WHICH ONE? / by Carolyn Wright



[First published in April, 2016]

Over the years of entering art shows, my fellow artist friends and I have joked around, wondering which we would prefer of one of our paintings:  that it win a prize? Or that it sold?  We go back and forth and eventually say we would prefer-- both!

Up till recently, I’ve only experienced one or the other.  I’ve sold paintings.  I’ve gotten a few prizes.  Great experiences, no doubt, each separately.

But this weekend, I received first place at the Potomac Valley Watercolorists Green Springs Show.  I’ve never won a prize that prestigious.  If you are familiar with PVW shows, you know the competition was stiff.

Walking across the room to receive the award, I felt as if I might pop open, like a spring flower bursting forth in bloom.  When the judge told the gathering that she’d awarded this painting first place because “it sparked joy in me like no other painting in the show”, I almost wept.  It seemed the pinnacle.  Nothing could make the day better.

I was wrong.

Later that evening, after celebrating and spending time with family, I checked my emails one last time before bed.  And that’s when I discovered that “Quintet” had sparked enough joy in another couple that they purchased the painting that evening.  I floated to bed that night.

So now I know the answer to the question of which I would prefer: to win an award, or to sell a painting.  The answer is: BOTH!