Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Rejection and Recovery

Life is full of ups and downs.  All 6 of my submissions to the Royal Institute of Oil Painters (ROI) were rejected this year.  After getting two in last year and one the year before I thought I had a chance but' No!'  I tried to tell myself it did not matter.  I have only ever sold one painting at their annual open show and actually gave up submitting for a while.

Here is one of the rejected pieces:
Divine, 82nd Street Edmonton
9x7 inches.  Oil on board

Over the years I have come to understand that rejection is not the end  - indeed it can be a new beginning.  After coping with the initial disappointment I now go back over recent work and try to analyse where I might do better.  Often it comes down to choice of subject and composition.  Many of my paintings lack impact, mainly because I am too quickly content with a design.  Sometimes I am not quick enough to get down the important elements.  Here is another rejection:

Towards Forest Hill
8x10 inches Oil on board

Rejection tends to strengthen resolve.  More rejections:

River Chess Below Sarratt 
12x8 inches Oil on board

Seville Rooftops
10x8 inches Oil on board

That nagging feeling that there is something very wrong with all my work is then blown away by the next success.  At the Army Arts Society show in November I submitted 10 works - 6 unframed.  One painting was sold immediately it was hung, five more more went at the Private View and two were sold later in the show but the most positive indicator for me was winning one of the two main Chemring Painting Prizes.

Of course the prize money was very welcome but it was the fact that Ken Howard chose my work that really gave me a special boost.  To so many plein air painters in this country Uncle Ken (sorry, Prof Ken Howard OBE RA) is our a hero, so to receive an accolade from him had me reaching for the champagne.

Here are the ones I sold framed.  The prize winner was Old Harry Rocks:

Old Harry Rocks
9x19 inches Oil on Board

Piazza San Marco
10x8 inches Oil on Card

Against The Light, Sennen
14x10 inches Oil on Board


  1. Hurrah, well done Dad! Looking forward to seeing all your new stuff v soon

  2. Hi Tim, I just managed to have a look at your blog and sorry to hear about the ROI rejection. I love "Towards Forest Hill" - it's a real beauty, so don't understand how it didn't get accepted. But well done for the Prize!! as you said, a prize from Ken is worth any money or any acceptance in shows. You can be massively proud!