This week in southern Wisconsin has been glorious - blue skies, temperatures in the 70's, low humidity, few bugs. These are the sort of days that when I was teaching, inside a cement block room all day, I wanted more than anything to be outdoors. I appreciate my freedom to come and go, to paint my front door, plant a pretty mum, photograph at the cemetery, take a top down ride on a country road.
But, summer was good too. I backed away from entering my art in many shows. I did enter two WRAP (Wisconsin Regional Art Program) shows, and came away with mixed feelings. I enjoyed both presenter/judges - each as very accomplished and enthusiastic. But neither struck me as being a very articulate judge. I can accept differences in taste and opinion, but I want whoever is judging the show to present clear criteria for what makes one piece better than another. Simply saying "I liked it" isn't enough, and neither is the perennial lament that the show was difficult to judge. Sure it is. But the judge's job is to have, and to apply, reasonable criteria and explain it to the people did the work, and paid for the privilege to show it and have it judged. For the judge to admit they know little about sculpture, or photography, or abstraction, and then go on to judge anyway is a disservice to everyone. Maybe there can be two people at these events, a presenter and a different person as a judge. I don't know.
I went to fewer Monday evening figure drawing sessions than in previous years, mostly because through much of the summer it seemed that Mondays evenings were stormy. The studio is about twenty miles away, and sessions are in the evening, so if the weather is bad I generally just stay home. That said, I went to about four sessions, and did some drawing that I enjoyed. The last one I attended was a month ago, and I only took out the sketches to spray fix this morning. I'm always surprised by them, when they've been put away for a while, and usually like them better after that breathing time passes.
This weekend is the State WRAP event in Madison. My painting didn't win any special award, though my little artist trading card sized painting was chosen to be included in a calendar, and sold, which was nice. I look forward to the social event on Friday evening and the speaker on Saturday. It's humbling to see how much good work non-professional artists around the state are doing.