Hello All!  Below is a painting I did of 2 wood ducks, done in acrylics.  This painting was done for a major waterfowl competition.

I thought the painting came out OK, so did all of my friends, however - I never even got a glance, much less a 'nod' from one single judge!

I'd love to hear from other members of TAC as to "what I did wrong" with this painting and what I could have done differently, in terms of getting the judges' attention!  


Views: 648

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Thank you, Raina!  Your words are very, very comforting.

Raina Redhawk said:

Your painting...pastel...is beautiful. It's not you it's the judge. He/she just wasn't interested in in birds or whatever. Some of those judge's think they are Gods of Art. They love art but can't draw or paint themselves and are sometimes very jealous of others work. I know this sounds vey negative but it happens all the time and it's a shame these so called committee's don't check into these peoples backgrounds for 'their' art experience. Keep your chin up and smile. Don't let them know they got you down. Besides...look at it this way....It's only one or two persons opinion! Keep painting! ;o)

Hi Jennifer,  This is rather late but because you stated that you want feedback, good or bad, I thought I'd reply.  Everyone has given you some good feedback and I think they're right.  Your painting of the ducks is very nice, good composition, nice colours and looks to be well thought out.  I expect that it looks even better in reality, as things I've seen in real life and also in books or online are totally different....the original being far better.  What I'd do to improve it (for future paintings) would be to try to loosen up some more, don't let yourself get too tight.  Judges like that.  I might do something like, fade the distant duck out some and save your more detailed areas for the front duck, possibly even concentrating the detail in one area, like the wing.  That would make it a focal point and add interest generally.  The water also, not too much detail except maybe  a part that is important, perhaps a splash in the water under the wing.  Also, remember to have areas that are darker and other areas that are lighter, that is, your darks very dark and your lights very light, with a few highlights, remembering the mid-tones.  If your'e unsure I'd suggest that you don't imagine it but take it from the real thing because sometimes it's surprising just where the darks and lights are exactly.  I once went to an exhibition that  had just gone up and 3 judges had three paintings aside that they were looking at.  One judge said that he "liked this one".  The other two just "mmmm, yeah"-ed.  So the winner was decided.  Personally, I thought there were a few others that  were "better".  The first judge and the three artists were all well known people in the area.  So goes art.  It is very political and is hard to break into.  I think the best way to approach it is to go by your own understanding at the time (you'll always be improving) and hope that somewhere along the line you sell a few.  It's good that you are exhibiting and with  time maybe your name will be remembered.  I hope this has been of some help.

You did great!

Thank you, Joanna! Everyone has very nice comments on this painting. I guess books and books can be written on the opinions of judges! I truly appreciate everyone's positive comments! That more than made up for the judges' rejection of my artwork.

joanna stanton said:

You did great!

Many thanks, dear Joy, for your comments!  You sound like an art teacher!  You sure know your stuff concerning art... I'm going to save all these wonderful comments from the friends here at TAC, for when I'm feeling 'down and out' on my artwork.   The wood duck painting above, was my entry for last year's competition (2011).  For this past year's competition (2012), here are photos of two paintings:  my own entry, and the winning entry, picked out by the 5 judges.  My entry is below, of the Canada goose.  Below my entry, is the winning painting, photographed in higher resolution than my own.  
please tell me what you think! 

Hi again, Jennifer,  I'm so glad that you can use my comments.  I'm not an art teacher but I've been doing art for a long time.  Your Canadian Goose is very good and I don't have any ideas of "bettering" it!  See, you DO keep improving.  Keep up the good work and don't be too hard on yourself!....................Do you use oil or acrylics or.............?

Dear Joy, this painting was done with acrylics.  I also paint in oils, and soft pastels.  The 5 judges liked the winning painting for a majority of reasons, among them, high, crisp in-your-face detail.  The judges love high detail, but they also look for appeal, attractiveness and accuracy of species, among other things..

thank you again, dear Joanna.

Jenifer Nadira Knight said:

Thank you, Joanna! Everyone has very nice comments on this painting. I guess books and books can be written on the opinions of judges! I truly appreciate everyone's positive comments! That more than made up for the judges' rejection of my artwork.

joanna stanton said:

You did great!

Reply to Discussion



New to the site? Check out our Guide to Getting Started.

Please take a moment to read our Member Guidelines. Thanks!

Need help?

If you need assistance with this site, please visit the Site Help forum where the moderators and/or other members will assist you.


The Art Colony is a fun online art community for artists of all abilities working in painting, drawing, mixed media, sculpture and handicrafts! Join us and share your art, ask questions, receive tips, and make new friends!


It is 100% FREE to join the Art Colony and always will be!


Thaneeya McArdle created this art community as an interactive extension of her art education site, Art-is-fun.com.

The Art Colony is co-run by a fabulous team of enthusiastic moderators:

Anton Abela


Follow Us!

Follow Art-is-Fun.com on Twitter for art news, ideas and inspiration!

Support this Site


If you make a purchase from Blick Art Materials (above) or Amazon.com (below) after clicking one of these links, Art-is-fun.com will receive a small percentage of the sale.

Your support is much appreciated!


Learn how to Draw Groovy with Thaneeya's new book, which is published by F+W Media!

Sales of Thaneeya's book will help fund the costs of running this site.

Your support is much appreciated!

Art Supply Spotlight

We use this space to spotlight a cool art supply you may not have heard of, changing the featured items every few days. Enjoy!


© 2014   Created by Thaneeya LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service