Nancy Gets Merit Award At Temple Terrace

There were forty-five artists participating in this festival. In addition to the Best of Show, three awards were given in each of four categories. We were in the Photography & Mixed Media/Collage category, which included five photographers and two mixed media specialists. The Robert Woodard Award (which Nancy received in 2012blog) was the top prize in this category and went to Timothy Hall.

To see the Note click here.To hide the Note click here.
Timothy’s Facebook pagelink is better than his websitelink, but it is still out of date. The best example that I could find of his more recent work is here.

Although non-rectangular quadrilateral (four-sided) frames aren’t part of the plans for my ongoing “Weird Wood” seriesPart 1, we could discuss them later if that material isn’t adequately covered elsewhere.


The Merit Award was the third award for each category. One of the mixed media specialists came in second. We are always happy to receive a little recognition.

Tell It To The Judge: In Defense Of Photographers & Canvas

Last updated on November 18th, 2019 at 06:38 pm

To be transparent, I must say I’ve developed some theories about the biases of art critics and the judges of art festivals, based mostly on their selections of art to be awarded prizes at these festivals (and maybe my own biases).  I’ve noticed certain patterns that I was hesitant to discuss here until I had taken the time to formally learn something about art.  That hasn’t happened yet, but we did have an opportunity to discuss photography (more specifically, nature and wildlife photography) with the judges at one recent art festival and I feel compelled to address one aspect of that discussion.  My comments on the other aspects may wait until I satisfy my original goals/requirements.  Today’s comments involve canvas.

The Judges’ Remarks

One of the judges said, “I’ve Never Seen A Photograph On Canvas That I Like”. There were three judges at the table when Nancy approached them. Their views were all consistent. Other remarks included “When I see a photograph on canvas I think the photographer is trying to impersonate a painter” and ‘When I see a picture wrapped around the edge of the canvas, it makes me think they are adapting a larger picture to a frame that is too small.’ One judge pointed out that painters don’t paint the side of their canvas.

Our History

Those familiar with our website know there are already two places where I’ve referred to painters as pre-photographers:

You also know I’ve even chided fellow photographers for not keeping up with the times Stop Thinking Like A Film Photographer!.

A Dose of Reality

Painters like Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci (1452-1519) and Georges Seurat (1859-1891) (see the first note in “A Question About Pixels”) are just two examples of artists who led society into the future, not followed. I’m sure if Leonardo had a camera, he would have used it in a flash (forgive the pun, I couldn’t help myself). These two and their peers would be saddened (or worse) to think that painters now feel unable to keep up with society and judges feel a need to artificially reserve materials and techniques specifically for painters in an effort to level the playing field.

My Responses

Now I’d like to address some of their remarks individually.

“When I see a photograph on canvas I think the photographer is trying to impersonate a painter”

A few months before this conversation, a painter at another prominent festival in Florida won Best Of Show and $10,000 for impersonating a photographer. I know another artist who uses pencil to imitate black & white photographs. This is called realism, which apparently artists have tried (with varying degrees of success) throughout history, most notably in the Realist Movement of the mid-nineteenth century.

So here’s a question: if canvas-using photographers are impersonating painters, who was Leonardo impersonating when he painted the two versions of Virgin of the Rocks in oils on wooden panels? A sculptor, maybe? Maybe a carpenter like the protagonist in his famous mural
“The Last Supper”? Or maybe that particular impersonation has been reserved for the judges.

“When I see a picture wrapped around the edge of the canvas, it makes me think they are adapting a larger picture to a frame that is too small.”

Well maybe that’s why painters do it. After all, contrary to the one judge’s declaration, some painters do paint the sides. But have you ever see a painter warp the image around the edge so that at some angle it creates an illusion and looks like a continuation of the front image (as described in the Canvas section of our Services page)? While we are at it, have you ever seen a painter camouflage their signature to make it less distracting (which solves a problem some critics have complained to photographers about)? Here’s how we do it ( Our New Technique For Signatures & Titles). Come on, painters, try to keep up!

