For those of you who are artists, you well know the ups and downs of critiques, acceptances and rejections. Sometimes they can come and go in a matter of hours, but it all boils down to being so easily swayed by someone else's opinion. And for me, no matter how hard I try to trust myself, enjoy my art as a healthy creative process, and acknowledge my own good taste, rejection is always hard.
Yesterday is a perfect example of how the emotional mood swing can make it's turnaround in a split second. I went to my critique group in the morning. That is always an upper, as getting together with other artists just doesn't happen enough for me.
When my turn to share came up, I first showed my whimsical pieces featuring sea lions. The Soloist was my one painting done for this past week.
The Soloist, 15 x 12
The Three Tenors, 15 x 21
Now these pieces are fun, and no doubt easy to relate to, but they do not take on my own voice like the quirkier mixed media pieces I've been working on recently.
The critique group had a few suggestions for strengthening these two pictures, and they had encouraging comments. However, I was holding my most personal card (or painting in this case for last.) I explained that it was too late to make changes to this piece since it was already matted and framed, but I certainly was anxious to hear their comments and reactions to . . .
Ancient Voices, 14 x 22
Often the group has seen a painting more than once in the process of working toward the best it can be, but in this case it was fresh to them. And I couldn't have been more supported by the group's reaction to this work. My friend Sam gave me the best compliment one artist can get from another, "I hate you! Get it out of here!" which is right up there with, "I wish I'd painted that."
There is nothing to boost the ego of this artist like the acknowledgement from my artist friends that my work is exciting and that I am going in a unique creative direction. There was talk of entering this in competitions and holding on to it rather than selling it. ( I guess we like to hoard our best pieces!)
After the group meeting and for the rest of the day I was on a high remembering the kind words, encouragement and nurturing I'd received that morning. For me, I just have phrases floating around in my brain like, "my art is worthwhile," "I'm going in a good direction," "maybe a gallery will accept my art and represent me."
Those phrases were able to rise to the top for a few hours until I drove home and opened my email to find that both of my entries into the Living River Show were rejected! Bummer! And the phrases that quickly rose to the top of my mind? "I'm not THAT good ," "my art doesn't connect with others," "who am I kidding." So with several other entries out there, I am vulnerable to more highs and lows, or just lows, in the near future.
This coming week I'll be at an art workshop in Portland, so expect a review of that next weekend.
As I write this, my thoughts are with my friends in Hawaii, who are now waiting for a tsunami to hit. I'm hoping for everyone's safety and as little damage a possible. Aloha!