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Rejection Can Be A Creative Catalyst

Updated: Dec 19, 2019


A few years ago, I entered a single painting into a local juried exhibit and was rejected from the show. I had painted this particular painting specifically to match the theme of the exhibit and was quite put off by not getting in. I’d always been accepted to these local shows before. So this was a new rejection I hadn’t experienced. Honestly, I was angry. I really should not have been. Artists enter exhibits and get rejected all the time. And for the most part, it rarely has anything to do with the quality of their work. In fact, I sold that particular painting just a few weeks later at another venue.

So at a later date when a prospectus for that groups new juried exhibit arrived at my studio, I thought there would be no way I would enter it again. Like a silly child, those same emotions of rejection came over me and I tossed the application into the trash.

A few days later while eating Chinese take out and looking at a fortune cookie on my table, I was again grumbling about the rejection. That’s when this idea came to me about a new painting. I immediately threw a sketch together to plan the composition and then took the cookie, put it in a nice bowl and took it outside to capture the lighting and shadows onto the cookie under the warm spring sun. Thus, “Fortune Fail” was painted.

I entered the painting into the exhibit and it was accepted. It was well received with few people knowing that rejection from the previous show was the creative catalyst. I’ve since entered the painting into several other shows and it usually gets accepted. Greeting cards I had made of this painting sell very well at my art events. Although I wonder what people are writing when they send the greeting card to a friend.

Once again this painting has been accepted into an exhibit. I can next be seen at the Los Gatos Art Association Fall Member Juried Show from November 3rd through November 30th, 2013 held at the Addison-Penzak Jewish Community Center, 14855 Oka Road, Los Gatos.

What I learned from this experience is to not be so afraid of rejection. You won’t get accepted if you don’t try. And on occasion, a rejection could lead to something better.


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