COMPETITIONS CAN BE A SEDUCTIVE MISTRESS. Painters are in general an insecure lot that spends an enormous amount of time alone in their studios wallowing in self-doubt.
Artists, in general, feel a tremendous need to be accepted by their peers not the mention the prize money which is often substantial. The underlying problem is that they by their very nature demand a large amount of conformity in order to win.
As for myself entering juried exhibitions would require too much pandering to the Judges and that’s not going to happen. To win most of these major competitions requires either painting like Sargent or Bouguereau which is of no interest to me. This winner of the Grand Prize in the 2019 ARC Salon had an uncanny resemblance to Bouguereau. If also won awards in Portrait Society Competition.
If one is enticed to enter Salons and Competitions to gain exposure for their work do so for the right reasons. Never change your style to be a cover-band for Sargent or Bouguereau, one of each is more than enough.
The vast majority of the greatest artists that ever lived would not be accepted in these competitions, nor would they have entered. They became famous because they drew and painted like themselves. Their works have Authenticity, Integrity, Sincerity, and Individuality. These are things no artist should willingly give up.