Now that you have Chumbawamba’s 1997 hit song in your head, read on!


“The Disappearing Highway near the Disappearing House”

Digital Media 104 x 154 cms

In 1969, the village of Conara was by-passed by the addition of a new section of the Midlands Highway.For nearly 50 years this former section of the highway has remained virtually silent, the only sounds being the transient herds of sheep and the resident wildlife. Apple trees have grown along the roadside thanks to the many apple cores thrown from passing vehicles.

This section of the Midlands Highway was once famous for the ‘Disappearing House’, built in 1839-1840 and originally the local Inn and could be seen whilst driving from the south. One moment it would be in sight, then, the next moment it would disappear behind a hill. Unfortunately, the new section of highway doesn’t offer this intriguing view anymore.

Walk along this section of the former highway and the house is still to be seen appearing and disappearing. The road itself is far from what it used to be; in fact it’s slowly, but surely, disappearing too.

Nature is reclaiming the landscape it once lost. The status is returning; what goes around comes around.

I didn’t make the Glover Art Prize Finalists’ list this year (again), but I’m grateful that I’ve made it on 2 other occasions. Entering major art awards is fraught with danger. The (often) large amount of entries and the influence of the judges’ varying opinions, one’s chance of ‘making it’ is rather small. So why enter in the first place? For me, it’s all about the challenge to produce something ‘extraordinary’, something very special. That’s not an easy task, but the ‘journey’ to think, plan and create something unique (the process) is very rewarding. When, after all the hard work, one’s entry is not selected, it’s easy to be depressed, but one should remember and celebrate the creative journey that has occurred.

Learning to deal with rejection is something that all artists who enter major awards have to deal with. In the past some of my colleagues have not dealt well with this. It’s okay to be angry, but only for a short time. Regroup and start again! Rejection can actually make you  stronger and more resilient. When you do experience success (and you will if you keep ‘getting back up’), you will appreciate it even more because of what you have gone through.

I am primarily a coloured pencil artist, but this year I decided to enter a digital work. Both my previous successful entries were in coloured pencil. Should I have stuck with the tried and true method? All entrants should be given feedback about their work. I know it would be a huge task, but such feedback is always beneficial to the artist.

Congratulations to this year’s finalists. Enjoy the experience that makes the Glover Prize one of the best in the country!




About artkleko

artist, art curator, art teacher, art judge, art critic
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12 Responses to I GET KNOCKED DOWN,

  1. cindydrawpj says:

    Just love your attitude Richard and so well said. We win some we loose some but I think you ate already a winner for creating the entry in the first place. Competition artworks alway push our skills to the next level.

  2. Thank you for the post Richard. I did not get anything done for Glover this year but did enter last year…. rejected…. but sold the work and did enjoy the journey as you point out. Like you, I would love feedback … even if one had to pay extra for it…. that is how we learn, progress and ponder our own reasons for working the way we do
    . The judges must look at all works and must have reasons, so wouldn’t it be so valuable if those reasons were shared with the artist. It must be the teacher in us I reckon. This is an interesting work and concept… again.

  3. Edna says:

    Richard, your successes in so many areas other than in the current Glover outweigh that minor failure. It seems to me that almost all of the past and present Glover judges do not have Tas local or historical knowledge and they react to the visual, unusual (material and subject such as Port Arthur). I am not so sure that an artist’s statement is as important in this context as it perhaps should be if it is to be a Tas landscape prize. I have read some very unrelated ones connected to work that would discount them on this point.

    • artkleko says:

      Thanks Edna, and I agree that judges from ‘the outside world’ may not have a true understanding of what each of our major prizes seeks from its entrants. I have though, seen some excellent decisions, but also some mystifying ones! You comment about the relevance of artist’s statements has merit.

  4. Noelene Johnston says:

    Richard, I gave up entering competitive art shows long ago. I realised that the selection panels chose their personal taste in submitted works. What else could they do? That doesnt mean your work is not good. All art represents the personal emotions and talent of the artist. Some fortunately have more widespread appeal than others. Like you, I am often affected and influenced by the opinions of others. This only happened when I became a full-time artist at 30. As a child I created freely and happily, without intervention. I lost a lot of that when I started to think about what others wanted. Subsequently I dont paint nearly as much. We really must do what we are inspired to or risk becoming an artistic puppet! I love your work and find it individual and creative – something difficult to achieve these days. Just like songwriters and musicians, you will have your own fan base.

    • artkleko says:

      Thank you Noelene for your thoughts and on-going support. Being an art judge myself, I am aware of what judges go through. It is a tough job, but I wish that there was more (some) communication between them and the entrants.

  5. sharonsskow says:

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts Richard.

    What you have written are so very true. That is always a fear of failing but then again, everything has to have a balance and that’s where we learn to be stronger, like you said.

    Rejections help me realised that the world doesn’t revolve around me only. I have to keep a very open mind and look ahead. There is only 2 way to go, keep going ahead or give up and turn back.

    As for the feedback by the judges/juries, it is definitely a huge tasks for them. For me, I would not expect it because I always believe that art is very subjective, especially so in competitions.

  6. Perceived ‘rejection’ can be painful for sure but I paint/draw/create for myself primarily, in the hope that someone will identify with a particular piece and buy it. Entering competitions and/or exhibitions is a way of gaining an audience, possibly a following – it can never be about ‘winning’ as the odds are against that happening for most of us. To “be there” each time is THE destination (if I make it) but I totally agree that I have learnt something from each ‘journey’ so each piece has been worthwhile, even if the result didn’t meet my hopes/expectations.
    Communication about judge’s choices is wonderful when it happens, but as you point out Richard, the task is huge! Sometimes even general statements about the criteria used can help an artist critique their own work accordingly 🙂

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