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Acceptance vs. Rejection — the Challenge of Sending Your Art to be Judged

“Rainbow’s End” by Pamela Heck

Within the timeline of the Caerus Project, I have been accepted into one juried show and not another. I frequently ponder over the whole jurying process, and especially at times like this. I think juried shows are necessary…mostly… and I thank God there are non-juried shows as well. I find that the later have a vibrancy and an eclectic quality often lacking in juried shows, even if the overall quality might not be as good…members’ shows a case in point. As for juried shows, no matter how qualified the juror, it’s still one person’s opinion. He or she has opinions, prejudices, likes and dislikes, and a vision for each particular show. It’s personal. Art is personal.

I have witnessed other artists’ submissions, ones that totally captivated me, turned away. I actually witnessed one artist become visibly irate because her painting was rejected. It had received a “best in show” elsewhere, It’s very personal. Fact is, I don’t always like all the art that is accepted; don’t always agree with “best in show” selections. If it were up to me, there would never actually be a “best in show” category. It’s so personal.

Once, visiting MOMA, I found myself becoming angry that a particular John Marin painting was in a featured show. That’s how much I disliked that particular painting. On the other hand, it got a reaction. And someone really liked that piece or it wouldn’t have been in such prestigious company. After all, it was a John Marin. Everyone’s a critic, including me.

“Rainbow’s End”, the painting that was not accepted (feels like rejected), is a piece close to my heart as it is the first in a series featuring my son, Ethan, at Burning Man. It is Ethan’s turn to be painted as I recently completed a Mission Series featuring his older brother, Ben. That series, consisting of five paintings and one collage, was a great learning experience and a true labor of love. Three of those paintings were featured in The American Art Collector, three were in juried shows (not necessarily the same three) and two were purchased…one by a fairly well known local collector.

So, although I know it’s not about the glory, I want the Ethan series to be equally successful. If you have children, you know there’s always a certain amount of rivalry, which is why I want to be able to call Ethan and say, “Guess what? Your portrait has been accepted by (fill in the blank).” And, although I’ve gotten pretty tough skinned about paintings not being accepted into shows, I was especially disappointed when “Rainbow’s End” didn’t get accepted into the figurative show in Healdsburg. I didn’t have it finished in time to submit to SCA’s show (where I did have a piece accepted) and I sent it off with, perhaps, inflated hopes.

But there’s always another day and another venue. I would have brought the painting to the Caerus gathering on the 23rd, but I’m going to be in Palm Springs. So I’m posting it here to share with you, my invisible compatriots. I think it has captured the spirit of my most whimsical son. I must tell you, though, that the rainbow in the actual painting appears much more subtle. That section has quite a few layers of glaze. I find the camera has a way of looking through them and picking up the colors underneath. I have had problems with this in the past and would love to know if others of you have experienced this problem as well.

Sending your art out into the world is kind of like sending out your children…they may not be perfect, but you hate to have others point it out. Be that as it may, here is “Rainbow’s End.” For some reason, I feel the need to “put it out there”.

Pamela Heck