3rd Thursday Rules ???


  • administrators

    Hi Guys,

    We have heard that some haven't been very happy with some of the rules we've had for our 3rd Thursday competition. This is your competition just as much as it is ours and we really want to dial in some rules that everyone is happy with going forward in 2016. Some of the complaints are with the rule that we have made past winners ineligible to win back to back or for future competitions throughout the year. We've struggled with that decision as well - in many ways we've been discouraging the most committed participants and students.

    So - an option that we could go with starting in January is that everyone is eligible to win every month - But the twist is that we only critique paintings from people we haven't critiqued before... This would in many ways serve two audiences - those who really want to receive or watch critiques and those who want to push themselves to make the "honorable mentions" list and/or top 5. Under this proposal you might not receive a critique even though you were a top 5 winner...

    I would love to get feedback on this idea? Nothing is set in stone - we need to bring it up in our next SVS meeting...



  • @Will-Terry I think that your proposal seems like a good compromise. Entering these events has really pushed me to work harder. The first time I entered I didn't even make the honorable mentions. I was bummed but that spurred me to work harder the next month, and the next month until I finally crafted a piece of work that was considered for the top five. The critiques are always very helpful but also knowing that your work is being chosen for the honorable mentions list and/or the top five certainly adds a goal to work towards for every artist that is participating.

    What I really like about your idea is that artists of varying abilities will benefit from a critique from either you, Jake, or Lee. Also, both you and Lee are always lending a helping hand to those posting in the forums. Thanks for that!!

    Personally, I really love the option of being able to buy a critique seat at one of your live events although that is an additional time commitment for the instructors.

    Thanks to you all for trying to be flexible and meet the needs of the group. SVS rules!



  • I think the changes you're proposing are a good compromise as well. I agree with everything Rob said. Even if past winners are still eligible to win I don't think the same 3 people would win over and over. There are variables like the prompt and their available free time that will change things month to month.



  • Hi Will. If I were you, I would suggest actually ranking every submission received from first place, to last place each month, and publishing that list after the live critique, along with the thumbnails of each entry. Personally, I think it would be really fun to see where I fell on a ranked list of everyone else and their submissions, and would motivate me to keep entering, even when I couldn't win the prize, or receive a live critique. It would sort of be like a record of my improvement, if I were able to climb the rank, over time. Then, each month make the "winners" the top 5 who HAVEN'T won in the past year, as well as critique them (just as you do now). That would keep things as they are, yet still provide an incentive (rank placement) for those who have already won. You and your partners could rank all individually, and then your son, Aaron, could analyze and compile a final, averaged ranking. You could also give users the ability to "opt out" of the list ranking, and instead place their entry anonymously (at least to other contestants). I could see how having such a list could make some people feel bad, as they place at the bottom of the rank. But, really, such criticism is invaluable. If/when I scored at the bottom, it would just motivate me to want to improve more.

    This brings me to another idea... why not sell the ability for someone to pay for a live critique from you on an individual basis? I realize there would be a time commitment for you and your partners to do this. And, you might think that it wouldn't be worth it. But hey, all you have to do is set what you believe an half hour of your time is worth, sell your time at that price, record a video response, and send it to the customer, right? Anyway, I think it would be neat to be able to pay a fee, upload the image I want analyzed, and then get that live critique, for that particular image, in due time. Hell, you wouldn't even have to promise a deadline. You could just add them to a queue, when purchased, and get to them when you actually had the time. You could even give people the option to pick a specific SVS instructor, or "next available," meaning any instructor could grab it off the queue, and critique it.

    Pixby



  • I don't think ranking everyone would keep in the spirit of learning SVS seems to be about. Will has mentioned in some of his talks that it's difficult to compare 2 completely different pieces of art from different artists like that. While it is a competition, keeping a pool of winners makes it less about direct comparison against every individual participant and more about aspiring to have your work recognized as a solid piece. To me, ranking would seem to fall more into the scarcity mindset rather than the abundance mindset.

