I’m dealing with the rejection of the portrait I’ve been working on the past week. I showed the client the way I have been progressing with bringing out a spiritual feeling for the woman in the portrait. She committed suicide a few weeks ago. It is a very sad story but I want the portrait to show how much she gave to others.
So here’s how it goes. The client looks disappointed. I know it doesn’t really look like her. I’m working with a 1″photo on a Mass card. Its just a sketch. I tell him that I am not a photorealist painter. Now he says he wants the picture to look like her. He graciously says it will be alright if I don’t do it. Arrow in the heart. My Mind: you are a failure in this. Every great painting goes out the door. YOU ARE A TERRIBLE ARTIST!!!
Then I start to go into compulsive need to prove. But I hear a voice in my head saying WAIT. If he’s looking for a realistic portrait I’m not the artist for him. I have sold a lot of portraits and the buyers loved them. My potraits are special because I paint the person I feel. MAYBE I’M REALLY GOOD!!!
Rejection is not about me. People are allowed to ask for what they want. If I can’t do I must tell the truth. I don’t have to be winning all the time. Put the ego to bed. I may not be able to get it right for him.
Rejection can take you down. I was asked to draw a baby portrait. I spent all night on it. The grandmother looked at it with disgust. She threw it at me. She was nasty anyway.
I don’t do commissioned portraits anymore. The present one is for a friend. Even friends can reject our art. The fact is people should just take a good portrait with a camera. Or look for an artist skilled in realism. But you will not get the beauty of their spirit.