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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The gift of rejection

What artist can hear the word "rejected" without eliciting a little whimper? Two definitions of rejection in the American Heritage dictionary are "To discard as defective or useless; throw away." and "To spit out or vomit." Ouch! No wonder being "rejected" is so painful. I much prefer to receive a letter that says I have been "declined." It's kind of like saying, "Not now, maybe later." I received three "declines" in a row and yet felt strangely okay about it. Sometimes I actually feel more nervous about the successes than the rejections. With success, you suddenly wonder if you are able to live up to a commitment or expectation that come along with it.

I've finally decided that all of it, success AND rejection, is inevitable in art and each is a gift. With each rejection letter, I have an opportunity to look at my work critically and decide if I still think I'm on the right track. I might decide that I AM on the right track and didn't get accepted for some arbitrary reason. (Hey, maybe the juror is going through an audit, totally stressed out, and hates any paintings with numbers in them. Who knows?) At least, rejection makes me pause and THINK. Something I might not do otherwise.
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