“I’ve Never Seen A Photograph On Canvas That I Like”

I recently heard from another wildlife photographer about a time when a judge took a liking to one of her images, but then left without comment. When the judge came back the second time, he asked if she had another copy of that image that wasn’t printed on canvas. Fortunately, she did, because that second copy won her the second-highest award in the festival.

In our booth and online, I’ve discussed the magical properties of canvas. When people see one of Nancy’s images on canvas they are more likely to ask “Is this a painting?’ or are more likely to comment that it looks three-dimensional. For some strange reason, it is also perfectly acceptable to print a particular photograph larger on canvas.

To see the Note click here.To hide the Note click here.
People have offered a couple of explanations for this. The first argues that the texture of the canvas disguises any lack of resolution. The second, getting psychological, suggests that canvas invokes some painting mentality, making the viewer less critical (nobody ever asked an eighteenth-century master how many pixels were in his/her brush). Both explanations sound plausible to me, but being a pragmatist, I just run with what works.


So it is especially disturbing, and sad, that a judge would make a statement like this. Photographers follow the same rules of composition and the same principles of art, but for a judge to admit that these are not important, to me is an admission that the judges don’t really know what makes a piece of art special and are just grasping at fads or straws.

At least that’s how I see it (I guess now is a good time to remind you that the views expressed in this blog are not necessarily those of management). So what’s your view. If any of you can make better sense of these judges’ remarks, your comments are also welcome.

Nancy Gets Award of Excellence at Cedar Key

Last updated on July 7th, 2019 at 08:06 am

Cedar Key Award of Excellence
At the Old Florida Celebration of the Arts at the end of Marchannounced, Nancy received an Award of Excellence. As I remember, she was the only photographer to win this award (although I am unable to confirm this). This award is even more special considering that last year we weren’t even accepted by the jurists into the festival. Recognition like this is always appreciated.

Nancy Proudly Places 1st In Photography At Pembroke Pines

Last updated on November 18th, 2019 at 06:58 pm

At Artfest In The Pines last weekendannounced, Nancy received 1st Place In Photography. There were four other photographers. As you may recall, last year she was the third best photographer of threeblog. Needless to say, we were thrilled to receive this award.

I don’t know if this award was because of or in spite of her comments to some of the judges about judging biases at art festivals (which she expanded on in her acceptance speech at the award dinner). I had already started an article based on comments we received about photographers’ use of canvas from the judges of a large art festival last fall (tentatively titled “Tell It To The Judge”), but because of our current schedule, I have no idea when that article will be ready. Stay tuned.

(Editor’s note: see Tell It To The Judge: In Defense Of Photographers & Canvas)

Nancy Wins Award In F.W.F. Photo Contest

Last updated on October 4th, 2019 at 06:34 am

The Florida Wildlife Federation (F.W.F.)about just announced the ten winners of its annual photography contestlink. Nancy had entered seven images covering seven of the eight categories for which her images were eligible and wound up winning the Flowers category with her image “Ghost Orchid”.

Ghost Orchid
Winner of Flowers Category

We were hoping Nancy’s favorite image, “Osprey Family”, would win an award but the judges obviously preferred the yawning grebe. Oh, well. We are still thrilled with our results.

Nancy Gets Second Place In Photography

Last updated on July 7th, 2019 at 08:12 am

At the Lutz Arts & Crafts Festivalannounced last weekend, Nancy received second place in photography. This was our first time in this festival. It was a small festival with more crafts than fine art (I believe Nancy was one of only four photographers, but the others were very good). We are thankful for the award and look forward to next year’s show.

Picture Of Nancy Was In The Lakeland Ledger

Last updated on July 23rd, 2019 at 04:46 pm

Picture of Nancy in Lakeland Ledger newspaper
Picture in the Sunday, March 18, 2018 edition of the Lakeland Ledger (Page A6).

For what it’s worth, here’s a picture of Nancy at work at the Winter Haven Central Park Art Festival last March. You can read the whole article (which has even more information than the print version) at www.theledger.com/news/20180317/sunshine-artists-draw-crowds-to-40th-annual-central-park-festival-in-winter-haven or by clicking on the picture above.