Art competitions - entering as an older artist


As an insecure, self-taught artist who started painting later in life, entering competitions was the only way I felt I could try to validate my art. I wasn’t in a gallery and was too terrified to even think about applying to any. Other than my family, who would think my work was worth anything? Competitions were anonymous opportunities where I felt I had nothing to lose. The thought that I could possibly even get any feedback, or shockingly, any awards, kept me trying. I needed proof I wasn’t wasting my time.

2013 Finalist, “Pencils in Glass Jars”, International Association of Pastel Artists 23rd Juried Exhibition- pastel
2011 Honorable Mention, Still Life, “Pencils in Glass Jars”, The Pastel Journal 11th Annual 100 Competition

I WAS shocked when I did start winning a few awards because that made my hours of working alone in my small studio a sign that there was a possibility I could be a “real” artist. And I needed to feel that what I was doing WAS real!

Finalist, 2015 International Association of Pastel Societies 26th Juried Competition “8 or 9 Glass Bowls"
First Place, Still Life, 2015, The Pastel Journal 16th Annual Best 100 Pastel Paintings Competition “8 or 9 Glass Bowls"


Livre 40 maitres du PASTEL par Pratique des Arts”, published in Paris, 2016

The fact that an unknown, older artist could be recognized for work they were unsure about was the most motivating thing that could happen to me. It made going into a studio every day a choice, an opportunity to excel at something. But after all, who was I to be recognized for my talent as an artist? I was selected to be included in “Livre 40 maitres du PASTEL par Pratique des Arts”, a book that was published in Paris to recognize the 40 Worldwide Masters of Pastel 2016. I think I can now stop the constant questioning of my abilities. I "get it” now.


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