To up your odds of taking that prize, I’ll give you a window into the mind of this juror! The same thinking helps me compete in shows.

HUMILITY — Leave the ego behind. When I don’t get the award (or with some shows don’t even get in) I try to remember it isn’t actually a reflection of the value of my work. There are a LOT of great artists out there! The more I know and love, the easier it is to be happy when their work gets accepted or they win awards and I don’t.

STORY — What is your painting communicating? Think in terms of what is essential for that purpose — leave everything else out.

VALUE — Using the full range from dark to light usually makes your painting stand out better from a distance. Use darkest darks and lightest lights to lead the viewer’s eye where you want it to go.

PIZZAZ — You’ll be competing against 199 other paintings in this show. Consider the WOW factor… what will get a juror’s attention? Use a unique perspective.

DESIGN — Color can get attention — using creative instead of local (accurate) color or complimentary colors (opposites on the color wheel). Placing your subject to give you a variety of shape sizes usually works in your favor.

SURPRISE — Give your viewer a payoff for moving in for a closer look. It might be texture or anything not visible from the distance. When everything is not immediately apparent it causes the viewer to spend more time with your painting.

VARIETY — As a juror, I like to consider what makes a well rounded show. Actually, work that tends to be more like mine tends to get more scrutiny than work that I feel I couldn’t do. It’s easier to spot perceived flaws.

SERENDIPITY — Even I have no clue what is going to speak to me at the moment I jury. But if I already know and love your work and it’s recognizable, the reality is that it will have to be clearly superior to take an award. Don’t think that’s not possible! But if your painting doesn’t place, that may be the reason.


Every fall Oregon Society of Artists has a fundraiser. We started this years ago to raise money to improve the downstairs classroom, back when I was on the board. Entering artists get 12 x 12 inch wood cradled panels by American Easel for the show, and 200 of them will be for sale for $200 or less. While Oregon Society of Artists does not take a commission on sales, your entry fee will add to the fund. And often artists contribute part of the proceeds back to OSA anyway.


  1. To support OSA. After all, OSA is a great organization that helps artists learn, show their work and find community.
  2. Helps you break out of the mold. If you’re a traditional watercolor painter, this will give you an opportunity to try something new.
  3. It’s a design opportunity. The 12 x 12 inch format lends itself to strong design. Because most paper isn’t square, we often ignore that format.
  4. Every painting gets in the show! Nothing will be juried out. You paint it and it hangs.
  5. Prize money!!! This show has a great sales rate, plus there are fabulous prizes — first pace is $500 cash!


Last year my painting, “Travel Fever— Paris to Shanghai” took first place.


This year they’ve asked me to jury the show. It is a wonderful honor! I have loved each of these fundraiser shows and have entered them all, so I know how many deserving paintings there will be. Jurying will be a difficult job. I’ll only be able to give out a few awards, and one of them could be yours.

There are still some cradled panels left to pick up from OSA!

You still have until the end of October to finish your entry. Download the prospectus HERE to enter.
But don’t wait long to pick up your panels… they will soon be gone.

You can find complete instructions HERE on my blog for many ways to approach painting on a panel. Search for “panel” on my blog to find more. Or figure out your own methods — it’s all part of the creative process.

Beautiful paintings from last year’s show — click to enlarge