Sunday, February 08, 2009

Dealing With Rejection

OK so I have to suck it up and say it- "Seawitch" did not get accepted for the Art Hawkes Bay Exhibition. I have had rejections before but this one particularly stuck in my craw as I was certain it was one of my best paintings. I have a saying my mother trotted out on occasions like this ringing in my ears "Pride Comes Before A Fall".

Dealing with rejection is part and parcel of writing and painting. Often it has nothing whatsoever to do with the work but more about the opinion of the person selecting. With writing it may mean that the piece doesn't fit into the overall theme of the magazine or book you're submitting to, maybe the editor has overrun his/her budget that month, perhaps the article needs tweaking. With art perhaps the judge is a fan of photo realism so only wants to show work in that genre. Perhaps they have a limit of how many works they can choose for the exhibiton space.

But then again you don't want to run the risk of becoming like those tone deaf hopefuls who audition for American Idol and don't believe Simon Cowell when he tells them they have no talent and that their singing reminds him of a cat being dropped from a twenty story building. You see them come out defiant and angry, saying the judges don't know what they're talking about, they know they're talented, the world hasn't heard the last of them and they're going to keep on going until they succeed. No one really wants to be one of those people.

However if you enjoy doing something and want to take it to the next level (professionally) then you do need feedback from outsiders. This is when you need to grow a thick skin, put on a stiff upper lip, lift your nose in the air and keep on going when the going goes nowhere. Human beings seem to need something to strive towards. Perhaps that's part of being human because if we didn't have dreams or ambition what is the point of being alive? So now I'll think about the next exhibition I need to prepare for, pick up my paintbrush and begin working again content in my absolute certainty that this particular selector was just plain WRONG.

Of course I had to receive the news of The Rejection in the middle of our first portrait session. I was already feeling down about the fact that what small skill I had managed to acquire last year had packed its bags and gone on holiday to the Bahamas. However we had a good model who sat very still and managed to hide his horror at what drawings resulted from the session.

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