    I do however, like the idea of purchasing critiques. I was just looking at Giuseppe Castellano's site, referred on the Stories Unbound podcast, and he offers portfolio critiques for a fee. Hadn't seen that before but it is nice that it makes him accessible to people that think it's worth paying for.



  • Personally, i feel like individually ranking every piece would be pretty tedious and I'm not sure what value it would have. Plus SVS would open itself to even MORE arguments as to why a particular piece was ranked higher than another.

    I do agree that if you could somehow expand the live critiques (which I believe are occasionally available for purchase on the main SVS site) that would be awesome! More frequently perhaps?

    Whether you decide to keep the once a year win as is or change it to something else I'm fine with it. I definitely can commiserate with those who feel like their piece could have/should have won but didn't (I've been there). I know what it's like to really yearn for a crit to at least let you know why yours wasn't chosen (yes, most times you can glean info from the other crits but not always). But I still think this system is not bad.

    Assuming that it will be impossible to critique every entry maybe a compromise would be to expand the number of crits by a couple? Again, I am only bringing this up because SVS is doing some soul searching but you could probably tune up some of the "down time" before and after the actual crits to save on overall time. That way you could squeeze more in. You could possibly do the regular number of in depth crits and then a handful of quick ones (these could be as simple as: "On piece X we felt there were form issues", or "the composition was not as strong as it could be--bring this figure to the foreground and simplify the rest", etc.)


  • administrators

    Hi guys,

    I love hearing your thoughts on this topic. Ultimately though, I feel like the real issue is that people want their work talked about. This leaves the people who get their stuff talked about feeling happy, and the people who didn't get the crit, feel like they got a raw deal because we picked the wrong ones.

    I'm definitely open to the changes, but some people will always feel like we left them out unfairly. It's the nature of art contests. I am going to suggest that we crit 5 pieces that we feel have issues that could help everyone, and then just pick one winner overall per month and that's it.

    The road we are on keeps adding more and more administration and people to the crit and it seems it's just to get more people mentioned in the crit. The quick crit is a good idea, until you get a student who works on a piece for 50 hours and then gets a crit like "I didn't like the composition". Easy way to make people very mad! Of course, not being mentioned after putting in a bunch of time stings too, so I'm not sure what to do here. Maybe take the competition part out of it entirely?

    I'm a HUGE fan of the paid portfolio critique. That way it's just one on one (or a few instructors perhaps) and we can really get down to business. Another option is an assignment based topic and for a small fee everyone gets critiqued. Only people who paid would have their work looked at. So maybe a "free" contest like we have been doing. And a "fee" version capped at 10-12 people who definitely get feedback. Not sure how often we could run these, but we could make it happen if everyone wanted that kind of thing.

    Again, thanks for the feedback. I'd love to hear more about what you guys think.



  • @natiwata said:

    I don't think ranking everyone would keep in the spirit of learning SVS seems to be about>

    How so? I don't see how ranking an open competition goes against any of the "spirit" of site at all. SVS has a competition. So, a competitive spirit seems to be in direct alignment with said spirit.

    Will has mentioned in some of his talks that it's difficult to compare 2 completely different pieces of art from different artists like that>

    It may be difficult, but that's exactly what's happening.

    While it is a competition, keeping a pool of winners makes it less about direct comparison against every individual participant and more about aspiring to have your work recognized as a solid piece. To me, ranking would seem to fall more into the scarcity mindset rather than the abundance mindset.>

    I'm sorry, but this is just semantics. In order to choose a pool of winners, direct comparison is necessary and unavoidable. It's impossible to choose winners without it, by definition.

    I would welcome my work to be compared against another and for someone to say, "Here's why this work is fundamentally better." Not that my suggestion of ranking would make that happen. A simple ranking doesn't promote direct comparison any more than only announcing the winners does.Those who do not win, will still compare to those who do. It's inescapable.

