All artists know the drill: you enter an event with your art, and you are rejected or accepted. Each time, most times, the artist has to guess as to why he/she was accepted or rejected. Judges don't have the time to explain.
Sometimes, things are different. I love doing plein aire events, a.k.a paint outs a.k.a quick draws. I have had two great judges of events, and I must say it was not because I placed in the event. It was the judge took the time either before or after presenting awards to speak to all/most of the artist participants. The judge that stayed around instead of rushing off to some other place and never letting us meet them.
The first artist, Beth Ravitz [www.bethravitz.com/], explained how she chose the awards. Beth chose each for not just beauty and color, but also took into consideration the individual styles. She chose not just realistic "photographic" art, but also impressionistic and almost abstract works. She wanted a cross section of the best of each type of style. Beth took the few minutes and explained that to the group. It's been about 3 years since that Pinecrest Gardens event, and I still remember her!
Today, it was Gregory Little [http://www.gregorylittle.com] who took the time after judging to speak to each participating artist. He took the time to give me what was great about my art piece [based on Harrison Street, Hollywood, Florida] and what could be improved the next event. He was aware that I had some experience painting outdoors, and little painting street scenes and buildings. Greg took a few minutes to review these things, and he will always be remembered by me.
Both Beth and Greg's links are included in this blog post. Go see their art - their art is incredible. I am honored to have my art judged by both artists!