Winter Lambing, 36X48, oil on canvas, by Carol L. Douglas
It’s that season when artists gather up their slides—by which I mean the JPGs on their desktops—and send them off to be juried. Technology has advanced so that we now get the same kind of results with a point-and-shoot camera that we used to rely on professional photographers to achieve.
That can have its downside. Last week, I wrote about decentralizationof art images on the internet. Reader Victoria B. responded:
“The image of the spoon and the Chinese screen taking up the same amount of screen real estate reminded me of art history classes I took where the Mona Lisa slide was the same size as a room-sized Rubens. What a revelation to go the Louvre and see exactly how small and subtle Mona really is. I also remember when the Finger Lakes show was judged on the actual work, not on slides. Now the judging is on digital files submitted electronically, so the 5” x 5” small work and the 5’ x 5’ large work will be viewed at the same size on a monitor.
“Equality is not always best when judging art work. I think the size of the painting (or sculpture) is part of the artist’s intent that we miss.”

Happy New Year, 6X8, by Carol L. Douglas. This is very small, but the distortion of the internet renders it the same size as the monumental painting above.
Victoria is talking about presence, and it’s a huge part of our subjective response to art. Paintings, drawings and prints stubbornly resist being scaled up or down; their fundamental character is tied to the size at which they were created.
Let me know if you’re interested in painting with me on the Schoodic Peninsula in beautiful Acadia National Park in 2015 or Rochester at any time. Click here for more information on my Maine workshops! Download a brochure here.