    I do however, like the idea of purchasing critiques. I was just looking at Giuseppe Castellano's site, referred on the Stories Unbound podcast, and he offers portfolio critiques for a fee. Hadn't seen that before but it is nice that it makes him accessible to people that think it's worth paying for.



  • @mattramsey said:

    Personally, i feel like individually ranking every piece would be pretty tedious>

    I don't see how. Simply set them out and arrange them visually in order, from excellent to needs improvement.

    and I'm not sure what value it would have.>

    It would allow everyone to work toward achieving a goal with each contest, rather than merely win/lose. Moving up a rank gives everyone a score, regardless of outcome. That would be valuable to me.

    Plus SVS would open itself to even MORE arguments as to why a particular piece was ranked higher than another.

    Is there a problem with debate, or argumentativeness? I've never understood why there are some people who do not welcome it. I'm sure there are many criteria that are looked at in terms of figuring why one illustration is stronger than another. While I don't think an explanation would need to be given necessarily, it wouldn't be that difficult to provide, I'm sure, if desired. "This piece better fit the prompt." or "That piece's composition was superior." Fairly simple. Whether the SVS instructors realize it or not, they are likely following an unwritten "visual grading rubric" in their mind's eye, to assess each piece, over another, regardless.



  • @Lee-White said:

    The quick crit is a good idea, until you get a student who works on a piece for 50 hours and then gets a crit like "I didn't like the composition". Easy way to make people very mad! Of course, not being mentioned after putting in a bunch of time stings too, so I'm not sure what to do here.

    That was my major concern. I had to go off of what I would have wanted on one of mine that didn't get a crit. I realize that everyone is different but I found myself "desperately" wanting even just a hint of what held it back.

    But I agree with you and am not sure what the solution is--again, given the fact that it wouldn't be feasible to thoroughly crit each and every piece.



  • @Pixby said:

    @mattramsey said:

    Personally, i feel like individually ranking every piece would be pretty tedious>

    I don't see how. Simply set them out and arrange them visually in order, from excellent to needs improvement.

    and I'm not sure what value it would have.>

    It would allow everyone to work toward achieving a goal with each contest, rather than merely win/lose. Moving up a rank gives everyone a score, regardless of outcome. That would be valuable to me.

    Plus SVS would open itself to even MORE arguments as to why a particular piece was ranked higher than another.

    Is there a problem with debate, or argumentativeness? I've never understood why there are some people who do not welcome it. I'm sure there are many criteria that are looked at in terms of figuring why one illustration is stronger than another. While I don't think an explanation would need to be given necessarily, it wouldn't be that difficult to provide, I'm sure, if desired. "This piece better fit the prompt." or "That piece's composition was superior." Fairly simple. Whether the SVS instructors realize it or not, they are likely following an unwritten "visual grading rubric" in their mind's eye, to assess each piece, over another, regardless.

    I think it might be interesting for you to, just for fun, do a rank order of Decembers contestants. Don't worry if you are not a professional artist--just base everyone off of your personal feelings. I'm not trying to be in anyway sarcastic or jerky but I think you'll find that the top 5 to 10 might be "easy" for you (again, just based off of which ones you like) and maybe there are some clearly inferior pieces at the bottom, but as you get further and further toward the middle how do you rank #16, 17, 18? Why is, qualitatively speaking, #23 not #25?

    The process would be tedious. How much time should the (2-3) judges put into it? There would certainly be disagreements in rankings, they would have to most likely go back and forth on who to put in 14th versus 15th versus 16th and so on and so forth. And it's like: are we REALLY spending this much time on who is middle of the pack?*

    As far a value: If I am #32 out of #45 what does that, as an artist, tell me? What is the value? A couple of things: 1st is that I obviously need improvement and 2nd is that I'm not the worst. But I could get that info with the current system. If I'm not selected as a winner was I selected in the top half? If yes, then I need improvement but I'm close. If no, then I need a lot of improvement. Am I the "worst"? Well THAT I wouldn't know with the current system but do I REALLY want to know that?

