Thursday, January 17, 2013

217/365: The Art of Rejection

"Small, But Mighty" copyright Mila Bowman 2013
4"x4" mixed media on pine board:
encaustic (beeswax & resin), oil pastel, ink, scrap paper, 
ribbon, photo & found text
Today I made:
a recipe for dealing with rejection...

Winter got my letter! It was 71 degrees in Pacific Beach today. (That's more like it.)
That's the good news.

Today was also the day that Cloth Paper Scissors Magazine announced the finalists for the Make Mine Mini art challenge. After an extra week in limbo, I got the news. Out of 300 submissions, there were 53 finalists. I was not one of them.

A minor blow to the ego, but onward I go.
There will be more challenges, contests and submissions. It's on my bucket list to get published this year, so I'm not giving up. There had to be a first attempt and a first failure; it's part of the process. So is dealing with it...

Mila's 5 Step Plan for Dealing with Rejection Gracefully: 
1) Throw yourself a five minute pity party. (Go ahead, it's allowed.)
2) Go for a brisk walk. (My pup never rejects this idea.)
3) Eat a delicious meal. (And perhaps treat yourself to a nice glass of wine.)
4) Have a chat with a friend who makes you feel good. (Thanks, Casey!)
5) Go make more art! (That's the courageous part of the plan.)

"Small, But Mighty" is an encaustic collage of me as a wee girl. Sometimes I feel like my creative dreams are too big for me to take on, but brave Little Me knows better. She encouraged me to put my art out there for my first magazine submission. I have a wise inner child.

What I really love about this piece is the memory the photo holds. I was nearly three and still living with my mom and grandma in Poland at the time. We had taken a trip to the seashore, where at a children's club, my family convinced me to get up on stage and recite a long funny poem as part of a contest. That's me posing for a photo after winning first place. When I told my mom I was using the photo in a piece of art, she reminded me that my dress was pale blue and that my grandma clapped the loudest. 

This was a valuable experience. I got practice with my art getting judged...and rejected. It will happen and I need to learn how to deal with it. I also realized that working small is a great way to master some of the challenges of encaustic painting. Thanks to the art challenge, I now feel more comfortable exploring this medium. And best of all, I think I'm on to something with these old family photos. Maybe a series? The Big Adventures of Little Me.

I have big dreams, you know. ;)


  1. Aaaaah, yes... that's never fun. But as you said, it's great you did and it's a learning experience. I erally like your piece with those cool rolled bits. All the more special that you've used a personal photo and memory.