At the beginning of the month of March I was gathering my supplies together for my weekend art retreat the day before I was planning on leaving. I walked into a local Michael's store to buy a last minute supply that I needed and as I walked in, I looked up and saw a big sign advertising their "Springtime in Paris" contest. There was a contest to win a trip for two to Paris with a lot of amazing experiences included in the grand prize. My husband and I went to Paris for our honeymoon 17 years ago and we have always wanted to go back together someday. As I stood there looking at the sign, thinking about the possibility actually have the chance to do this sent chills through me.
Back in November I went on a missions trip to France and spent one day in Paris before commuting to the countryside. With the inspiration from the short time spent in Paris, I was already planning on doing a piece of art based on this during my weekend away. When I saw this "Springtime in Paris" themed contest, it just seemed so perfectly timed. "Springtime in Paris it is!" I thought to myself. And then the creating began. Two weeks later I was finished and this was the final product. Many times I would play Parisian music to inspire and motivate me to work. The thought of the end goal drove me to work diligently and do my best.
Yesterday the winner of the contest was announced, and it wasn't me. I was so disappointed, but there were over 11,000 entries so, needless to say, my chances were very small indeed. I have never in my life let small chances keep me from trying before though, and I intend to always keep it that way. Rejection will always be a part of an artist's life. It's inescapable. Rejection is never easy and sometimes it hurts deeply, but rejection is not always a bad thing. In a book called, The Artist's Guide, by Jackie Battenfield, it says, "if I'm not being regularly rejected, it means I'm not pursuing opportunities." I would rather take risks and pursue crazy, seemingly unattainable things, then sit here and do nothing at all. I have found that the greatest things in my life have come from taking risks. If I didn't believe that I would have never had my four beautiful boys.
I think that rejection can be a good thing in the way that it pushes me to do better and helps me learn from my mistakes. Rejection is not always personal, and experiencing rejection can help you reevaluate what you identify as your self worth. I love this quote from Letters to a Young Artist by Anna Deavere Smith: "Artists are vulnerable to complicating the high that accompanies success and to getting drowned by the profound disappointment that accompanies failure (or, better said, expectations that are not met). We can confuse those highs and lows with a general estimation of personal value-- that is, by making a judgment about our value as human beings". Rejection is a normal part of life, it is how you respond to it that matters.
To see the winners of the 2015 Michael's Springtime in Paris contest go to: http://blog.michaels.com/blog/springtime-paris-winner