Sometime You Win, and Sometimes You Live to Try Another Day

This week I entered two paintings for consideration for the Detroit Society of Women Painters and Sculptors spring exhibition. Unique to this group is that the jurying process is by viewing the actual work. After an hour or two wait, you learn the results: thumbs up or thumbs down. I brought these two lovelies, both of which have received a lot of positive feedback, and waited to see what the juror decided.

Virgo Rising
oil and metal leaf on board
Bone Breakers
oil on canvas, 36″ x 24″










Every time I respond to a call for entry, I think back to the early days when I first started getting into the game. At that time, oh so last century, we would send in 35mm slides, red dot in either the top right or left corner to indicate front, and an arrow showing “this-end-up”. On the slide frame was your name, title, media and size, lots of info on a small cardboard frame. Typically, you filled out a postcard that the exhibition coordinator would check that indicated acceptance or rejection. If you wanted slides returned, you had to include a self-addressed stamped envelope, and if they didn’t return the slides you had to still provide the stamp for the postcard.

There was one exhibit, the particulars I no longer remember, I decided to enter. Still in graduate school, I didn’t have much exhibition experience but I dutifully labeled my slides, filled out the forms and stuck a stamp on the self-addressed postcard and sent everything off and eagerly anticipated the good news.

Time passed and finally the postman delivered the results. All I can say is that I scored 100%–yep, every image I submitted had a check mark in the REJECT box. I was totally horrified that everyone must know of my failure, after all it was on a postcard for all to see. I went into a double helix of self-doubt and worry, questioning if I was ever going to make it as an artist.

It turned out that postcard was not a harbinger of my demise as an artist and in the intervening years I have been selected for many shows, even enjoying an award or two along the way. Every artist can tell a story about a particular piece of work that was REJECTED from one exhibit, only to have the same work ACCEPTED later. The key is not attaching too much importance to either being refused or accepted; one person’s opinion is not who you are, or where you are going or a commentary on your unique vision. The key is just to keep on making the work, and remember that sometimes you win and sometimes you live to try another day!

Now what did the juror decide in the selection process? Here is it:

 NO THANK YOU for “Virgo Rising”

Virgo Rising

  BRING IT ON! for “Bone Breakers”

Bone Breakers














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