View Full Version : My painting was not accepted in a juried show and I am bummed

07-28-2010, 12:05 PM
I have been accepted in other shows .I really wanted this one . ifeel like a failure !

Paula Ford
07-28-2010, 12:07 PM
Been there, felt that! Most artists enter tons and tons of shows without getting in. We've all done it. It all depends on the judge. Don't feel bad! Let this be a motivator to work harder!

Honestly, take a guess on how many shows I've entered and NOT gotten into.

07-28-2010, 12:45 PM
Thanks Paula. Back to the drawing board .I think I will stop painting for a week ,not in the mood! I will work harder when I get back!

07-28-2010, 12:55 PM
i threaded a piece recently in Studio (grouched out), and folks were so supportive without criticism
most diplomatic !
because of that, i felt much more comfortable about re-examining the piece myself and considering what/where can be improved

i also cleaned the kitchen spotless, i was so PO'd :lol:

Paula speaks true about judges and such

hang in there !

:} Ed

07-28-2010, 01:16 PM
It happens to every artist! Use this as a motivator to get back in the studio and see what more you can do, how far can you push it. If you get the opportunity to see the exhibit, check it out carefully and try to figure out what the judge may have been looking for. It is not always about the judge or judges, there are so many factors that get involved in the process. The quality of the majority of the work, for one. If the quality is extremely high, even amazing paintings get left behind. Maybe the show is looking for a well rounded exhibit, needing a good supply of each medium, or subject matter, or style..... so many things.

I have recently been placed in the position of jurist several times this last year, either alone or with a group of judges, and know that this process is taken very seriously. I have also had my share of rejections, and been totally bummed. And, like you have been completely elated when a painting gets into a show. This is part of the process of getting our work out there, and I encourage you to get back to the easel and keep the paintings coming!

Paula Ford
07-28-2010, 03:27 PM
i threaded a piece recently in Studio (grouched out), and folks were so supportive without criticism
most diplomatic !
because of that, i felt much more comfortable about re-examining the piece myself and considering what/where can be improved

i also cleaned the kitchen spotless, i was so PO'd :lol:

Paula speaks true about judges and such

hang in there !

:} Ed

:lol: :lol: I clean when it happens too :lol: :lol: My husband always knows when I'm stressed because I start cleaning.

07-28-2010, 03:41 PM
I remember a thread a while back, where one of our members had a painting that was rejected in one show - and then the same painting won an award in another. So keep in mind that it is only the opinion of the judge, and people have widely different opinions on what they like or what is successful. Plus sometimes there are just too many good pieces for them all to fit into the show.

So hang in there!


Deborah Secor
07-28-2010, 06:14 PM
And do yourself a favor: DO NOT think that because one show decided not to accept this painting that you have to fix it. As Don pointed out, the same painting, untouched, could be the big prize winner in the next show you enter. It is so easy to think that this one rejection means there's something wrong with it. Not so. You have no way of knowing if there were three paintings, two slots left, and yours was the one that just happened to lose the toss (I've seen this in my personal experience), so take heart!

I don't clean (though it might be helpful--just not my personal m.o.), I force myself to paint instead. It helps me to get past that nagging sensation that I'm not "good enough".


07-29-2010, 10:48 AM
Paula,Ed,Kim,Don and Deborah , Thanks so much for your advice.I am already feeling better. I really thought my piece was good. Now I know (from your advice ) it may have been good and I am moving on! Maybe I will start cleaning!Nah
Back to the easel ! It's amazing how one rejection like that can effect your confidence! I must have been lucky in the past few juried shows. Valadation is important! Onward and upward! Thanks so very much.Sandi
Just as an aside this show was an all media show ,subject to be about this famous resort town,I paint in!

water girl
07-30-2010, 06:03 PM
Here is the link to the thread I posted about a piece not being accepted into a show. http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=609730&page=2 If you read through it the message is it's just one judge. This particular painting was rejected in one show, then won 1st place in the next show. There are so many reasons why it may not have been accepted. Never give up.

07-30-2010, 07:17 PM
Sorry to hear that. There's something that I found out about in relation to submitting novels that's relevant here - Deborah is right. The painting may not need fixing at all.

The jurists have 100 or 120 slots to fill. They knock out all the flawed paintings and the ones that were just uninspiring. They knock out anything they just don't like (personal). Now some good paintings get knocked out on that unpredictable personal taste thing - one jurist hates poodles, another one hates the color teal. You can't predict that but you could've been the one who posed an apricot poodle on a teal rug for a really interesting complementary color scheme. But let's say you did it so well that the poodle-hater and the teal despiser had to say, well, it's really a stunner. That complementary balance was too good even if it's a poodle on a teal rug.

