The Secret to Painting for Competitions

Q. I’d like to start entering competitions, but I can’t stand the pressure. When I paint something, I worry so much about whether it will get in a show, the painting doesn’t turn out. Then, of course, I don’t enter it. I don’t even know what to paint for a show anymore. How can I get over this fear?

A. The answer is simple. Never paint for a show and never paint for a juror. Just paint what you love and feel. That’s all you need to do.

Your mind should be totally focused on the painting. When you’re thinking, while you’re painting, about whether a piece is good enough to get into a show, you’re not painting for yourself.

Another no-no: trying to paint like a juror or in a fashion you think will please a particular juror. A good juror will pick a wide variety of subjects and styles.

Stop wasting your energy worrying and put it into your painting instead!

Drawing Board creator Bill Tilton, of Raleigh, North Carolina, is a 16-year contributing editor to The Artist’s Magazine.

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