Linda Bell  
Mixed Media and Collage

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Why am I writing about this award - because today when I was on the FCA website I found out the names of Jurors of this show and I was particularly pleased by this discovery. I know the work of 2 of the 3 Jurors Ann Zielinski and Jean Peterson and I have admired them for years. Part of requirements for submission to this show was to describe the concept. (see the description I submitted under this painting in my Abstracts Gallery)  Even though this  painting won First Place it may not be "everybody's cup of tea" as the saying goes. As an artist putting your work "out there" takes courage and learning to be comfortable with a variety of responses can be challenging. The bottom line though is the first person you need to please is yourself. Most jurors do their best to be objective but personal tastes do come into play. I think all of us artists have felt rejected or "under appreciated" at times, not just by jurors, but people in our lives or strangers viewing our paintings - in fact some of my favourite paintings in shows have got "no love" or even notice. Having been an artist for a number of years I am increasingly aware about how much approval and acceptance affects all artists. How we manage our disappointments will be different. Art however is personal -- not just for the artist but for the viewer. I believe if you are an abstract painter you may find that it can more difficult for people to relate to your paintings. That however is why I was pleased when I accidentally discovered the names of the jurors. This painting felt right to me and that it was appreciated by 2 experienced artists that I admire made the award more meaningful. Coincidently this same painting was also rejected for an online international show around the same time - some days you just need to laugh! My suggestion is - if painting brings you joy then keep on painting and do what resonates with who you are, accept constructive suggestions from those you respect and let the generic "wow this is wonderful" comments make you smile but try not to let them sway you too much either.  It is a fine balance and I am learning that this for me requires constant self monitoring and reminders that "beauty is in the eye of the beholder". If you like your own stuff, and the process of painting makes you happy then consider yourself one of the lucky ones.