This post is by guest author, Sandy Askey-Adams, PSA. This article has been edited and published with the author's permission. You should submit an article and share your views as a guest author by clicking here. We've promoted this post to feature status because it provides great value to the FineArtViews community. If you want your blog posts listed in the FineArtViews newsletter with the possibility of being republished to our 14,000+ subscribers, consider blogging with FASO Artist Websites. This author's views are entirely her own and may not always reflect the views of BoldBrush, Inc.
Even the sound of the word, or seeing it written, "Rejection" can have an emotional impact on our feelings, our moods. It can make us cry. It can bring us down, almost into an abyss. It is not a kind word. In anything in life, rejection is a hard thing to handle, accept and get through. It can tear us in two. Make us feel unimportant, non-essential. Less than who we are. At times, we need our friends or family to help cheer us back.
Many of us may have began to learn the meaning of this nasty word when we were children. I can remember way back in school as a little child feeling the sting of rejection when I wanted to be a part of a group of children playing a game. "Go away, we don't want to play with you." Ouch. I don't even think I thought of the actual word, "Rejected", but I knew its pain. Thankfully, it did not last long. Soon, the other children and I were all together playing, laughing and having fun.
But, rejection is a word we well know the meaning of and how it can tear at us if we allow it to take hold of us... Like when your boyfriend or girlfriend breaks up with you. That can feel like rejection at its worse. Rejection breaks hearts. There is no doubt about that.
Do we learn from rejection? What is its purpose in this world? Even the best of the best and the kindest of the kindest have suffered through rejection. It is a part of life. Hmm, do you think we could simply just reject "rejection" from our life, from this world?
So why on earth did any of us as artists choose one of the most challenging and hardest professions? Did we not realize the rejections we would be subjected to at one time or another...and few of us are lucky enough to have escaped those rejections in the field of art. Why didn't other artists tell us how many times their hearts were broken through rejection? At least some kind of a warning. At times even in art class, we could feel rejected.
We enter art shows knowing the possibility of that rejection, but then, if we don't enter, we will never know either -- being accepted or being rejected. So, we end up taking a chance on feeling that numbing pain should we happen to be rejected. Can't we just go on about our life painting and not worry about entering art shows and being rejected or accepted? Why do we need to subject ourselves to such misery? Well, because it is supposed to help us learn, to aim that arrow higher, do better work next time. But, we are already always trying to do better work without all that rejection, aren't we?
We eventually learn to pick ourselves up amidst the tears because it is expected and it is the best thing to do. We tell ourself next time it will be better. OR, we tell ourself, I will NEVER enter again. But, somehow we regain our confidence. We are determined creatures.
How many reasons are there for an artist's works to be rejected? Obviously, something must be wrong with it. OR is it the personal taste of the judge or jury? Maybe you did a painting of cows and the judge doesn't like cows. Hmmmm. Could that really be a good reason for rejection? No. But it can happen. Doesn't have to be cows. Could be another subject. Is the work too average looking? Can it be rejected for that? Is there nothing about it that moves the spirit? Where is the flaw in the work? Were there too many similar subjects in the show? Was there room in the show for only a certain number of art works?
The thing is, usually when art work is rejected, we are presented with a rejection slip without an explanation as to why it was rejected. It sure would be helpful to know why.
Then, we have all had it happen in which one painting can be rejected in a show and win an award in the next show. Whew, it seems rejection is not a hard and fast word that means what it means in all juried art shows or the art work would be rejected in every art show you entered the work in. Does that even make sense? Guess different personalities are involved and different tastes or different criteria ideas of what makes a painting, great, very good, good or not so good or poorly executed.
The good thing is when the opposite happens. That beautiful word "Accepted." We know that feeling, too. Now there can be tears of joy. There has to be wins and some success among all the rejections. We may fly even higher into the clouds because our work was accepted or won a major award.
We, as artists do have to risk all the rejections so that we can move ahead. To pay the dues. Having felt the "Agony of Defeat" makes the achievement and success even more desirable and special and we need the rejection to appreciate that when it happens, no matter how painful the sound of the word is.
Eventually we can learn to take the rejection a bit easier when there are wins along with it. If we don't enter art shows out of fear of rejection, then we will never know the "Pleasure of Success." As artists, we do deserve that. Besides, we can always use the rejection slips and letters as wallpaper. Then, we'll have a place to hang all the awards and ribbons.