Why Enter an Art Contest by Greg LaRock

While we are a little bias about contests, both Kim and I are artists who have entered our fair share and have learned a few things over the years but who wants to hear from us. We receive many emails from artists asking if we think they should enter and we thought it was best to share what our February judge, Greg LaRock recently wrote. Entering can be scary if you have never entered but here are some things to think about.

Why Enter an Art Contest

Well for one thing, you might win a couple bucks! But the real reason to enter contests regularly is that it makes you a better artist. When we’re forced to choose a painting to enter or paint one specifically for a contest, our best choices must be made. We know we’ll be up against stiff competition, so it forces you to be extra certain it’s a good piece. If it’s going to cost money too, choosing something on a whim won’t be a good idea.

Plus, friends and colleagues will see these, so being extra conscious of entering well-thought out works and why you think they’re winners become paramount.

If you’re fortunate to be recognized as an award winner, you’ll be able to build a resume as an award-winning artist. Also seeing what the judge had to say about the painting may shed light on things you may or may not have noticed about your piece, and you’ll remember it as you grow. It may open our eyes to new ideas and concepts about painting, composition, value, brushwork, etc.

The judges comments about the other winning entries will also give insight as to how another artistic eyes see and what they value in a particular painting. All of this information, no matter how trivial it may seem is great insight on how to become a better artist and ways to grow your work to new levels. So don’t sit on the sidelines, enter the game and get rewarded!

Some notes on judging that may help your artistic decisions: Every show I’ve judged has had many more deserving pieces than awards to give. It’s always tough and I don’t take my decisions lightly. Plus, I personally know most of the artists that enter, so it’s disappointing not to be able to recognize everyone for their amazing talents and abilities. The vast majority of the work entered is expertly crafted, and skillfully done. That being said, what I look for is something that jumps out for whatever reason. Sometimes there’s a slightly different take on a composition, mood, textural element or an idea that seems unique to me. So, take the extra step to ask yourself why you’re painting this or that. What can you bring to the table that stands apart? How can you take an ordinary scene and transcend it into a work of art? These are heavy questions that have no easy answer, but that thoughtfulness will help us all improve our craft and grow as artists. My sincere wishes to all on your successful advancement in the arts!

Visit Greg LaRock’s website to learn more and see his art.


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