Watercolor and Pastel Artists at CHAW

What One Juror Looks For

I recently juried a show called Critters for the Capitol Hill Art League. In addition to the challenge of the subject, qualifying entries had to be 12” square. In spite of the restrictions, many artists were able to create interesting and beautiful artworks. Every piece submitted had merit and deserved serious consideration. Every piece had something to recommend it.

Judging is supremely subjective—a piece declined by one juror is an award-winner to another. I can really speak only to what I look for when judging a show.

I look for contrasts—value, color or texture. I like marks and am interested in work that shows interesting use of them. And I am a stickler for technical facility. Competence with materials and technique can be learned—sound drawing, a proper wash, and handy brushwork are all products of practice and training. Inevitably I will be drawn to work that displays a high level of technical skill.

The final piece in what I look for is the element of surprise. I want a piece of art to show me something of the world I had not noticed or considered before—something to delight me. It might be the subject, but it can as easily be a line or an edge or a shadow that give me a little endorphin rush.

Three artists in the Wednesday Studio had work accepted into the show.


“Contemplative Critter.” Watercolor by Wan Lee.

Wan Lee’s “Contemplative Critter” is beautifully rendered. I appreciate the subtle use of color contrast in his pinks and greens. And I love the cast leaf shadows.


“Dad’s Birds.” Watercolor by Tara Hamilton

Tara Hamilton’s “Dad’s Birds” is remarkable to me for its unexpected and satisfying palette. Again it is a shadow on the chest of the bird that drew my eye initially, but also the very interesting textures in the tangle of material on the right.

Anne Shields’ use of marks in “Swan Lake” was the first thing I noticed. And again the palette is surprising, but additionally the description of water eddying and foliage reflected is quite well handled.

Ellen Cornett
Wednesday Studio Nudge in Chief

2 comments on “What One Juror Looks For

  1. frantomlinson
    February 1, 2016

    Wow! That’s very informative and a bit intimidating — as it should be.


  2. wisemarian
    February 1, 2016

    I do really like hearing the perspective of the judge. I mean juror.


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This entry was posted on February 1, 2016 by in Exhibitions, Juried Show.
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