View Full Version : My first international award!

03-05-2018, 04:52 PM
Hi all, I have to share my good news with you. This weekend I was in Northern France for the opening night of the 3rd International Biennal Pastel d'Opale. More than 120 french and international artists had applied, 84 were accepted, a total of 220 paintings were on show. I had entered several still lifes but only one had made it into the show.
My painting was dwarfed by most of the entries, many of which were intricate and elaborate works. Some of you know my still lifes; I paint small, around 9x12" and use a simple setup. No carefully aranged cloth, no lace doily, just a few objects, some fruit, a glass jar or a metal pot. I want the composition, the shapes, colours and values to speak and I want it to look natural.

You can imagine my surprise and delight when my name was called during the award ceremony. To be one of 10 award winners, some of them internationally renowned artists is so exciting.
The judges, Isabelle Lim PSA and Stéphanie Portal, editor of 'Pratique des Arts', France's well-known art magazine, graciously took the time to explain what drew them to my painting. Such an incentive to hear that I am on the right path!

'Memories of summer'
Soft pastels, mainly Terry Ludwigs on black AS Colourfix paper


03-05-2018, 05:40 PM
Congratulations!! I am no judge or renowned artist, but your work is definitely of the highest quality, in my opinion!


03-05-2018, 06:50 PM
I would have picked this too! This looks amazing. Congratulations! It may be small, but your painting is mighty!

Donna T
03-05-2018, 07:10 PM
Wow! Congratulations Dorothea! That is wonderful news! You do such beautiful work and I'm sure your painting stood out from the rest. Intricate and elaborate works are fine but it's nice when judges recognize the beauty of light falling on just a few well-placed objects too; as if the light is as much the subject as the objects.

03-05-2018, 07:40 PM
Don, rain24 and Donna, thank you so much! I am still overwhelmed by this; the quality of many, many of the entries was so very high! I mean, look at some of them:




water girl
03-05-2018, 10:03 PM
Fantastic, Dorothea! I'm so happy for you. Good things do come in small packages! Congratualtions!

03-05-2018, 10:05 PM
Congratulations, amazing work!

learning to paint
03-06-2018, 12:24 AM
Gee, you are good at this! Very impressive work. Your award is well-deserved.

03-06-2018, 02:07 AM
Congratulations indeed; well deserved! Many times it isn't the large, complicated painting that gets the award. Sometimes small paintings that are well painted, and of seemingly simple composition will be recognized for what it is; award worthy artwork.

Thank you also for posting some of the other artwork.

Let us know when you come down from Cloud 9. 🙂

03-06-2018, 07:16 AM
Congratulations! Beautiful work.


03-06-2018, 07:41 AM
Congratulations, your work is beautiful! Made me hungry to boot.

03-06-2018, 11:14 AM
Thank you all! Peggy, I think I‘ll stay a bit longer on cloud 9, such a nice view from up here. :-) Something like this doesn‘t happen everyday to you, one needs to savour it.
Now I need to plan my next art projects and make use of some of the Sennelier PastelCard all the artists got as a welcome present!

03-06-2018, 01:22 PM

Would you mind telling us a few things what the juries told you why they chose your picture?

03-06-2018, 01:37 PM
Congratulations - outstanding work and well deserved win!

03-06-2018, 01:55 PM
Well, the conversation was mainly in French, so I might have missed a few details. The editor of ‚Pratique des Arts‘ told me that she loved the luscious colours of the plums which made them pop out from that dark background. That it made my painting immediately stand out. She said there was something about it which spoke to her, something other paintings didn‘t have. I think she also said that she liked that it wasn‘t cluttered. It was all very flattering! It is always gratifying when others tell you that they like your work, but to have a professional praise it, gives you such a boost of confidence!

03-06-2018, 08:58 PM
Yeah!! Congratulations. Well deserved. Your painting has all the right qualities we are taught to look for in a painting and to strive for in our own work.

Recently I saw a painting online that won an award from a prominent pastel society. I had no idea what the subject was. I enlarged it on my iPad and could guess what it might be. In my opinion, that judge(s) did not have an objective list of criteria from which to judge a painting.

