Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Interview with Juror Joanne Burney

 “Plane Tree II”, oil, 30x20”
Joanne Burney
  1. When you jury an exhibit what is the first thing about a painting that jumps out and says "I deserve an award"?
Paintings have presence. They say, “Look at me!” Once a painting gets your attention, you check to see if it is worth an award. (See my criteria below.)

  1. Knowing you teach at the Denver Art Students League, what do you find the most rewarding as a teacher?
Being able to share what I know about art. I was very fortunate to have an exceptionally good art education. I went to good schools and studied with great artists and teachers. I feel I owe it to them to pass it on.

  1. Your work with trees is amazing. What are the things you have learned about your subject and about yourself with this intimate focus?
Trees have something to say. They are not just fillers in a broad landscape, but are individually worthy of study. They may represent strength, or reaching for the sky (symbolically as well as physically), or silent suffering or abundant beauty – anything. I’m not interested in painting vistas, but as a portrait painter I am interested in character, and trees have plenty of that. At first I was intimidated by their complicated branch structure, foliage and unfamiliar attributes. But I learned that if I stayed with it, I could paint them.

  1. What does a day in the life of Joanne Burney look like?
I get up, have coffee and make my husband’s lunch. I exercise, walk the dog, do chores and go to work (paint/art business/teaching). Then I make dinner. After dinner I relax a little and do more “stuff”. Then I walk the dog. Some days I teach all day and into the night. My day looks pretty much like anybody else’s, unless anybody else has kids, servants or no dog.

  1. Do you spend time marketing? What activities have you found useful in marketing your art.
Artists have to spend a lot of time marketing. I enter shows, send out newsletters, advertise my classes and workshops, read trade journals and check out galleries.

     6.   Do you set goals for your artwork? What are two of your goals for next year?

I do set goals. Currently I am looking for another gallery and am doing more portraits.

     7.  Any comments you have about the LAC exhibit in general would be most interesting to our readers.
The LAC show looked good right from the start. I wish I’d had more awards to give. While subject matter per se and medium per se are not considerations when I choose a work for award, I was impressed with the range of subject matter and the range in mediums, and the quality throughout, that serendipitously provided me with such variety in the award winners.

    Any comments for the award winners?
When I give awards I judge for several things –
1. Form and function (does the piece communicate something and do it appropriately with the composition and materials chosen?),
2. Technique (does the piece show good technique, and do it in such a way that you don’t notice technique, i.e. does the artist make it look effortless and natural – not belabored?),
3. Use of formal elements (has the artist taken full advantage of the use of line, shape, proportion, value, color, texture, gestalt). Whether representational or abstract, the piece has to use them well.
4. The “surprise” (does the piece show something new or something old in a new way?) This does not mean that the piece always is pleasant or communicates a happy mood. It means it touches us in a meaningful way.

The Best of Show had all of those and what a surprise! You just don’t see a piece like that every day.

The 2nd place oil had a sense of lush technique and great shapes and color, showing wonder at the plays of light and beauty of the flowers.

The 3rd place had killer color and design, and the surprise that it was a photo of a wall.

The Marge Steinbach award – the patterned integration with the subject of butterflies and background was so perfect to both. The piece had great color and movement and was an inspiration, much as Marge herself must have been to inspire that award.

The Merit Awards
      - The Acrylic Landscape had an exceptional moodiness and a unique look that supported/created it.
      - The Abstract Acrylic also had mood and flow and space, integrating the black into the otherwise colorful    piece very successfully.
      - The Pastel had a lovely, contemplative mood and a beautiful handling of the pastels, especially used to create the various objects in the still-life.

“Ponderosa - Light on the Morraine”, Pastel, 20x16”
Joanne Burney

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