    How does the last ranked person feel? "Wow, I'm LITERALLY the worst." But is that person REALLY the worst? Maybe he/she should have been ranked a couple higher than he/she was.

    .
    Here is the problem with debate and arguments: they can quickly engender strife and resentment. Now, debate and arguments will always go with critiques and I, for one, welcome them--to a point.

    Perhaps I am wrong but my strong sense is that a ranking system will take the already sometimes precariousness of crits/debate/and this online community (we are dealing with ARTISTS here after all--artists who have put hours and hours of work into their pieces) and blow it up. I can see it going to a really dark place--OR--people not really caring about anything past rank #10 (or so) which would somewhat negate the whole ranking system anyway and would be a giant waste of time for the judges.

    All that said, I welcome your arguments to my arguments. :)

    *As the judges know, if they DON'T spend the requisite time and have a GOOD REASON that #15 is not #14 they WILL hear about it on the forum. People will not be happy with: "Well it was past lunch time and we had to wrap it up so we just figured whatever..."



  • I really like the idea of doing 5 critiques and one winner. That would definitely be motivation for working harder! I still like top half (yes, i like that one best) but i do like seeing all of the entries.

    I think part of the problem is you guys pick the 5 best to critique. How many times have you guys said "I don't know what to do to improve it" over the last few? Maybe give the top 5 the quick critique, and pick some lower ones to give a more thorough going over? I think we may get more from something that needs a composition reconstruction vs the little details.

    And yes, there are times i want to scream "what did i miss??!?!" ...like all of them.



  • I think we're all spending too much time debating 1 person's suggestion instead of the focusing on what Will was asking. The whole ranking system was totally fine to suggest, but it didn't come from Will, and perhaps it would be beneficial to wait for him to weigh in on it before anyone gets too worked up...



  • I agree totally with @Lee-White and @Will-Terry. It is hard to keep everyone satisfied. The thing I like the most here is that everyone gets the same chances, good critiques and reviews. People are nor rated for the the best ever, but for the best they can give, and by this system, there's encouragement to grow in their work, whatever stage their in. With some adjusted rules, it maybe is more satisfying for everyone that enters the competition. Now then, I wish you all a VERY HAPPY, CREATIVE NEW YEAR! Together, lets make this '2016 thing' rock!



  • I really don't think the system needs a complete overhaul. Maybe the frequency of having an opportunity to be critiqued should be looked at, but that's really it. Maybe it is something as simple as not being able to be critiqued in consecutive months. We all have to remember that this competition is free and the SVS staff has limited time outside their paying gigs.


  • administrators

    Will and I discussed the possibility of this system:

    1. There is only one winner that is declared each month. We will crit that one lightly, but only one will win to keep things simple and easy.

    2. We will show the honorable mentions as well. People whose work was almost there, but for whatever reason didn't get the win.

    3. Each judge will crit two pieces of their choosing. These aren't "winners" nor are they the worst either. They are just images that we think we can improve that would be good value to the community.

    4. ALL work will be shown in the forum and perhaps on the website. You guys all work hard and we want to showcase it in a better way.



  • @Lee-White Perfect answer!!



  • @Lee-White I like it!! I think it is an excellent plan!

    You guys are so great to take time to do this for us, so hopefully everyone will get the most out of it :)


  • administrators

    I really appreciate all the input from you guys - it makes it much easier for us to figure this thing out. In the end we want to - 1) Do the most good for the most amount of people. 2) Make the majority happy. If our new rules for 2016 aren't exactly what you had in mind please know that we're trying to accommodate a wide variety of abilities, ages, genders, and commitment levels - AND - we can still modify 3rd Thursday again if we don't get it right. Lee has taught for many years in a professional setting as have I and Jake and sometimes we choose what we feel is best for the up and coming artist rather than what they think they want...(and even then we second guess ourselves sometimes :)

    I'm really looking forward to 2016 3rd Thursday - it really is the highlight of the month for me!



  • @Will-Terry Me too!!


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