My work was rejected again today by a major International competition; Hooray!
Why do I say Hooray? Well, first of all, I still love the paintings. I still feel confident about the work, regardless of the fact that one person did not think it stacked up to the competition in this particular show. I’m still pleasing the most important person: myself.
Secondly, I’m happy that I took the risk of being rejected and put my work out there for competition. I think you must have a certain number of failures in order to find success. So really, this particular failure is just putting me one step closer to success. I can now analyze the works that were chosen for the show, think about why my paintings weren’t chosen and learn.
“One doesn’t discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.” – Andre Gide
Thirdly, I am able to see the big picture. I have had quite a few sales and acceptances this year, and this rejection puts me at about a 50% success rate. I think that is pretty good. Of course I’d rather be announcing that my work got in, but you can’t expect to get into every show. I’m only sharing this ‘rejection’ to keep it real.
Artists do face a certain amount of rejection and discouragement if they are actively showing. In this day and age of ‘sharing’ on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. there can be a real danger of projecting the image of perfection. If I only share the good news, perhaps you would think that I only receive good news! Not true…
Finally, I’m more motivated than ever to get into the studio and make the next, better painting.
If you’ve faced a rejection lately, what has helped you overcome it?
50% is fabulous! I would imagine my acceptances to rejections is more in the 30% range. I just entered an international show and I’ll just wait and see. Rejection? Probably. But so what-I am still painting and discovering new “stuff”. That’s what keeps me excited!
Thanks Harold… you’re exactly right 🙂
Hi Ruth! I received a rejection today too. How am I getting past it? I’m going back to the drawing board and painting table! 🙂 Its the work.
Like you, I like my painting and am happy with what I did. The only question, how to get better!
Thanks Peggy! May we have better luck next time 🙂
Brilliantly put, Ruth! I’ve had that same (internal) response several times this year, and those rejections just forced me to look a little closer at the painting and make sure I hadn’t finished it too hastily (which was the case in one instance). And many’s the time when I’ve said “I love that painting anyway” and left it alone. But you are right—just submitting to a show (especially a national one that produces a color catalog) allows you to see the stunning paintings that WERE accepted. And as you look at the other paintings (albeit in a catalog) you learn, or at least you gleen info about what caught the juror’s eye. I, too, am proud of my rejections; they make the acceptances all the more gratifying.
Ruth.. Well said. I had a watercolor rejected in WSO years back.. Sent same one to Oklahoma WC show and won top prize… Different strokes for different folks! ????
Terrific post. I agree that not being accepted does not mean a painting isn’t worthy, but that it was not the right painting for this juror in this show. Maybe next time. . .or the time after that. Keep smiling and keep painting.
Thanks for keeping it real Ruth, it’s so important! I’m with you and Hal, art is so subjective that if it doesn’t resonate with a particular juror, it may not be accepted. It may not have anything to do with whether it’s good or not. If you feel good about it, that’s the most important thing.
I am so glad you posted this, because not everything does get accepted and think I appreciate the rejections as much as the acceptances as I always learn something from it.
Ruth, thank you for sharing! It is inspiring to know how beautifully compoded paintings could be rejected, yet you were taking a stand with your work! Painting for myself is great joy for me. I’m sure you are busy with schedules and sharing your thoughts are grateful to me, Thank you! Blessings! Hyon
At first you are thinking… “What’s wrong with me”… Not, “How can I take my rejection notice to make improvements.” I always think that I’m submitting my best paintings. However… maybe my best painting is still on the designing table. We learn from rejection. Keep on.. think the next painting is that award winner… and it will be.
Great post, Ruth. I needed to hear it.
Hurray! Rejection is part of the process of putting ourselves out there! I wrote a blog post about my rejection titled: “I reject your rejection”. Rejection stings but then I think what if I never put my work out in the world and that is not an option. Keep the rejections but celebrate the acceptions!
I love this! I stopped painting for 2 years because I wasn’t sure who to please, now I know it has to be me. Every painting I do, I ask myself what needs to be done in order to make this something I’d want to put on my wall and see everyday, the first thing when I get up in the morning.
Thank you for the reminder! I began painting full time 2 years ago and had very high expectations. I listened to an instructor who tried to influence me to paint in her style. The first time I entered a major show I was rejected. It was hard to take, but it’s what caused me to really evaluate what I want from my career. I now paint to please myself and have had many more successes than failures.
LOVE your attitude, Ruth, and it’s one I’m cultivating as well now that I’m going “public” with my art. I can’t create what pleases everyone, nor would I want to do that. Bring on the rejections! 🙂
A great reminder to keep putting ourselves out there…I have really hesitated to do so, but reading this makes me feel more confident- even about rejection. I really appreciate you pointing out that we edit our image online to only show the good news, that can be intimidating to try to match.
Thanks Rachel! We’ve all been there 🙂