Please Feel Sorry for Me

by Lisa 

          I recently read an account by a fellow blogger (see gypsy-heart’s January 14th post of how she entered an art show with two pieces and not only had both accepted, but won an award with one of them. Her story takes an amusing turn when she loses her keys while going out the door to attend the reception. At any rate, it reminded me of a show I entered once back in Nashville before I moved here to California.
          I was the President of the Tennessee Art League in 2000 and was a painting instructor at the esteemed Cheekwood Frist Center for the Arts. The Art League hosts several shows a year, and that year I entered the following piece:
          As President, I made it my mission on earth to see to it that all of my students from Cheekwood join the Art League and take advantage of the many benefits we had to offer. I was quite good at recruiting and swelling the ranks beyond 350 members. When it came time to enter the yearly juried membership show, a number of my students dutifully entered their pieces, some of which they had produced in my class. I was very proud to see their paintings lining the walls of the gallery the day of the drop off when I took my own work in to be juried as well.
          The day came to check the list for who got juried in, and who, you guessed it, got juried out. That would be ME the teacher of the STUDENTS. It didn’t stop there, no. Several of my students went on to win awards. Didn’t stop there either. I, me, the President of the Tennessee Art League, was the presenter of the awards. I just decided to embrace the moment and teach the students one more lesson about dignity, being a graceful loser, and understanding that rejection was a part of life for the working artist. After delivering my impassioned speech at the reception I turned to my Vice President, clutched her lapels and feigned sobbing. In the end, the laugh I got was well worth the rejection of my piece.
This entry was posted in Art Instruction, Critiques, On Suffering. Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to Please Feel Sorry for Me

  1. wrjones says:

    An excellent painting. That must have been a tough show to get into if this was rejected. Maybe the juror knew you, or this being the south, they might have been offended by the lemon on the family bible.

    You have opened the window to discussion about student/teacher ablities – as a teacher you should strive to make your students better than yourself.

    If you teach enough there will, sooner or later, be a student who surpasses your skills. This is something to be proud of. Then learn from your student (while they are paying you).

    Dr. Vara will be wanting to know how things went awry to where this simple straight forward rejection led to your shooting stray cats as a hobby.

  2. gypsy-heart says:

    Lisa needless to say, I so enjoyed this post!!

    Years ago..I was very disappointed because I was juried out of a student show at the university. I didn’t say anything, but as usual “my eyes gave me away.” My painting studio teacher told me how she had been juried out of shows…then entered the same piece in another show and won an award. First of all, it stunned me that she would ever be juried out of any show (she is known internationally). Secondly, it really helped me understand the meaning of subjective.

    I may write a post about this teacher. When I had my first class with her she scared me to death. I drove home after her class crying more than once (unbeknownst the her). Some students quickly dropped the class, but I hung in there. Thank god I did..she was not only the best teacher I ever had, but she changed my life. To this day she remains my mentor, and a beloved friend. In fact, I have been thinking about writing a post about her. One of my favorite things about her is her sense of humor (which I discovered after I got past the fear..hee, hee). Actually, I think it was her way of weeding out because she always had a waiting list.

    Good god..I have written more than your post..sorry. I thank you so much for sharing this, and making me laugh again. I think this piece is beautiful..I especially love the reflection on the glass! Maybe the judge was into abstract?

    If it is okay I am adding this site to my blog roll. For some reason when you leave a comment clicking on it does not take us to your blog. You may want to see what you need to change…I would hate for others to miss out on your site. :)


  3. gypsy-heart says:

    I thought I would say one more time that I may write a post about her..this is what happens when you watch Imus, drink coffee, and comment at the same time..

    Until later..

  4. lbtowers says:

    IMUS!!! Isn’t he still sitting around covered with black goo and spitting feathers?

    I look forward to your story about your teacher. You have me a little worried. As time has gone on, I’m afraid I become less patient and more demanding of my students. Why just yesterday…well…Ron, feel free to comment here…

    I’ll do my best to behave next week…


  5. gypsy-heart says:

    Demanding is good!!
    She brought amazing things out of the most humble students…and she humbled some that thought they were the most amazing.
    Before the semester was over all were better artists and humans…or they went switched their major to business. hee, hee.

  6. gypsy-heart says:

    damn another mistake.
    I really need to proof read..
    well, I only came back to get your address for my blog this is what I get for stopping to run my mouth.

  7. 01varvara says:

    Oh my! Bill… I am NO shrinkie-dinkie. In fact, I do NOT have much liking for the breed, having had some contact with that somewhat cheesy and pretentious lot.

    That being said, sir… I mentioned nothing about shooting stray cats… is that what you do when you are in your cups? ;-)

    (becoming serious, for a change) As for me, I make NO pretense to being a working artist. I wouldn’t know the difference in mediums if I didn’t ask my friends (who are knowledgeable). Simply put, I have been around art all my life, and I think I can smell good work and fraudulent pretension equally. Bill… you are more the former than the latter… despite your asides… they ARE forgiven! :-)


  8. kevmoore says:

    Why would anybody want to shoot Brian Setzer?

  9. lbtowers says:

    Okay, I am officially confused. Who is Brian Setzer, kev? Is this an inside joke with you and Vara? Are you two moonlighting on the side?

  10. grfxho says:

    I absolutely love this painting (and the story you shared). I keep coming back to this one to look at it more.

  11. grfxho says:

    Oh, and Brian Setzer was the leader of The Stray Cats and later he was the lead for The Brian Setzer Orchestra. King of swing music, very fun to boogie to.

  12. lbtowers says:

    Okay, I admit it, I was never musically hip. Duh. Is “hip” unhip? Duh.

    And thanks for the compliment. Damn ’em.

  13. wrjones says:

    I TOLD you to Google Brian Setzer, Lisa. Now you look like a big dummy.

  14. kevmoore says:

    If I can play my part and help further Lisa’s musical education, my work here is done :-)

  15. It is so hard to believe that this piece did not get juried in! Ever since starting to view your art blog, I have admired the way in which you use light in your paintings. I am envious! :mrgreen: Still, I’ve gotta ask, what kind of art did your students submit?!!! 8O

  16. Chris Page says:

    You paint a masterpiece like this, and we’re suppossed to feel SORRY for you?? Jesus H., Lisa, all I can say is “Bite me.”

  17. Chris Page says:

    P.S. I cannot WAIT until I get reject for works like this..

  18. lbtowers says:

    Thanks Chris, but do I have to bite you?

    Here’s how musically unhip I am. A few years ago I went into a record store and asked for an Avril CD. Not knowing any better I pronounced it to rhyme with “April”. The heavily tatooed guy corrected me with indignation, so just to piss him off again, I said “and how about Bono?” and pronounced it with two long ‘o’s.

  19. kevmoore says:

    When I was a kid, I asked my mum to go and buy me “Run Run Run” by Jo Jo Gunne, and she thought I was making it up just so she would look stupid when she asked the guy at the shop for it. I had to wait for it to chart and get on the telly before she believed me.

  20. lbtowers says:

    Who’s Jo Jo Gunne?

  21. kevmoore says:

    Oh god. formed by jay ferguson, late of Spirit. they recorded 4 albums on asylum records in the 70s ; “jo jo gunne”, “bite down hard”,”shake that fat”, and “so..wheres the show?”

    They split, reformed recently, recording a new album, “Big Chain”. the band boasted future members of the band Heart. i could go on. probably best if i shut up now.

  22. lbtowers says:

    Like I’m sorry, okay dude? Ask me anything about opera though. How would you like it if I quizzed you on your blog about Cecilia Bartolli?

  23. kevmoore says:

    :-) Does she make Ice-Cream?

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