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I sent off 32 pieces of art to Spectrum the other day. Spectrum is an annual compendium of the best sci-fi/fantasy art created each year.

Its standards are high; it’s very tough to get in each year. I usually submit 24 pieces and get just three to five in each year.

I’ve happily won a number of Spectrum awards which is one of the coolest award designs ever, a sort of Lovecraftian pyramid.

I was a judge one year and was highly impressed by how fair and non-political the judging is. Cathy and Arnie Fenner do a great job of keeping the judging fast, fun, fair and efficient. And they host great meals in the evenings!

Our rains here in southern California seem to be over for awhile. My front porch faces the San Gabriel Mountains (I live near the foothills). They’re beautifully dusted with snow right now. The air is crisp and clear; cold, but not wet anymore. I’ll be painting on my front porch every day until the end of the month (big painting deadline). If you drive by and see me, wave!

10 thoughts on “Spectrum

  1. Good luck Bill and hopefully you’ll take home another Spectrum award.

    P.S. looks like this years “Wonderfest” is turning into a “R.O.T.L.D.” reunion. Can’t wait!

  2. Good luck with Spectrum!

    Deeply envious of you being able to paint on your porch! I think my next painting venue will be my garage, at night, under florescent lights! Ugh!

  3. Honestly…I’m sure each of your pieces would get in…but then where would that leave everyone else? So, I figure they say, “Hm, here are our favorite Stout pieces. Let’s go with these.”
    It’s cool you submit so many though, as it gives them the opportunity to go with their call on the best of the bunch.

  4. Hi Jeremy: ROTLD reunions are fun. The cast and I are still friends. They’re all super people, especially James Karen and Don Calfa.

    I don’t know about that Spectrum award…tough competition, always.

    Hi Matt: Painting on my porch is really important, health-wise. It means I’m not breathing those turp and oil paint fumes in an enclosed space. And it’s always better to paint by natural light. Plus, I like getting feedback from the neighbors who stroll by. The public is my target audience, after all. I was out painting on my porch today, even though it started raining.

    Hi Norm: It’s definitely their call, as you put it. My favorite pieces are the ones that usually get rejected! Once, a piece I added only as an afterthought to make my total number of entries an even two dozen won a Gold Award! Go figure. That’s why I take the quantity/shotgun approach each year. I can never guess which pieces are going to tickle the judges’ fancies, so I submit everything.

    When I was a judge there was never any kind of discussion like, “Hey! This guy’s submitted fifty pieces. Let’s just whittle these down to a few representative examples.” Each piece was judged on its own merits, no matter how many works the artist submitted.

  5. Thanks for the insight as to how the judging goes. it’s good to hear how fair and impartial the judging is.

  6. Bill, do you ever use those water mixable oil paints? I don’t know if this kind of paint works the same as the traditional kind, but if they did that could cut down on the noxious paint fumes. If I remember right, Frant Frazetta made himself seriously ill by using some really smelly paint thinner that he had gotten at a low price, so it’s worth it to work with materials that are more user friendly.

  7. Hi Filmfan: I’ve never used them. My friend Dan Goozée has, with mixed results. I occasionally paint with acrylics but I hate that they dry to a darker value. But they’re fast. Not permanent, though, as it was recently discovered.

    My preferred painting medium is alkyd oil paints, the fast drying oils. All of the advantages of both acrylics and traditional oil paints but none of the disadvantages of either, except that they’re getting harder to find. I swear by them.

  8. Hi Bill,

    completely off topic but are you aware of the discovery of the colour of certain dinosaurs?



  9. Yes; I read about it online on National Geographic’s site yesterday. That’s a pretty amazing breakthrough.

  10. Wow! Now National Geo has a rotating 3-D model of the first dinosaur in which we’ve discovered the entire coloring:

    Absolutely amazing! I never thought I’d see this in my lifetime.

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