Back to you - you are so talented and skilled, from I’m sure, has been years of experience and hard work.


03-06-2018, 10:34 PM
Wow! Congratulations! And we’ll deserved!

03-07-2018, 04:48 AM
Pam and Michael, thank you both! Pam, I‘ve always loved drawing, but I only really started using pastel when I registered for a drawing course at our local art school after our daughter had left the nest and gone to university. That was in 2007. Pastel was only one of several drawing mediums we used, next to graphite, ink or charcoal. I had owned a box of Schmincke pastel as a teenager which I had bought from my christmas money. I rediscovered them in a storage box in the basement and found them to be as vibrant and beautiful as on the day I had bought them more than 30 years ago. So I fell in love with them all over again! I went to my first pastel workshop in 2011; that‘s when things started to get more ‚serious‘. I was off then and haven‘t stopped since. What a journey it‘s been and still is!

03-07-2018, 06:09 AM
How utterly exciting! Congratulations, your artwork is stunning and absolutely deserves this award. 💕❤️

03-07-2018, 06:21 AM
Thank you so much, Katie! It is a really beautiful exhibition with a high standard. Have a look at the entries and you can see what a tough competition it was!

This blog shows all the paintings in the exhibition:


03-08-2018, 11:20 AM
Congratulations, well deserved! This is a wonderful painting. Don't discount small works. My very first award, which suprising I earned in my very first show I ever entered, was a small, what I considered unassuming 5x7 piece done on Canson Mi-tientes. I used fixative between the layers and inadvertently added texture to my marsh landscape, which the judge said she loved.

Keep true to yourself!


03-08-2018, 02:29 PM

03-09-2018, 01:35 PM
Creativevintage and stapeliad, thank you! Deb, I agree, some of my favourite painting in the exhibition were on the small side. I guess the judges really took their time with each and every painting. Quite a feat with more than 200 exhibitsM

Moises Menendez
03-11-2018, 01:37 PM
Great work Dorothea, and congratulations!
Your work is so realistic and that is the reason why you were chosen.

03-13-2018, 04:01 PM
Thank you, Moises! I‘ve just heard that my painting has been sold at the exhibition. I‘m a bit sad to see it go, but happy that someone fell in love with it!

03-13-2018, 04:25 PM
Such rich, vivid colours! Many congratulations to you!

03-13-2018, 05:08 PM
Congratulations! It's easy to see why it won and someone wanted to buy it! :clap:

04-01-2018, 01:27 PM
Wow! Congratulations Dorothea! That is wonderful news! You do such beautiful work....it's no wonder you got the award! :clap:

04-04-2018, 04:19 PM

Frances Obie
04-08-2018, 01:31 PM
Such a wonderful honour and we'll deserved IMHO! I see the simple but luxurious beauty in this piece. Well done!

05-01-2018, 01:49 PM
Congratulations. Well deserved. You always do amazing work.

07-05-2018, 07:48 PM
I apologize for responding so extremely late, guys! Thank you all very much for you nice words! There are some more news on this piece; it now heads an article about the exhibition in France‘s most popular art magazine ‚Pratique des Arts‘ in a special issue about pastel painting. I am so thrilled! I have to get a few issues of the magazine, at the moment all I have is a bad photo a french artist friend of mine sent to me when she discovered the photo of my painting there. I had no idea!!


water girl
07-05-2018, 08:43 PM
Congratulations! Well done!

07-13-2018, 04:34 AM
Congratulation beautiful work!

The Angler
07-13-2018, 05:59 PM
Well done absolutely brilliant, my mouth is watering, looking at them plums,

07-15-2018, 01:32 PM
Wonderful news and so well deserved. !!!!!!:clap:

08-15-2018, 04:11 PM
Congratulations! This must be so exciting. Always a good idea to be authentic.

08-18-2018, 03:23 PM
I have so admired other paintings you have posted, I am surprised this was your first international award, as so many I have seen seem also deserving.