This sketch is in the big/huge sketchbook with the Micron 03. I did put a few pencil lines for the position of the shelves and paintings before I started with the pen. Of course once the pen is in my hand, anything can happen.
You can see a slide show of the winners from last year and the entries for this year.
Entering shows can be intimidating. It sometimes seems like the same artists win. I will tell you though, the reason the same artists win may be that they put in time and effort on their paintings, photographs and keeping their skills up to date. (and enter lots of contests) You have to have a thick skin as well. Every judge is different. I'm sure judges try to be impartial but aside from looking at technique, skill in the medium, composition, color, etc., The judges bring their own preferences to the table. An entry that won last year, may not win this year or in a different show. Your entries should follow the guidelines regarding deadlines, size, content, too. Your abstract may not be accepted to a show featuring realistic wildlife or vice versa.
Why enter a contest? Do you just like the social side and like the whole exhibition scene? Do you feel that a win will validate your success as an artist? Will it help sell your paintings? Will you be better known in your medium? Will entering and winning help you find teaching jobs? Will it get you gallery representation? Just remember that judges are judges and contests are contests.
My experience in judging was at school events, young artists. I tried to be impartial. That can work both ways, at least for me. I'm not a fan of abstract work. I do really like and am attracted to some abstract pieces. So as a judge, do I see an abstract in the same way I see a more traditional style? Or do I prefer a pastel still life over an oil painting? Would I pick an abstract just because I should pick one?
You might find it interesting to check the entries for the APS contest and pick your favorites and see if they compare to the judge. The judge for APS also gives a workshop in Austin in March in connection with the judging. This year it is Marla Baggetta http://www.landscapepaintinglessons.com/#!live-workshops/c53f
Good luck and shall the "Best" painting win!
Adding this link on Wednesday, January 20, 7 p.m. about judges.
http://goo.gl/cml2YZ Give Them What They Want by John R. Math