Sunday, September 28, 2008

Getting Noticed, Getting Rejected

Dancing Green Man
acrylic on paper
8" x 7"

Last week, I received an e-mail from an art instructor wanting to use some of my gelatin prints in his alternative printmaking workshops around the country. Dean Ebben had found my blog and liked the experiments done on different surfaces.

So, I’m preparing an artist biography as well as some .jpgs of my prints. I am really floored that my work will be seen along his and other big names in the printmaking field.

Earlier in the month, an online map company--Schmap--approached me through my Flickr site, short-listing a photo I’d taken in Killarney. Although I wasn’t able to reply in time, I was flattered and flabbergasted how opportunities appear when people locate you online.

In both instances, neither offer had any monetary offerings but would give me full credit and allow my work to be seen by a larger audience. That made me feel that perhaps the Universe was telling me I’m on the correct path and to keep creating. It’s pretty amazing since I’ve only put my art online since May.

Joseph Campbell said “…follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be.” When I first highlighted that sentiment in The Power of Myth with Bill Moyers (p. 120), it applied to my writing. Now, it applies to my visual art.

As a sensitive, shy person I have very mixed feelings about showing and possibly selling my works. There’s one side that dearly wants to be accepted and acknowledged while the other side wishes to remain withdrawn and retiring.

While all this attention was happening, I entered three acrylic paintings in the local watercolor juried exhibit. Only one didn’t make the cut but it's my favorite and, what I think, my best work to date. Rationally, I know it’s a matter of taste from the juror, one person’s opinion, but that hurt!

So, is the Universe giving me a mixed message? Or will this rejection be the stimuli to enter other contests or even prepare works for selling at Etsy?

How do you deal with attention, selling, or getting rejected?

As the week closed, and I received an insightful critique (thanks, Steve!) on why the painting might have been rejected, I feel less bruised now and more philosophic. I realize I’ve come a long way. Having more courage with my art than my writing, I have progressed beyond shyness to show, exhibit, and blog. By risking rejection, I have won by just submitting. Having two out of three paintings in the last two annual juried exhibits is something to be proud of.

So, it’s time to find a different venue for my painting and time to think of the future.

Autumn Leaf

acrylic on paper

9" x 12"


I’ve continued playing in paint with various strings, ribbons, and pieces of jute.

As an experiment, I’ve made ghost prints in my journal. Taking the remaining acrylic paint from my brayer, I roll the excess onto a hardbound sketchbook of 70 lb. smooth paper. The prints have turned out very well but I was afraid the acrylic paint would stick together, especially on a two-page spread. I’m so pleased it hasn’t. In addition, the pages haven’t wrinkled either, in sharp contrast to using water soluble crayons or pencils with water.

Roll, brayer, roll!


  1. Gina, Congratulations on your recent accomplishments. . . things will just keep getting better. I, too, love your experimentation with the gelatin monoprints.

  2. Well done Gina!

    I love your string prints in the last post. As usual your colours are so rich.

  3. It's taken me a couple of years, but the vagaries of the 'judgement' process don't bother me nearly as much now. Maybe it's because I think I 'know better' than others. Having a big ego helps! :) But you will find that you can never, ever predict response. Never. Ever. (Nevereverneverever :) For example, I got the entry form today for a show both I and an artist friend entered a couple of years ago (one year after the other). The jurying of awards both years was a total crock. She got 2nd in 2005 and I got 3rd in 2006 and the paintings that beat us were absurdly amateurish, so just getting the entry form kind of put me on edge, but still I'm tempted to enter again beacuse the prize money is so good.... Don't I ever learn? Meanwhile, I will be jurying an exhibition this Wed and as I've never really done it before I wonder how easy it will be and how bad I will feel when I have to reject a decent work due to space limitations, knowing it's been done to me many times before. The only thing to do is keep doing it and never take it personally. You're on the right path, Gina, and your work is lovely.

    PS I also had a local photo included in a Schmap guide via Flickr recently!

  4. Thank you, Mary! Best of luck with your newest batch of paintings, too!

    I really appreciate your words, Robyn. I do so love color!

    Andrea, many thanks for your wisdom. We have to keep creating for ourselves, don't we, and let the vulgarities of judging roll off us like teflon (weird mixed metaphor, huh?). Best of luck being on the other side as a judge--it will be interesting to read about your impressions. Yay for your Flickr photo in Schmap!

  5. what an inspiring post for someone who is trying to uncover her own creativity! found your blog via contemplating the moon. i like your images...

  6. So glad you dropped by, a square peg; it's great to meet another creative type!

  7. Your painting is brilliant! Thanks for sharing your link in Experimental Acrylics.

  8. Many thanks for your kind words, Mixed Media Martyr. Isn't Experimental Acrylics an interesting and helpful group?