Saturday, July 8, 2017

When Your Best Isn't Good Enough...

So yesterday started off with a rejection letter.  Not exactly a stellar way to start the day or kick off the weekend, right?  I just had a feeling when I saw it in my email box.  I knew it was a "no".  Which is interesting because up until that point, I thought I would get a yes.  I'm an eternal optimist.  It gets me in trouble sometimes but for the most part, I think it's a good thing.  However, I'm also very intuitive and I get these feelings and it's uncanny how often I'm right.  Even when I don't want to be.

I painted my heart out on both of my entries.  They may not be the best paintings I've ever painted but at the moment I painted them I thought they were.  I thought through the compositions.  I did a few studies.  I took my time and made deliberate decisions.  I pulled from everything I had.

But it's funny how painting works.  And learning.  I look back over my entries in previous years and think, "omg what was I thinking??" That was not a good choice.  But at the time, it was the best I could do.  I'm sure six months from now I will look back at these paintings and think the same thing.  And that's why I enter these shows.

I started painting because I enjoyed it.  And then it became something else.  So much more than a way to pass the time.  It defines the way I see and think about things now.  It has become so much a part of me and my life now.  It's so hard to explain, I usually don't try.  It is my happy, my way of dealing with worry or sadness, my way of seeing the world and connecting to it.  And I want to be able to see it and express it better.  I want someone else to look at my painting and be able to feel what I was feeling and see what I was seeing.  I'm not there yet, at least not all of the time.  I might not ever be there, but I'm going to keep working at it.  I saw this quote last year and saved it on my phone, because it expresses the way I feel so much better:  

“There is no such thing as motivation in my world. I am not motivated to do what I do. As an artist, I am driven, I am compelled, I am thrust forward by a force so rooted inside me, so convincing, that it seems futile to try to explain it,” -Philippe Petit.

Yesterday, I got my rejection letter but I'm thinking I'm in some really good company.  1,253 rejections from the American Impressionist Society went out yesterday.  I've got a lot of company!  To all of you out there, I feel your pain! But don't let it get you down.  Have a 15 min pity party and get back to work.  And of the 175 artist that were accepted, there are some of my very favorite people on that list not to mention my favorite artists.  They have helped me and taught me and given of themselves.  They are the very salt of the earth, as my dad would say.  

I'm disappointed that my best wasn't good enough.  But I'm so inspired by it too!  A rejection lights a fire in me.  A big one.   I couldn't wait to get to my studio and start painting yesterday.  Start thinking more, studying harder, feeling more and figuring out how to put all of that on my canvas.  When your best isn't good enough... you work harder.  And I'll enter the next show, and the next and the next, to hold myself accountable.  To keep learning and growing.  Believe it or not, I'm thankful for my rejection.  Truly I am.  If we are never tested, we never will know what we are made of.  The show goes on. :)