Saturday, March 26, 2016

Acceptance and Rejection

This week I learned that I was accepted into the Baer Art Center residency in northern Iceland for the month of July 2016. It's difficult to get into this residency and so I was thrilled to find out that I was one of ten artists accepted: five for June and five for July.

It makes me think of all the times I have experienced rejections in my art career. Early on, I found rejections from juried shows devastating and I used to withdraw from artmaking for a bit to have a little sulk. A week or so later, I'd recover and realize I was going to paint anyway.

For years, I painted representationally and had sell-out exhibitions every year. Smugly, I figured that I'd always have sell-out shows! But then I experienced growing pains.  My work gradually changed and I experimented in many directions in painting, eventually settling into abstraction. Along the way, I had my first exhibition that sold absolutely nothing. Nothing. Not only nothing at the opening, but nothing for the whole run of the show. I was devastated. In reaction, I decided I'd quit painting for the year, in an "I'll show you sort of who-cares attitude". A bit misplaced I'd say. When I told my galleries, they all, to a one, said, "Oh I think that's a great thing for you to do!" What? No one was sorry to see me go. They just moved on. That was a bit of a reality check I'd say.

With this same who-cares attitude I decided to spend part of the year traveling. I went deep into my line of credit and funded two major trips: one to China with Chinese botanists to see the tree peonies in  the hills of Tibet, and another to southern India to visit the temples sacred to Shiva. Both were transformational trips that helped me grow as an artist and a person.

My work continued to change until it settled into the work I'm currently doing which is a search for light.

3 comments:

  1. Beautiful and inspiring blog, as ever. I always get a little lift of joy when I see your name in my inbox. Congratulations.

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  2. Thank you for writing this. Rejection is painful and inevitable if you are very active in this field; it does help to know that we can overcome it.

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  3. Congratulations Janice! Sounds like a wonderful adventure!

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