Category Guidelines

It is imperative your artwork is positioned in the correct category for judging. To assist you, we have included some guidelines / definitions for each category.

For some of you the information is very basic, however we are also considering emerging artists who may require a little more direction. If after reading these guidelines you are still concerned, then please contact me via email including an image of your work, and the process and materials used. I will usually respond within the week.

Watercolour & Gouache

Watercolour is a painting method in which the paints are made of pigments suspended in a water-based solution. Watercolour refers to both the medium and the resulting artwork.

Gouache is a method of painting using opaque pigments ground in water and thickened with a gluelike substance.

A primary difference between the two paints is that gouache is more opaque than watercolour. … The opacity of gouache comes from the white pigment or chalk that is added along with the coloured pigment and binder in order to make it less transparent.

Mixed Media

Mixed Media is an artwork in which more than one medium or material has been employed. Assemblages and collages are two common examples of art using different media that will make use of different materials including cloth, paper, and/or wood.

For example, if your work is mainly an acrylic painting and then you add some fabric or wood etc, the work becomes mixed media.

Printmaking, Drawing & Pastels

Printmaking is the process of creating artworks by printing, normally on paper. Printmaking covers only the process of creating prints that have an element of originality, rather than just being a photographic reproduction of a painting.

There are four main categories of printmaking: relief, intaglio, lithography, and screen-printing. Each colour in a print usually requires a separate stone, plate, block, or stencil, and any of these basic processes may be combined in the creation of a finished work.

Drawing is the art or technique of producing images on a surface, usually paper, by means of marks, usually of ink, graphite, chalk, charcoal, or crayon.

Pastels is an art medium in the form of a stick, consisting of pure powdered pigment and a binder. The pigments used in pastels are the same as those used to produce all coloured art media, including oil paints; the binder is of a neutral hue and low saturation.

Oil & Acrylic

When it comes to colour, oil paints have more pigment in them, allowing richer, more vivid colours. Acrylics may also darken slightly as they dry, while oil paints do not. The main difference between oils and acrylics is drying time. Acrylic paint will dry within an hour, if not within fifteen minutes.

Oils, ‘historically’ were first developed in the 12th century. The chemical composition features pigments that are suspended in oil (typically linseed). While timeless, they require a little more work to clean and maintain; they are not compatible with water, and so to thin or clean them, you’ll have to use turpentine or white spirit.

Acrylics were first made commercially available in the 1950s and feature pigment suspended in acrylic polymer emulsion. Unlike oils, you don’t need any special chemicals to thin acrylics—just water will do.

Sculpture / 3D art

Three-dimensional art made by one of four basic processes: carving, modelling, casting, constructing (assembling).

Carving is a subtractive sculpting technique in which the sculptor chips away from the chosen material. Assembling is an additive sculpting technique that involves bringing materials together to form an art piece. Cast sculptures involve modeling the sculpture, then making a mold and casting it in a metal or other medium. For moulded sculptures, an artist may use clay, wax, papier-mache and plaster.

Clay works are grouped into three areas: earthenwarestoneware, and porcelain. Each group represents different characteristics, such as workability, firing (or maturity) temperature, and porosity. Handbuilding is an ancient pottery-making technique that involves creating forms without a pottery wheel, using the hands, fingers, and simple tools. The most common handbuilding techniques are pinch pottery, coil building, and slab building.

3D art is perceived to have height, width and depth, and having these three makes it a form; meaning all 3D arts have form.

Though the OSAE provides 7 plinths and tables for display, if you have specific requirements then please provide your own plinth using the following information:

Exhibiting 3D artworks

A plinth can be used to display and protect sculptures or other 3D items. It is a platform or base that raises and supports the artwork. Depending on the format of the artwork the plinth can be vertical or horizontal in aspect.

When deciding on a display plinth please ensure:

Stability: The plinth is stable and wobble free.

Height: The plinth is the proper height to show off your artwork. When standing, the audience should be able to view the focal point of the artwork at eye level. However, your work might be best viewed from above and require a lower plinth.

Width: The plinth is wider than the artwork’s widest point.

Weight: The plinth can comfortably support the weight of the artwork it is displaying, while being light enough to be easily moved.

Style: The style of the plinth complements the artwork it is supporting.

Materials :The plinth is constructed of materials that are not dangerous to the general public.

Plinths must have your name clearly identifiable.

If you are uncertain about the suitability of your plinth please seek advice from the Art Expo committee.


Photography is digital and film.

digital photo is anything that was shot with a digital camera. This image can be post-processed in image editing software. As long as you only use what is currently in the photo, it is still a digital photograph.

For example, if you take a digital photo of a beautiful Ocean Shores beach scene with great surf, a fantastic sunset and a naked person on the beach. Yes, you can remove this person, and yes, you can enhance the image colours using editing software such as Photoshop, but you cannot add a dolphin to the image. You cannot bring an element into the image that wasn’t in the original image. Once you add, your work becomes Digital Art.

Digital Art

Digital art is an artistic work or practice that uses digital technology as part of the creative or presentation process.

An image becomes digital art when you add something to the image that wasn’t there in the original shot. Consider the Ocean Shores example from before. You decide to add a school of dolphins to balance your composition. Your digital photo has become digital art.

Another concern is appropriation – the practice of artists using pre-existing objects or images in their art with little transformation of the original. This is unacceptable unless your work is ‘recontextualizing’ the image. This involves you, the artist commenting on the image’s original meaning and the viewer’s association with either the original image or the real thing. If you are an appropriation artist, like Andy Warhol, then please explain this in your didactic submitted with the work (Artist statement), otherwise direct appropriation in any work will be excluded from judging.

If you have any questions about this, please email Elizabeth Tomlinson.