I thought perhaps that the two or three of you who actually read this blog (am I overestimating?) might like to learn a bit about the judging process for the Juried Show. 

Traditionally, the judge hired to choose the paintings for the show is a person well-known in the world of watercolor artists, someone who has no particular connection to the state of Indiana or WSI’s artist members, and someone who has many years of experience as a teacher and juried show judge.  The judge chooses the show itself via digital images and descriptions of those images that are sent to him/her electronically.  Once the show is chosen and members are notified of their acceptance, then artists whose work will be in the show bring their framed and ready-to-hang paintings to the WSI office.

Only a few Board members and Nancy Mullens are present for the judging.  This year Linda Trowbridge was there because she is the Juried Show chairperson.  Nancy was there.  President John O’Connor was there, and I was there.  I’ve been present for judging in the last few years because at a Board meeting a few years ago, I suggested that it might be a good idea for someone to record the judge’s comments about the prize winners so that the artists who are chosen for prizes actually know what the judge liked and why he/she chose that particular painting as a prize winner.  Everyone thought that was a good idea, and, since I thought of it, guess who gets to do it!

Judging usually begins around 10:00 AM and is finished by noon or a bit earlier.  We are all very quiet, if you can believe that, and no one talks to the judge about any of the paintings.  ALL of the accepted paintings are on display at the WSI offices so the judge has a good look at each and every accepted entry.  Nancy Mullens makes sure we have the large conference room available for judging, and the judge chooses the paintings he wishes to have an even closer look at taken into the conference room.  Some paintings come in and then go out again.  Some paintings come into the room and stay there.  Those are the prize winners.  Judges usually tell us after the judging that choosing only ten was a difficult task, but we have prize money for ten paintings, so ten paintings it is. 

Each judge, in his or her own way, lines up the paintings from either #1 to #10 or #10 to #1, and then the judge’s comments begin.  I have a clipboard, and my question to the judge is, “What did you particularly like about the painting that inspired you to choose it as a prize winner.”  The judge’s response to my question is what I write down on my clipboard for each of the ten winning paintings.  After each of the judge’s comments, I read back to the judge what I heard him/her say to clarify for the winners that he/she actually DID say what I heard.  After the judging is over, I go home to my computer and immediately transcribe the judge’s comments into a document for Nancy and Linda for the presentation of awards.

Every year I am impressed with the professionalism of the judge and with the respect and professionalism of WSI Board members who are present for the judging.  Every year, in my opinion, the judge chooses an excellent Juried Show for WSI, and every year the entries seem to get better.  This year is no exception.  It is a truly beautiful show.

But that’s just MY OPINION.  (Yours, too, I bet, if you’ve seen the show)