefits of increased exposure. I understand both points of view. For many competitions you have to pay an entry fee (this one was free to enter) so the real winners are the organisers. I don’t mind if that means I’m contributing funds to a gallery or credible art organisation, especially given the tough times they are currently facing.
What I do agree with are the claims that they offer false validation. If you are relying on these to feel good about your art, then you’re heading for disappointment. The few times you get recognition is great, but for every positive result there will be lots of rejections. (I think I’m still scarred from having my entry to Tony Hart’s ‘Take Hart‘ gallery back when I was 9 or 10 years old, rejected).
Most will tell you that your worth as an artist should come from within. I agree whole heartedly. People paint for many different reasons – a natural urge, therapy, a way to switch off from stresses and strains of daily life or simply because it makes them happy. There are no right or wrong reasons – if you enjoy it, it really doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks.
So, Would I enter a Competition Again?
Absolutely! My ambition is to get something accepted for the Summer Exhibition, but I’m realistic. If I did succeed it would be great, but either way it won’t stop me enjoying the process of painting.