Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Dealing with disappointment

I always tell myself that I am good at dealing with disappointment in life. Being an optimist, this is usually an easy thing for me to deal with. However, I wonder if you ever really learn to deal with that initial pang of disappointment when you receive news that is "bad" rather than "good". Is there anything that you can do to prepare your mind and body for the outcome?

I watched the postman arrive this morning as I was hanging up some washing, knowing that there was a chance of a letter I'd been waiting for to be delivered. I thought (irrationally and with a higher than usual level of superstition, for me) that if I didn't actually collect the post from the doormat until he'd walked away, then if I piled the letters up without looking at the envelopes first, that my letter would contain good news. I also thought (again, superstition took over at this point) that because Keith was out at the time, that was significant to me receiving good news. You will have guessed by now, of course, that I was suitably disappointed to read that my two entries for the Ferens Open Exhibition had both been UNSUCCESSFUL. I wrote that word in block capitals because that's what they do on the letter they send you - just in case you misinterpret the wording, I suppose! What tickles me, is that even though you have been UNSUCCESSFUL (you see, that word is now indelibly printed on my mind in block capitals) they still enclose an invite to the preview evening. Is it just me, or is that not just a bit insensitive? It's like that programme I remember from my childhood - Bullseye, when they used to say to the contestants "Here's what you could have won". Fair enough, I will still want to go and have a look at the other entries, I'm sure the exhibition will be fantastic and I am genuinely happy for all those people that were successful. However, I'm not sure I  want to be there on the preview night knowing full well that my two paintings are hidden away somewhere waiting for me to collect and bring home when all around me are the "winning" entries.

I tend to get over disappointment fairly quickly and try not to take it personally, but it's still not easy when it's something you've set your heart on. I'm sure I'm not alone here, so thought I'd share my thoughts with some of you that will have no doubt experienced similar rejections throughout your art career.

I am wallowing just a tad in self-pity, but at the same time I'm concentrating on my latest creation - I've painted a small acrylic and ink painting on canvas board of a tulip head. I took photographs along the way as I created this and am now in the process of trying to remember how to use Proshow Gold to create a slide show of the photographs. Then I will be posting the whole thing on here, hopefully! It's a useful distraction to disappointment, but I may also have to consume some chocolate at some point today, too!

These flowers, which Keith bought me a while ago, are a cheerful image to leave you with!


  1. Bad luck! It happens to us all (too regularly) I console myself with the fact that far better artists than I get rejected regularly too. There is a lot of pot luck involved. But the highs wouldn't be as high if the lows were not so low.

  2. Natural to feel disappointed, but as Peter says, there's a load of luck involved! Remember, Wuthering Heights was a flop when it was published and poor Emily died not knowing how huge it would become. xx

  3. It's the way it goes, as Peter says' highs and lows (almost poetry there!).
    My son is looking for work this past 2 years and they don't even send rejection letters anymore, such are the numbers applying.

    Rob was recently 'rejected' by the full members board of ERA.
    In the part where they explain why they had included the comment that his palette was too harsh. You have to laugh, his palette is an intrinsic part of his style.

    Those flowers are beautiful.

  4. i think you need to read Ralph's post one of my follower's - about the deaf frog :) it will cheer you up xx sorry you did'nt get in - ps need to sort out that alice notepad sometime soon - thanks

  5. Thanks all, it's true, of course, everything you have all said.

    Lorna- I got fed up of being rejected by ERA as a full member that I've stopped trying now! You can't let it get to you really, can you?

    Cheryl, I also follow Ralph, will have to read that particular post. The Alice notepad is reserved, just need to contact you re address soon, not forgotten. :)


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