By Austrian artist Tanja Setzinger

By Austrian artist Tanja Setzinger

I applied for a major exhibition recently.

It was scary to submit my work because I struggle with confidence. But I struggle more with the idea of not trying, so I applied.

Today I got rejected. No reason was given so I don’t know what I need to do differently –  or if I should change at all. I just know I was rejected.

For the first hour, I pretended I didn’t care.

For the next few hours I cried a little bit.

Then I gave up. This is hopeless, I told myself. You’re just not good enough. Stop trying.

And that’s when I got over it.

Because I am good enough. I know it. Maybe not for this show, this time. Maybe not even yet. Maybe I have more work to do. 

But I painted this.

“Lonely Cow”

And I like it very much.  

I like that it communicates how I felt that day. I like the use of media. I like the colours. And most of all, I like what it says about animals. I’d buy that painting if it wasn’t mine already.

I totally get that the judges didn’t like it. And that those people are clever and well-educated and far more knowledgeable about contemporary art than I am.

And once upon a time, I would have let that crush me. I would have wallowed in grief and stopped painting and thrown myself a pity party that went on for months. 

Today my pity party lasted a few hours. 

Tomorrow, I get my paints out again and I keep going. Maybe someone will like what I do, maybe they won’t. I’ll enjoy it much more when they do, but what I realize is this: Even when they don’t, I can’t stop. This is what I do and what I’ll keep doing.  

It sounds weird to say after such a tough rejection, but this has been a good day 🙂

 

 

 

12 Comments

  1. Caroline M. Neal
    December 18, 2014

    Oh my goodness. You expressed what I have been through in my music and art and relationships. Thank you!

    Reply
  2. Judy L. Brekke
    December 18, 2014

    I understand what you are going through. I have experienced an ongoing roller coaster ride when submitting my written works (poetry etc.)The rejections were a challenge but after fury and sadness I got back up and created to my heart’s content! I do appreciate when the rejection includes what did not and did work, but unfortunately not all groups take the time to do this. Stephen and I published a small literary and art mag for over 20 years. We felt it was only fair to review our reasons for accepting or not. Louise, your art is beautiful, full of compassion, and character.

    Reply
  3. Kit Dunsmore
    December 18, 2014

    Good for you! My sister has been an artist her whole life, and whenever I complain about a rejection or not winning an award or whatever, she always says the same thing: "Same judge, same dog, different day." She’s referring to the lesson we learned from dog showing, that a big partt of judging is subjective and even arbitrary. It’s a great reminder that rejection is temporary, fleeting, and fickle, just like acceptance and approval.

    By the way, I love your painting!

    Reply
  4. Donna Hanson
    December 19, 2014

    Maybe they just don’t like cows? Your work is wonderful!

    Reply
  5. Terri Heal
    December 19, 2014

    Good bounce back! I think your copies are great too 🙂 If it makes you and your lived ones happy then that counts for more than anything.

    Reply
  6. Miriam M. Hughes
    December 19, 2014

    I got rejected from a show once. I quit painting for years. I wallowed and did all that you mentioned. And then I got over it and decided doing art was more important than not doing art. And I faced more rejections but they no longer mattered because I was learning and growing as an artist and I’ll never stop. And you cows – both of them, are awesome.

    Reply
  7. Pam
    December 19, 2014

    First I laughed to see your ‘here is a drawing of a cow’ sketch. Then I felt the tears well up reading your blog. I LOVE your cow art. I am so proud of your fast recovery and look forward to all your future work!

    Reply
  8. Mary J Giese
    December 19, 2014

    I love your beautiful cows, Louise. Don’t stop painting them ever.

    Reply
  9. nadia mamelouk
    December 19, 2014

    It’s NOT that the jurors didn’t like your work–they probably enjoyed it very much. However, they have to select from a lot of lovely work and their choices may depend on such things as theme and how it all fits together. When rejection comes (and inevitably it does occasionally), I go back and look at my work and talk to the pieces…and they talk back so I don’t lose faith.
    While I’m at it, I’ll put in my two-cents worth about group shows: they may be useful, but viewers tend to compare–it’s human nature. Personally, I don’t really want to be compared to anybody. Aim for a solo show. Your work should only be compared to your work…it’s good enough.

    Reply
  10. Helen LP
    December 19, 2014

    I’ve said it elsewhere but I’m going to say it here too – I love your cows. I’d rather have them on my wall than a Rembrandt any day!

    Reply
  11. PamCuthbert
    December 19, 2014

    Ah – what do they know/? We all love your art – and that’s what matters xxx
    Don’t give up!
    All the best artists get rejected along the way.

    Reply
  12. Owen
    December 19, 2014

    Louise,
    all our shared Sketchbook Skool FB group chatter was a healing balm 🙂

    This Moo is as lovely as each of them. They will find their audience yet. Moo-over monkey!

    Reply

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