I have been debating for two weeks whether to write this article. After all, what artist wants to publicize the fact that their work was rejected for an art show? Since I am an artist who puts my work out in the public, I have to learn how to deal with disappointment. So, I decided to share my thoughts with the hope they may help someone else experiencing the same thing.
In the past, I have had the honor and joy of my work winning awards and being accepted into juried exhibits. But, I also know the struggle of being rejected from exhibits that you worked your tail off to get into. You try to prepare yourself for the possibility of a rejection, but somehow it still stings and is NO FUN!
I seem to have two reactions after receiving one of the infamous rejection letters. My first reaction is to be tempted to doubt that I have the needed artistic talent and therefore go into a mild depression and not pick up a brush for a week or two. The second reaction is that I am tempted to just quit entering shows and go into hiding in my studio and paint for myself. However, this year I did a little better than that. I went back into my studio the very next day to paint. What made the difference?
I needed to speak truth to myself. The world tells us that we (and our work) are only worth what others say they are worth. However, as a Christian I know I am accepted and loved already. I don’t need to paint because I am trying to earn acceptance. What I need to do is paint from that place of acceptance that is already mine.
Any talent that I have at all is a gift from God. There is a quote by Leo Buscaglia that says: “Your talent is God’s gift to you. What you do with it is your gift back to God.”
As an artist, my ultimate goal should be to endeavor to paint what will bring attention to the beauty of what God has made. I Cor. 10:31 says: “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” I need to do my best but also learn to find joy in the process.
There are two things I want to note about the two paintings that were rejected this year (both pictured in this post).
First, I really enjoyed painting them and I love the way they turned out. That counts for a lot in my book. Second, I prayed for God’s Spirit to help me as I painted so they would bring glory to Him. I have had people say they sensed the Spirit of God in “Bluebirds in the Dogwood” even though there was no religious reference in this painting. Now isn’t there is a lesson in that for me about my ultimate goal?
I need to “pull myself up by my bootstraps” and do my best to create art for God’s glory and leave the results to Him.
As always, all images are copyrighted. Thanks!