Wednesday I had the distinct pleasure and awesome responsibility to be asked to jury the annual Middleton Art League's Fur, Fin and Feather Art Exhibition in Tennessee. The works in this show was in several categories: Professional, Senior, Amateur, and League Members.
Doing this type thing is a great responsibility and after accepting the invitation I immediately began to think about shows and exhibits that I had entered and researching and developing criteria that I would use in making my decisions for the show. I was prepared - so it should have been a piece of cake...
But it was a very difficult job..........
I had decided that the winning entries would need to offer that "something extra": a higher quality in overall appeal, composition, design / use of space, visual rhythm and general mastery of the medium. But in the end I learned that though the technical proficiency was important - it wasn't everything, and the subjective elements: the atmosphere, and overall mood of the paintings proved very powerful in some works.
On my drive home after hours of viewing the show, it occurred to me that being the juror of art and buying and collecting art is quite different...and that the final "judge" of these paintings, after all, would be the ultimate buyer of the works in this show. Hopefully buyers should use more personal taste in selecting quality and meaningful works that speak personally to them,- not the juror's picks necessarily- but works that they can live with -connect to- and love. After all: they will be living with these works in most cases for the rest of their lives!
When buying art I would recommend looking at the art to make sure you actually like it - make sure that YOU like it- not that you have been told that you "should" like it... And be less concerned that it exactly matches the bedspread or the sofa. Decor changes - your overall taste won't change so much.
You'd be surprised at the collectors that won't complete a purchase until their interior decorator approves the work... or- in many cases the interior decorator is actually the purchaser of the artwork for the client in the first place!
.....So be sure you like -or -love the art! And be aware that the art sold in furniture stores as "oil paintings" are probably assembly line painted in a foreign sweat shop - many copied from images of real art on the internet. And if you buy art online make sure you research the artist. For instance, I just "Googled" Dot Courson and found over 14,000 hits! There are multiple references to me and my galleries, my blogs, professional organizations and sales records through my gallery. Most reputable and serious artists now have track records like this online ...and buyers should "get to know" the artists when buying online - even emailing the artist if possible. It is much more satisfying to both the artist and the buyer who then have a special connection. Artists love their art and consider them their "children". So connect with the art you purchase, and research the artist. This will give you much more enjoyment form your next art acquisition which will hopefully be a family heirloom passed down from generation to generation.