Last weekend I was in Atlanta…
I got to serve as juror for the Exhibition of the Southeastern Pastel Society. So last week I traveled south and attended the Opening of the show. It was really cool to see a large gallery full of images that I had selected. And moreover, to see the award winners up close because I had to select them online through ShowSubmit.
That is the funny thing about shows now. The online image carries so much weight because the selection process happens online. And as much as I and every other juror scrutinize and labor over the digital images, there is nothing like seeing the paintings in person. Yes, we can know the posted sizes, but a large painting feels different in person than its smaller, digital representation. Some paintings I loved even more when I saw them in their frames. And then some felt weaker when viewing them in person. We all try to adjust our images to make them look their best to get accepted into a show, but some of them changed the paintings in a way to make them stronger. It is a jurors’ dilemma.
I was asked what I thought of the show and if I would have changed my choices especially for the award winners. No, I responded. The winners were easy to spot.
I was asked to say a few things about each painting that had won as the award-winning artists were announced. That was easy. Each had something amazing or perfected or clearly controlled by the artist making the painting sit a bit above from the others.
And then it came time to annouce the Best of Show in the Master division. This is the painting I picked by artist, Toby Reid.
So as I thought about why I picked this painting over all the other pieces, all I could think about was one word- grace.
To me, saying a painting is graceful is the strongest compliment I could ever give. Grace is natural beauty. And a true measure of the creator. I said at the Opening that a graceful image appears effortless – as though no work or swearing was taking place behind the scenes, but rather the image appears to have come together to tell a story in a beautiful way. In simple eloquence.
It is what brings us wonder when staring into the eyes of a child. It is what keeps us up all night to watch the sunrise. It is what calls to us on museum walls.
Then I got to teach my “Power of Pastel” workshop to the group last Saturday and Sunday as well. Here are a few images of my demo and how it came along. I realize that no matter what stage I am in I think about that word, grace. Is a mark beautiful? Does an area represent the beauty I am seeing? Can I paint the light and represent the beauty in a person?
Plus we had fun.
I was honored to pick out the paintings for this show. To see so many different ways to handle this medium. I met new friends and was truly honored with how they treated me and especially with how they introduced me. I felt like a million bucks. And I realized that we are all looking for that elusive element in our work- grace. Artists want to bring something forth with beauty. We search for new ways to create paintings out of love and control of the image. We are grace-seekers.
I wish you luck finding some this week.
As I hear you talk about art, life and your beautiful children I think you live in grace, and we get a bit each time we are with you. Thank you in ways you may not know you give. SuZanne
Thank you for sharing your moments in time with us. It is always a pleasure reading. Your work is definitely filled with eloquence. I love the questions you ask yourself about your work and about the works you judge.
You wear your soul / spirit on “your sleeve. ” I believe this is why your work inspires so many; we feel your message. This week it was about GRACE, sometimes unmerited , but given from the heart. So grateful you share your insight.
thank you so much.
I see the winning painting as representing God’s grace. It washes over is like the water. Freely given, available to all who believe.
you are as cool! and Talented as EVER!!
It was such a pleasure having you with us for the SPS show and workshop, Christine. Since I know Toby personally, I was absolutely thrilled that you selected his painting for Best in Show. Your words to him at the opening reception brought tears to my eyes as you honored this sweet, humble man and his brilliant talent!
And for anyone reading this comment, if you haven’t taken one of Christine’s workshops, I highly recommend them. She is as good a teacher as she is an artist! Thank you, Christine–I learned so much!
Thank you Lisa! It was my honor. 😀