Art shows and jurors

gnalinvite-1How jurying a show works for me

After talking with others on their jury process, I’ve come up with my own that works pretty well.

I base my selections for an organization’s survey show of members work (it would be different for a curated show) on these three qualities in each piece: mastery of composition, technique, and foremost, the expressive quality of the artist’s idea or concept. These qualities are what I return to when I analyze a piece. Other things affect my decisions as well, including presentation.

Recently, I was the juror for prizes for the 75th Anniversary Show of work by members of the Greater Norristown Art League in Pennsylvania being hosted by Montgomery County Community College. There were 125 works entered with eight prizes to be awarded, including “Best of Show.”

There were many high-quality traditional pieces in a variety of mediums entered in this show with some work having exciting non-traditional mounting methods and unique viewpoints in both 2D and 3D.

IF YOU GO: The show’s opening reception is Wednesday, Sept 15th, 5–7pm. Next week there will be a gallery talk on September 18, 1–3pm. The show will be up until Friday, September 30th at Montgomery County Community College, Fine Arts Gallery, Central Campus, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell, PA 19422 (USA).

Art in the Storefront, Ambler PA


In addition to my graphic design and publishing business, I am a painter, and over the next few weeks I will be putting final touches on  new paintings for “Then and Now,”  an exhibition at Ambler’s Art in the Storefront. This show will include paintings from when I was a young painter through today. The works for the exhibition will show a progression in my work including portrait, still life, and landscape paintings.

Save the date and stop by for the opening on Friday November 20, 2015, from 5:30–7pm. Art in the Storefront is a sidewalk event, and the work will be in the window of Denney Electric, so please dress for the weather and an enjoyable time! The show will be up until January 13, 2016. Street parking is available as well as a municipal parking lot. To see an animation of my painting process check out the slide show on the home page.

What can designers learn from painters?

Graphic design is more about organization.  Painting is usually more about expression.  A balance of organization and expression in art and design leads to successful outcomes.

Edge quality in painting is a big deal.

It’s one of those things that separate the good from the best.  The edge quality in graphic design is often hard edge due to the nature of the tools.  Photographic images incorporated into your layout as a design element can totally transform your work from an austere crisp graphic to something that is more expressive and appealing. This will keep your audience looking at your message longer.

All lines are not created equal.

Good line quality is important because it can support the visual communication of an idea from a poster or website. Painters use tools that immediately allow them more expression in contrast to a designer who usually works digitally and spends a lot of the time with hard edge picture boxes.  It may not be appropriate for every project but when possible, experimenting with line quality can dramatically impact the quality of your designs.

Pictured left to right: Chinese Reader for Beginners, With Exercises in Writing and Speaking James C. Nute, Arthur P. Lites, Stanford, California, 1942.  Lines, M Plus M Incorporated, New York, New York, 1991 and Endangered (series of six posters)
Sommese Design, State College, Pennsylvania, 1993.

What’s a compositional shape anyway?

At at the most rudimentary level, designers begin a layout by thinking in very graphic terms about the content, including proportion and compositional shapes.  How creative one can be with their compositional shapes and proportions depends on their ability to see and comprehend proportions. Many times when a design is lacking that special sauce, an adjustment to proportions is all that is needed.

For designs with character that stand out from the cookie cutter template solutions proliferating our visual field, think line quality, edge quality and keep up your drawing. For additional design resources visit the AIGA Archives.

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The current state of flash in an HTML 5 future


Currently Flash does not work on Mac iOS which includes iPhones and iPads. Adobe’s solution is its Flash Media Server, which allows your video to be ‘pushed’ through their server technology and work on any device including AIR, Android, and iOS devices with live and on-demand streaming.  You can use a host like or purchase Adobe’s Flash Media Server for $995.00 – $45K depending on your needs. But here’s the conundrum:  Adobe has stopped its support of Flash on mobile devices, and plans to focus on tools that will more easily allow for content creation across platforms.

In contrast, HTML 5 only works on 50% of the current browsers and can take about three times as long to debug.  It’s getting there, but it’s not quite ready yet in comparison to 99% of browsers supporting Flash.  To read more statistics check out the “Flash or HTML 5” post at Periscopic.

It’s been recommended by Jay Yearly of Media Tech Connection that “developers shouldn’t bank their entire skill set on learning only one technology language, regardless of how widely used it is”

What about your next project? The answer lies with your target market.  Designers must base this decision on their audience and take a look at browsers by market share, potential audience, interactive features, SEO, development time, and testing along with additional considerations such as planning for your target market’s current and future technology for approximately two years out.