Well it’s that time of the year again...everyone in the bird art world is nervously waiting for Shari Schroeder to send word about whether or not they have been accepted into the very exclusive and prestigious Birds in Art Exhibition in Wausau, Wisconsin.
When I was a young painter I never thought I’d be good enough to even apply to enter. Then in the 1980s an Australian painter was accepted for the first time, and the door of possibility opened a crack. After studying the Old Masters in London for 2 years, working hard to improve my technique and developing my understanding of bird anatomy, I thought I was ready to enter the big time. So I applied. I have already written about the many decisions that need to be made when entering from outside north America (https://www.tonypridham.com.au/Blog/ID/13/Making-it-in-the-world-of-bird-art-before-you-die) so I won’t repeat the rigmarole here. Suffice to say, it’s so much harder being on the other side of the world, as my American friend Jan is now finding having recently moved her studio to Africa.
So last night while surfing TV channels the phone went ping and up came the news that I had been accepted into the 2019 Exhibition. I was thrilled! Although this is my 9th acceptance from 10 applications, I have never taken it for granted that I would be one of the handful of hopefuls that make it through the tough jury process. Success at this level is hard to achieve, as what constitutes great art is such a subjective judgement and so few get through.
Following the much anticipated emails, the responses via Facebook from my art friends around the globe varied from “Huge thrill to get the email” to “I have applied 35 times without luck since 1985, but I will keep trying”. It’s a tough gig being a bird artist, but we all have a passion for this genre that keeps us going. We will continue to hone our skills in the ongoing quest for that ultimate tick of approval that culminates in 3 days of glory at Wausau. Indeed for Antipodeans like myself the biggest thrill is to be able to mix with my peers after the isolation of being a lone bird painter in the wilds of Australia. We are a rare breed downunder!
Well done to all the successful applicants in this year’s BIA, and Nicky and I will see you in Wausau in September!