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Robin Avery


Go back in time. Remember your high expectations before going to a school dance?

Back in the day, the girls lined up on one side of the gymnasium  and the boys on the other. Then the DJ put the 45 record on the spindle and the music began. That's when your heart began to palpitate and your hands began to sweat. Not so much as who would ask you to dance, but rather what happens if no one DOES?

You smell good and your sweater is colorful. Your hair has so much hair spray that the flip will not flop!

The line of girls is getting shorter and you have not been asked to dance. You run into the girls' bathroom and see that your sweater is buttoned all wrong and there is a stain on your collar. My sweater, skirt, blouse were harmonious with one another and a scarf in contrasting color accented my outfit. But my buttons were not aligned correctly and I was out of whack.

The stain also drew negative attention. The boys just scuffled right on by to the other girls. Even with a mouthful of mints, I did not stand a chance.

Being accepted into a competitive art show is similar to this adolescent experience. You think you have chosen the best colors and all the elements and principles of design are in Aquarius. You know the time frame for that awaited phone call or acceptance letter. You await some news.

We put ourselves out there every time we enter a show.  Having been in many Membership Shows and honored to have received some awards, my fall from grace was quick and immediate.

Instead of hearing an accolade about my entry, the voice on the other end of the phone told me my painting was rejected and to pick it up. Now I was back in that 8th grade bathroom mirror! I gathered my pride a bit and was able to obtain feedback from the juror.

After hearing the insightful critique, I totally agreed with the juror. Have you heard the saying, "You must draw, draw, draw, and put the time in with your brush"? I hadn't put the time in recently with my drawing or painting.  My drawing had flaws. The drawing was like my sweater: out of whack. Also there was darkness, like the stain on my collar, that drew the viewer's eye into a corner of my painting.

Sometimes a rejection can be a good thing. It can be a wake up call to put in the necessary time. Don't  rest on your laurels.  But also remember that a truly great painting can also be overlooked in one show and win an award in another. If you have crossed all your T's and dotted all your I's, rejection or acceptance is in the eye of the beholder.

If you gave it your best and said what you wanted to say, that is what matters.

Enjoy the journey