Last week, I took a chance and submitted three of my line drawings to a local juried art show called Mainly Black & White. This was my first time doing something like this and I think I adopted the ignorance is bliss attitude and just went for it. While I'm well aware that what I'm doing isn't fine art, I wanted to push myself to try something new, go through a submission process and see what happened.
Well, nothing happened - or it did, depending on how you look at it. My work wasn't accepted and, honestly, I didn't think it would be but I had to at least try. I'm not being self-deprecating, just honest with myself. It's not fine art. What I'm doing isn't revolutionary or even first-rate, but the shapes and negative space spoke to me in volumes while I was in-process with this work. The culmination of the hours of thinking and creating this series brought me a lot of joy and I found that very worthwhile.
My concept and title for this series of drawings is separation anxiety. My thoughts immediately went to my experience with motherhood and how isolated and alone I felt after I first had my son (who, by the way, is sweetly outraged that they didn't accept my submissions!). I didn't dwell there too long and, instead, my ideas morphed into thinking about the separation between human beings in general. Mothers & their children, wives from their husbands, loneliness, abandonment, life & death - and the big empty spaces in between and what that must feel like (sadness, grief, loneliness, relief, love, etc.) during those times of separation, whether real or imagined.
Overall, I love the starkness of the black and white lines and they bring me a kind of visual orderliness that I crave. They feel strong to me, despite (or maybe in spite!) of the negative spaces.
I was a little disappointed when I learned my work wasn't accepted for the show, but overall it felt good to work on this project and have a finite deadline for submission and see how it all worked. I'm not sure I'll attempt entering another art show in the near future, but this one seemed like my work fit the show requirements (mainly black & white) and that's why I gave it a go.
After sitting with the rejection email for a few minutes, a smile started forming across my face - more of a smirk, really. I love that I just tried to do something big for myself and completely out of my comfort zone. The end result of acceptance into this juried show doesn't really matter to me in the grand scheme of things. I mean, sure, it would have been nice but it's not the end of the world.
What I learned is that it's the process of making art that brings me the most satisfaction and the intentional act of creating something beautiful to put out into this world and share with others. And, I'm actually sharing these line drawings with all of you right now via this virtual space - so I'm okay with this recent art rejection. I don't necessarily need my work displayed on blank gallery walls to keep me motivated. I am motivated.
I'm thinking about this series of drawings a little more and my hope is to practice my hand-lettering skills and insert words into those empty spaces and fill the void, so to speak. I'm also working hard to update my etsy shop with prints and finish up my research into the best shipping materials & how to print my art from home on a hand-me-down art printer.
On the same day that I received this rejection letter, I registered for my first college course in over 25 years. Wednesday was a very big day over here.
As always, a work in progress.