A prizewinning week [or] subjectivity vs objectivity

Despite my husband being away last week, and so it being an incredibly hectic week, it was a good week. There was Sports Day and the local horticultural, arts & crafts show and the funfair and the local open arts festival… and I wanted all of us to somehow take part in all of these events. Thankfully, my mum came to stay with us for a few days so I got some much-needed (and greatly appreciated) help. While she played with my youngest I mounted and framed some of my pictures which were then ‘on show’ in the local open arts festival. I also entered a different set of pictures for the horticultural, arts & crafts show and I also encouraged my children to get involved by entering some of their own pictures.

Three pictures, by Marija Smits (entered in local open arts festival)
Three pictures, by Marija Smits (entered in local open arts festival)

It was all rather busy, but we had fun. My daughter came third in the beanbag-on-the-head race and fourth in the skipping race. My son came first in the toddler race. They both loved taking part – and I even ran in the mums’ race (while carrying my son!).

On the Saturday, before we went to the horticultural, arts & crafts show (via the funfair of course) to see if our pictures had received any prizes my daughter and I had a conversation about subjectivity and objectivity. We discussed how the judges of ‘creative’ competitions have a difficult task – they need to be able to take into account so many things in their choices, for example: the composition of the picture, the skill in the brushwork (or pencil marks), the choice of colour palette, subject matter etc. but ultimately it’s very much a subjective decision – one that is based on feeling and intuition, rather than facts. Judging a sports competition is easier since it is just about the facts. Who covered the set distance in the shortest time? Who threw the ball (or javelin) the furthest? At the end of a day, there is no right way to paint a picture, though there are of course various tried-and-tested routes to producing a picture which is realistic and pleasing to the eye.

My daughter was philosophical when her picture didn’t get awarded a prize, and she was generous in her ‘well dones’ when her brother and I each received third prize.

Then the very next day, at the local arts festival, my daughter received first prize for a photo she’d taken of her brother. She won a bar of chocolate and a Hobbycraft voucher (this is very, very welcome) and so we got to be generous with our ‘well dones’. It was a lovely way to round off the week, and the chocolate has been a big hit!

So although I’m not a big fan of ‘judging’ others’ creations (descriptive recognition is my big thing) I felt that overall it was worth taking part. It was good to feel part of a community sharing and enjoying each other’s creativity and I think that we all got enthused and inspired to produce more art for next year. I think that this has to be the ultimate creative goal, to simply make more because it is enjoyableand as a byproduct to ‘making more’ the artistic skills also happen to improve. Double bonus!

As for the chocolate, I swear I haven’t even had the tiniest nibble, although I have asked for a bit just the once or twice… 😉




2 thoughts on “A prizewinning week [or] subjectivity vs objectivity”

  1. How wonderful that your daughter was able to practise gracious not-winning and then to win something. But even more, well done you on getting more of your work “out there” and having it recognised. As always, I wilt with impressedness at both your bravery and your juggling skills.

    1. I admit it was so lovely to see my daughter’s smiling face when she won her prize (I had absolutely no idea she might be a winner!). And as for putting my work ‘out there’ it seems that it’s simply part of the learning curve for me. It pushes me to work harder and better my skills. Now onto the next piece of art!

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