They're left with 210 paintings good enough for the show. So now they have to narrow it down. Yours was a bit like another artist who did a complementary balance with a ginger cat on a blue pillow. So they're narrowing it down and looking minutely at both, yours is looser and the cat's more detailed, they think they've got too many loose pieces in the show -- the cat gets in and yours doesn't.

Or they both get knocked out for a roan horse against a green forest.

When they have dropped everything that can be dropped on technical reasons, they're often forced to make hard choices between good paintings. It's the same way sending stories to magazines. I can never know if the robot story I sent in hits the editor's desk right after she's bought a robot story from a famous author.

All I can do is write and paint the best I can and improve with every project. Which is better than going back and overworking contest entries. Maybe in a year you'd see so much growth that you'd find something to change that would improve it, but that soon after painting it you'd be more likely to overwork it. Doing the same subject again might be more fruitful.

I hope that helps. I think this happens all the time, you just have to keep sending it out till it finds a place to stick. That got two of my stories pro published, so it works for me!

07-31-2010, 05:48 PM
I danced ballet semi-professionally for a while and one of the first things I learned about performing, is that everyone will take a fall from time to time. But the true professionals get right back up and keep going, and didn't let it faze them. I think that's true for any profession.

Also, that in ballet anyway, falling wasn't indicative of a lack of skill or even a mistake. Just luck of the draw sometimes. Same as entering/winning contests.

I personally admire your guts in even entering a competition! Keep dancing!

Kathryn Wilson
08-01-2010, 10:32 AM
I think all-media competitions may be the hardest to get into - they have so many choices, and sometimes they like to give every medium a shot and there may have been an overabundance of pastels.

I'm about to enter a bunch of shows - I imagine I'll be in the "bummed" line with you - but we do have to make an effort to show our work.

So keep entering!

Paula Ford
08-03-2010, 07:25 PM
Hey, speaking of...... just got my rejection letter from the PSA show I entered three pieces in...

08-06-2010, 11:15 PM
I too agree those shows are so subjective. The first time I heard about them, someone from my class introduced the proverbial lemons we paint the first day to learn painting, and she won! :confused:

08-11-2010, 04:18 PM
It's alright. It's typical that a gallery may not accept your work, even if others did. Doesn't mean you're a crappy artist, failure, or anything. It just wasn't what they wanted. Besides, don't worry. Others accepted you. You got your fans and all.

08-11-2010, 05:36 PM
So very glad to see you say that a piece was "not accepted" rather than use the very popular and very negative term, "rejected" Pieces are "declined" for various reasons, never rejected and Robert has given you are very accurate tale of the jury process and it's flaws and foibles that lead to our award winning pieces being somehow declined.

This may seem like a simple play on words but our inner selves really do deal much better when someone simply declines our presence rather than rejects it. And it is also much easier to say out loud..."I was declined this time"...not so hard and something we (for some strange reason) will choose to expose ourselves to continually during our art careers so we might as well pick the easiest terminology. I have found that I can say it quite gracefully now with so much practice. :D

So get 5 honest opinions on the piece that was not accepted and if they are good, send it off to something new. :thumbsup:

Cheers, Dianna :cat:

08-12-2010, 01:15 PM
I'm sorry, Sansea. That is really disappointing, I know.

The truth is, it is more likely than not that it is not an issue with you/your painting. The judges have their own biases. Also, sometimes the judges are advised to pick a broad spectrum of subject matter or whatever, which impacts the likelihood of getting picked. And also, too, lets say there are 200+ excellent paintings and 10 slots. How to choose?

It was interesting to me when my husband was selected as a judge for a literary contest. So hopeless--all the judges had their favorites, some judges had more pull than others, and then you had such very good work, but only a few prizes. How do you choose? Who gets in, who doesn't? It's almost random at times. At another time, you would have been in and someone else would have been out--even with the same judges! If your painting had been seen first, or last, or after this one or before that one. And so: please don't use this as a indicator of your painting's worth. It is not. And to paraphrase Scarlett O'Hara: there's always another day! And another painting, too!

08-12-2010, 04:58 PM
Sansea, I just received my "not accepted" call a few minutes ago. It's disappointing but I look at it this way. I'm already a painting ahead for next year when I re-submit it. Different judge maybe a different outcome.

08-12-2010, 11:56 PM
MJ and Paula: that is a bummer. And it just goes to show there is no accounting for taste!

"Their loss" is what my mother would say. But also the loss of others who would have had the pleasure of enjoying your painting--

Paula Ford
08-13-2010, 03:44 AM
Oh well... I heard there were over 1,000 entries and only less than 200 were accepted. There were lots of "big guns" that didn't get in either, so I don't feel so bad.

Ends of the World
08-18-2010, 04:55 PM
Reminds me of a funny lesson I learned early on: when I was six years old, I entered a very nice crayon drawing into a local store's children's drawing contest. Nice shades, stayed inside the lines, well, very good for a six year old anyway. ;) I was confident my drawing was going to do well.

