Coping With Rejection

You can’t enter art shows without opening the door for rejection. And I’ve had my share.
The way I see it, entering alone is a win. If you make a habit of entering, you’ll set yourself up for success.

2010, both my Rose Show entries for Oregon Society of Artists earned an award, which was a wonderful
surprise! Below is the painting “Tucked In”, 24×24, that took second place in the rose division. My pastel took honorable mention in the Portland category.

But neither of my entries for the 2011 OSA Rose Show were even accepted into the show. I thought they were both strong pieces, and even heard speculation that “Joy in the Park Blocks” below, 11×14, would be a top award contender.

“White Rose” was my other entry.

While no stranger to rejection, I hadn’t even considered not making the cut on this one. I picked up my battered ego and spoke with the juror, to gain a window into his decision making. Bottom line, not everyone thinks like I do! And in the end, what resonated with me was the great pleasure I took from the success of students whose art DID make the show. Their work was definitely deserving.

The sting passed quickly.
As is often the case when something painful happens, it left me with humility and empathy. So much so, that when the same thing happened again in 2012, I hardly blinked an eye!

“Rock & Rose” above, 18×18, entered in the Portland category
“Why?” below, 30×30, entered in the rose category

…and neither of them were chosen for the show. Yes, these are both somewhat experimental— nontraditional in subject, technique and style.

It goes to show, you just can’t take it personally when a piece doesn’t make the cut.
With one sole person doing the choosing, any artist might be rejected, based on the preferences of that juror. Some shows have large numbers of qualified entries and some have to be culled.

Why aren’t there several jurors choosing? Having one juror can actually increase the odds of a great show. With a committee, the best art could be excluded along with the worst, leaving the mediocre.

What to do about rejection? The
solution is simply to keep entering. Take heart. If you don’t enter, you can’t win!

Sooner or later, you’ll score.
After writing this story I
reentered the
“Rock & Rose” painting shown above with the title “Party Girl” and it took 2nd
place in the 2013 Rose Show’s Portland category! See all the award winners here  

And now I’m waiting to hear about NWS signature membership, hoping!

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