Tuesday, February 28, 2006


Yellow Meadow, 2005, Oil on Panel, 18x24

Dark Cypress Trees, 2005 Oil on Panel, 18x24

Yesterday I sent off my entries to the Silvermine Guild Art Center's annual "Art of the Northeast" competition. During the last few years, I have entered many juried competitions, which were a great way to get another line to add to my very thin exhibition resume. I was rejected from the first 10 or so that I entered, and then things took a turn and I started to get more acceptance letters than rejection letters, so I was in a few shows and even won a few prizes.

I have always loved art contests. I'm a good loser, though I certainly enjoy winning. When I was in the eleventh grade, I won a local contest and my watercolor of Santa waving from a semi was featuring on a trucking company's christmas card plus I received $50. I was hooked! There was a graphic design contest sponsored by an after school club which I won and went on to compete nationally, where I bombed, but I had gotten a free week long trip to Louisville, KY. In college there were a number of awards given to seniors and I was nominated to compete for a senior award, which had a $500 prize. That's like 50,000 to an art student. I felt pretty confident, but Patti Hammel won (she was one of the few illustration majors in our class who has gone on to actually be an illustrator, she does children's books) and she deserved it, but I did envy her newfound wealth. After college I entered a contest at Flax, a mail order catalog and won, the prize was my painting on their cover and $1000 credit towards shopping in their catalog, thereby combining my two very favorite things, art and shopping!

For the last 8 months or so I haven't entered any competitions. Nearly all the work I do now goes right off to a gallery or is for a specific show. However, I am feeling the itch to compete again so I have pulled out a few pieces that came back from the Saratoga show and decided to enter them in the Silvermine competition. I have a few more juried shows that I plan to enter, but I have to be more selective now. I look at the jurors to see what kind of art they do, or who they are affiliated with, I look at the organization, and I will only be entering the shows who accept digital images in addition to slides. It is becoming more involved to get slides made these days, so I prefer sending in jpegs.

Entering juried shows also help me to keep me prepared for success or for rejection in regards to exhibitions. I experience both when showing work and each has an upside as well as a downside. When I start feeling like I am just the greatest ever, I pull out all the rejection letters that I have kept or I look through my inventory book to see all of the paintings that have not sold. On the other hand, rejection gives me motivation to improve my skills or if I find myself looking at the classifieds for a real job, I look through my inventory book to see all of the paintings that HAVE sold.

Today's paintings are the ones that I entered. They are pretty different from each other and that could go either way for me, I guess. I entered this competiton last year and did not get in but this is different work, a different year and a different juror. So we'll see.


Anonymous said...

Hi, Tracy,
Love your blog and your work! Thanks for sharing both ... I've admired your art and your home and your baking ... now there's something else wonderful that you do!
Karen Katz

Tracy Helgeson said...

Hi Karen, Thanks for visiting and thanks for the compliments too!

Anonymous said...

I still have one of those 'trucking santa' cards!!! Do you?

Tracy Helgeson said...

Mom, please do not tell me that you have it framed and on your wall!! My copy is safely hidden away in a box, in a box, in a closet.

Anonymous said...

Hi Tracy,
I found your blog through Cecily. I just wanted to tell you that I love the Yellow Meadows painting, love it. I live in Israel and this time of year the hills are covered with red anemones, and your painting really captures what it's like. I love how you distill the landscape down to its essence. It's incredible how you can make a landscape universal (you had no idea you were painting the Jerusalem hills did you :) ).

I love how you show your work here. It's a great idea.


Tracy Helgeson said...

Thank you Timi, for visiting. What an awesome compliment about my work being universal! I am pleased that you can connect to this painting. I didn't have any reference for this piece so maybe I actually was channeling the Jerusalem hillside......