"Archival Works Friday" No. 8!
The next post for "Archival Works Friday" hearkens back 12 and then 7 years ago.
As I mentioned before - I'll post a painting, drawing or serigraph (silkscreen print) from the archive files of years past...and give a little back story on the work. I hope you'll find it interesting!
This post involves acceptance and rejection. Acceptance - something every artist craves...heck, something every human being craves! And rejection - something we are all familiar with at some time in our lives, unless amnesia's involved.
As far as art is concerned, I first became acquainted with these "rival aspects" back in art school. I remember so well, the class critiques...your work was put up for display in front of the class and sometimes other students were respectful and kind (or sympathetic) and then there were times you'd wished you overslept and missed class!!!! The most dreaded critiques were from visiting professors; you could seriously doubt your choice of career after one of those. But being critiqued wasn't just a learning experience, it was also character building - you sure learned what other artists thought about your work! Ha! It got pretty hairy at times - a lot of fragile egos out in the art world!
It takes many years for some of us to find ourselves...to really start to believe in oneself and create your own "look" or niche. But you also realize that your work is not for everyone. That can be a form of rejection to some, but hey you can't please them all and that's just the way it should be. Wouldn't it be boring if everyone liked the same thing! I could rattle off some very "commercially" successful artist's names that I wouldn't want on my walls - its all personal taste right?! But to have someone like your work enough to "invest" in it is something that makes all those years of plying yourself worthwhile.
Acceptance and rejection are always a fact of life for artists - even for old ones! I'll share a story of acceptance - then rejection - Then overwhelming acceptance. It was neat...then disappointing...then very gratifying.
The example in question began with a small 6X8 plein air painting of the valley out in front of the house and studio one July 12 years ago The sky was just amazing to watch, as it so often is out here. I titled the small painting "July in the Valley" and was very pleased with it. Plein air painting (sometimes termed "pochades") are paintings done outside at the actual location, and are often done just as "studies"...sometimes to "test the water" for a larger painting maybe to be done later on.
This small painting was spotted on the studio gallery wall and purchased by another artist from eastern Iowa, a retired architect. I was very pleased this person was so taken by this small painting! Acceptance is good!
A couple years after this sale was made I had another visitor to the studio. This was a local/area person that had been to the studio before and a former customer. (I'll keep this customer "vague" so as not to shine a light on anyone.) The visitor remembered the small plein air painting that had been sold to the artist I mentioned, and the visitor knew I was thinking of doing a larger painting in the studio of this same scene. I told the visitor that I would alert them when the painting was finished and that they had first dibs if they wanted it. Well some time passed and I finally got to the painting, eventually finished it, and notified the potential client. The potential client came out to the studio and I showed them the painting, the painting was accepted and was purchased. Now it would be normal and nice if things ended here. But several weeks later the client called and asked if they could return the painting...they sounded uneasy but I graciously accepted the return and refunded the purchase price. I felt bad but could tell the client was embarrassed...I won't go into their reason but it was a bit "out there". But that's life right?! Rejection is not fun.
Rejection can often cause a person to question things...is the painting a good work? Am I missing something? But I've learned over the years to not get too rattled when things don't come out quite like I expected.
The studio painting took it's place on the studio wall, right along with other paintings - for the next couple years.
Down the road I submitted this painting, along with two others, to EMC Insurance Corporate office in Des Moines for consideration for their Corporate Art Collection of Iowa Artists. EMC has a neat way of adding artist's works to their collection - they let their employees vote on their choice! After the works submitted for their collection had gone through several EMC employee committees to narrow down the choices - I was notified that "All 3" of my paintings had been over whelming accepted!! Again - acceptance is good!!!
It felt like a win for me, especially since multiple people and committees had "wanted" this painting...sure, one person thought it wasn't right for them personally after a while, but now it was a favorite of many, over and above a lot of other artists that had submitted work! And, oh ya - they also wanted my other two paintings as well...that was REAL acceptance!
So now my studio painting "July in the Valley", and the two others, are part of the EMC Insurance Corporation's EMC Art Collection (as well as one other from 3 years earlier), and I still plug along and strive to do my best. But I know that whatever I do...painting, drawing serigraph or even my photography - aren't everyone's cup of tea, nor do I expect them to be. And I also know that having work purchased by clients is a very good feeling, one that will never grow old.
Thank You, all of my past and present friends and clients, for giving something from my life a good home!