Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Entering Contests -- is it Worth the trouble?

Of all the things I've painted over the years, I've loved the birds as much or more than anything else. I loved listening to the birds outside our upstairs window when I was a child and should have been taking a nap. I loved rescuing them when one fell from its nest. I adored watching them hop across the grass and escape into the air with a flutter when I tried to catch them. I wanted to be a bird. I even dreamed about flying: foreshadowing or symbolism; perhaps? But through the years birds have found their way into my paintings.

Robin Hood by Carol Allen Anfinsen

This painting of a mother robin and her brood I titled "Robin Hood" and the painting recently won "honorable mention" in an online juried contest. Not a big win, but I was pleased because robins are one of my favorite birds.

Robin’s are not particularly fussy about where they build their nests. I’ve seen a nest cradled in a wreath on someone’s door, and a nest wedged between a light fixture and the bricks on a friend’s front porch.

My friend watched over the nest like a mother hen; protecting first the blue green eggs that appeared, and then the tiny newborns that followed. Each time he stepped out on his porch, the mother robin swooped over his head and dive-bombed him to protect her nest. Little did she know that he was a staunch ally.

The robins’ precarious nest-building habits are not without risk, and many a nest topples to the ground following a strong windstorm. But when it comes to parenting, robins are seldom outmatched.

This win inspired me to enter another contest sponsored by The Alliance for the Arts of which I'm a member. My entry titled: "The Seamstress" was entered yesterday in a juried competition. The chances of winning are slim, but the thrill and fun in playing the game makes it worthwhile. Entering contests gets your name out there, and in this business -- it's all about name recognition.

My own grandmother was the model. The theme of the contest was: "repurposing trash." I used sewing scraps, plastic bottles, feathers, lace, plastic spoons and other things to incorporate "trash" into my painting (I hope my grandmother, looking down from on high, will forgive me!)

My friend and fellow artist, Lili took these photos for me as I'd forgotten my camera (that doesn't bode well!). Our art league had several hours of fun as we created these trash-to-treasure paintings.