Over on the Pastel Pointers blog, Richard McKinley shared his thoughts on the benefits of entering shows and competitions. As usual, he offered some really good advice: Entering pastel exhibitions and competitions allows us to see how our work compares to others working in our chosen field. Painting is a solitary endeavor. We work in relative isolation most of the time. Without some form of feedback we can easily become complacent and overcritical of our attempts. As the number of pastelists continues to multiply, the odds of inclusion into some of the bigger exhibits narrows. Many venues are limited to as few as 75 paintings and are receiving upwards of 400 entries. Someone is going to be excluded. This shouldn’t discourage us from entering, but instead make us work harder. Competing against our pastel heroes provides us with the impetus to strive for more technical and aesthetic quality. As nice as it is to win an award, being accepted into some of these shows is reward in itself. Set your best work aside for these exhibits and budget for the expenses involved in entry. Whenever possible, attend the opening
reception whether you made the cut or not. Meet your fellow artists and put a face to works you admire.If you’re interested in having your work appear not only in a show but also in print, there’s always the opportunity to participate in the annual Pastel 100 competition (look for details here), but you may also be interested in the emerging artist-focused “21 Over 31” competition sponsored by our sister publication Southwest Art. But hurry, the deadline is July 1.