Anyhow, I was pretty bummed when I didn't win or even get in the honorable mentions. They had all the children's artwork hanging on the walls, so I took a look around expecting to see some great winners. I was stunned to see what took first place. It was some drawing that looked like a toddler scribbled over it with no regard to any color or design...it looked like they were just messing with crayons and might as well have been coloring over a newspaper. So it occurred to me that the "judging" was merely choosing a few random winners at will, not any sort of criteria to begin with. For all I knew, they could have simply wanted a bunch of children's artwork on the wall to make their business look good, winners be damned.

And it was that day at the age of six that I learned that "judging" means nothing and is worthless. As many have pointed out, three different judges would likely pick three different pieces of work.

08-18-2010, 05:44 PM
I hope you are feeling better now Sansea! I know the feeling. I almost always get pieces "not accepted". In fact I have only twice been accepted into a juried show.

Both those times were for the annual show of the Pastel Society of New Jersey. They have a guideline that if you are accepted three times into their juried show you can call yourself a "signature member" of the PSNJ. I'd love to have that as a little bit of status (hardly the same as PSA of course, :lol: ) so need to be accepted one more time.

Last year I put in a piece I was really proud of. Even the woman who did the receiving for the show said "Wow, Debbie, I really love that piece!" I was sure it was going to be my third acceptance. But NO, it was NOT. It was not accepted by the judge. I was so crushed as I was sure it would be my "in" to PSNJ status.

I didn't know what the judge felt was wrong with it, so the next week I took it to art class with me to show my art teacher and ask her to critique it for me so I would know better next time. Note that my art teacher is a PSA Master Pastelist, former President of the PSA, has judged the annual PSA show more than once, has judged in the "Pastel 100" competition for the Pastel Journal.

In other words - she has some clue about the process of judging. :D So I asked her for a critique and she said "that's a charming painting. I don't see anything wrong with it at all. I'd just go ahead and enter it into more shows"

Of course I have not had any other shows to enter it into since then, and I can't try it in the PSNJ show again with a different judge, as they have a rule that you can only submit a painting one time to one of their juried shows - whether or not it gets in. Even if juried out it can never be entered again in another PSNJ show.

But maybe some day I'll find a venue for it. In the meantime the annual PSNJ juried show is coming up soon again, and I have to try to decide which piece I can enter this year to try to gain my Signature Member status.

What I hate, when being juried out, is second-guessing myself, saying "Oh, dear, if ONLY I had entered that other painting instead!"

08-18-2010, 06:12 PM
Debbie, yeah, finding out after the show that the judge is a cat nut when you decided to put in a still life, that can be so frustrating.

Ends of the world - that's a great story. That happens so many times in life. It goes on right into adulthood. Something with major technical flaws can hit a judge just right - and in art it's sometimes hard to tell whether someone's deliberately breaking the rules or has trouble with perspective unless you've seen other work by that artist that does have good perspective, etc.

The toddler winning may have had more to do with meeting the toddler or finding out that kid had leukemia and wanting to cheer him up or something personal like being that kid's dad's best friend. You never know, and a grocery's coloring contest doesn't have to meet the judging standards of a professional fine art society.

Or yours may have been too good and they assumed you got an adult to do it for you. A lot of my entries in childhood contests got thrown out on those grounds, including with fervent false accusations a few times. Nothing like a slap in the face affirmation of skill.

08-19-2010, 10:06 PM
Been there, too. My first juried show, my paintings were accepted, but I thought that if they weren't I would stop painting. I'm so glad that now I see the silliness in those thoughts. A juried show is very subjective. Don't rely on one judge's opinion to keep you from loving and continuing your art.


08-25-2010, 12:29 PM
:clap: Thanks again to all of you wonderful talented artists for taking the time to advise and sympathize with me !(I have been away ).
I have really taken to heart all that was written and it really sank in!
Thanks to Karen,Robert(great info),Chuas,Katherine,Paula (so sorry 'what more would they want?My teacher got rejected sig member too)Maria,Crystal,Dianna,Anne Marie,MJ,End,Debbie(amazing story) and Michele!

Once again Anne Marie via Scarlet: Another Day ,Another Painting!
I have moved on ! The Easel awaits and so will the next show!

All of my best to all of you,Sandi

08-29-2010, 01:29 AM
i feel your pain along with the others - hang in there and don't let it stop you from entering again. i have a whole pile of "no thanks" letters, some of which are very nice. strangely, they provide me with motivation.

i once had a painting rejected from a local art show that i later had accepted into a national show. you just never know


08-29-2010, 11:44 AM
Thanks ,Gord, I love your work !sandi

08-29-2010, 12:21 PM
I had the same experience this year. The twist was they were both members shows. I felt totally bummed. I know said it is back to the drawing board and the heck with them.