Judging the Show 

On Wednesday, July 11, 2018, Florida watercolor artist Steve Rogers judged this year’s Watercolor Society of Indiana’s Juried Show.  I was there because each year I write down what the judge has to say about why he chose certain paintings as prize winners.  Those comments from the judge are then copied onto the certificates that the show’s winners receive.  It’s a good way, I think, for those who win special recognition at the Juried Show to read what the judge has to say about their work.

I had a few minutes before Steve  began judging to ask him what he looks for/what impresses him when he chooses–and then judges–a juried show.  Steve told me that he has no specific process for judging.  He chooses what “grabs him,” then asks himself WHY a painting “grabbed” him, and then asks himself if his response to the painting is justified. He says that he judges from the heart.  He pays attention to the impact of the painting, and notes that his opinion, is, of course, subjective.  Steve says that watercolor judges are objective in the sense that it takes a watercolor painter to understand the medium, so watercolor judges are able to make objective judgments based on the quality of the watercolorist’s work.  I asked him if he decides to be eclectic in his judging–in other words, does he try to make his choices based on ideas, styles, or tastes from a broad and diverse range of sources. He said that when he is the only judge for a juried exhibit–as is the case with our exhibit–he feels that he has an obligation to pick a variety of paintings, both in style and subject.  Steve takes a long, thoughtful time to make his choices, and I think you’ll like both the show and the prize winners.

I’ve seen the Juried Show because I was present for the judging, and I think it’s a lovely show.  I also know who the prizewinners are, but you won’t know until the results are announced on August 5.  I think you’ll be pleased.  It’s always interesting for me to watch and listen to the judging.  Those of us who are there to help always hide in one of the rooms in the office and visit quietly while the judging is going on.  We don’t talk about the entries with the judge, and we don’t discuss the artists.  In fact, once we’ve said “hello.” we don’t talk to the judge until he’s made his final ten prize choices. 

See the Juried Show at the IMA and see what you think.  I am always amazed at the talent that exists in our membership and our State.  Enjoy.