Lost in the Deadwood watercolor painting by Angela FehrYesterday I received my entry form for the Capture the Beauty of the Peace art competition, sponsored by Picture Perfect Gallery in nearby Grande Prairie, Alberta. I entered this competition once before, back in 1999 when I was just starting out as a serious artist. I thought that the competition would be a better fit for me than it was back then – I’ve grown in skill and confidence, and I actually had some Peace region inspired paintings to enter.
Mossy Niche Watercolor painting by  Angela FehrThe competition description says that it is open to amateur and developing artists, and I would consider myself a developing artist still. But when I read a little further, I realized that there is just no way that I can enter, for several reasons.

1. Minimum size, 11″ x 14″ -I am painting larger than that right now, but I had in mind to enter my Secrets of the Muskeg series, and they are smaller (though in total they would surpass the minimum size)

2. & 3. The prize money, $500, is given in exchange for the painting, AND all copyright privileges.

Okay, $500 is an acceptable amount for first place, especially considering that this is competition for developing artists. But I sure wouldn’t be able to enter anything larger than 11″ x 14″ and have the prize money be a fair representation of market value. Silent Beauty watercolor painting by Angela Fehr
The deal-breaker to me is the idea of signing over all copyright to the gallery. I would be willing to make a deal on limited edition prints, in a single run, but to give away my copyright is to give up the advertising I get from putting my art on my web site and in my other advertising, as well as any profits from making my own prints and cards. Even when I entered the competition as a green brand-new artist nearly ten years ago, I would have been uncomfortable with this arrangement.

Now, I suppose I could just enter and hope I don’t win, and then my reservations would be moot anyhow. And I would benefit from the exposure in a gallery I haven’t exhibited at in nine years. Since I don’t have a painting of the appropriate size anyhow, it doesn’t really matter.

I am told that the gallery is under new ownership, and on my next trip to Grande Prairie, I’d like to go in and check it out, start a conversation. The competition is out, but perhaps representation would still be an option.