Tuesday, March 8, 2011

"After the Fall"
Oil on canvas
16 x 20"

This past weekend, I was one of fifty artists chosen to participate in an art competition at the Arnold Fitness Classic in Columbus, Ohio. On Friday morning, we worked from live models who were also athletes competing in several of the events that weekend. Then Friday afternoon, were turned loose with our cameras to photograph whatever we liked.

Bright and early Saturday morning, the competition began with all 50 of us setting up and painting from whichever photograph most inspired us. Mine was the little girl you see above.

After seeing her fall (she wasn't hurt - but emotionally, devastated), I realized that most of the time, the winners of any sporting event are the ones photographed, highlighted and painted. But so many don't win; I wanted to show the emotion they might experience after months and years of practice have gone into a single moment when the outcome is not so glorious.

This paint out is an emotional event for the artists competing as well. We paint with each other and can see our competitors work progressing and can judge ours rather harshly in the process. Over 250,000 people attend the Arnold Classic and many, many of them stopped to watch us work, which also adds to the excitement/anxiety. All the while a clock is ticking: 8 hours to complete a painting or drawing which is judged the next morning.

Oh, I forgot to mention that at one point, I was in my zone, headphones on, brush in hand and suddenly I realized that there were a LOT of cameras all around me. I turned to find Arnold himself leaning over my shoulder and looking at my work. He wanted to know why the little girl was crying, so we had a heart to heart about my motivation. Pressure there, too.

So Arnold, media, crowds, peers and a time crunch all make for an exciting day. I loved every minute of it.

On Sunday, we arrived early again to find out the results. First, second and third places were awarded and, alas, I was not one of them. No bitterness; all of the winners' work was fabulous. Just disappointment and creeping self-doubt.

I guess my painting was apropos for what I, too, was feeling after my competition.


Sadami said...

Dear Rhonda,
Very imrpessive work!
Kind regards, Sadami

Mary M. said...

Well painted and well said. Great post!

Shelley Whiting said...

I loved how you captured the girl's emotion. It's very genuine and beautiful.