1. Pamela B 7 years ago

    Thanks Anna!!! I am new to the watercolour world & have felt several times perhaps it’s not for me.
    I have taken a few other courses with other teachers. Every course has offered something totally different. Since I’m still finding my way I have doubted my abilities on more than one occasion.
    A few times I have thought I’m not anywhere close to being as good as some of the other painters I’ve shared classes with.
    Your positive way shines through when you teach & I love your method of sharing your gift!
    I needed a little boost & your comments have made me feel I will forge forward.
    Having positive reinforcement from the students really helps as well.
    Thanks again

  2. Gabriela Hajduk 7 years ago

    How many people (or what %) out of those 165 K visiting buy anything at all? How many of them have no intention (or money) to buy and are there just to look?

  3. michelle 7 years ago

    I used to create hand made Father Christmas statues and other pieces made from wools and silks that I sold at art shows. I enjoyed watching the pieces being looked at, critiqued, and loved or hated as long as the people didnt know it was me who had made it. Itwas just fun to watch people encounter my art and respond to it. But then I had a day job, and I didnt need these pieces to sell. I think the pressure of needing to sell product makes a big difference.

  4. Julia 7 years ago

    Really appreciate you sharing in such an honest way! It is easy to assume that successful artists don’t go through the emotions of rejection or doubt.. Thanks for this – very helpful.

  5. Sybille 7 years ago

    Thank you very much for your helpful post. Unfortunetaly my english is not good enough to express what I would like to….
    I had an exibition at a designmarket last weekend. During the days I also had lots of unhelpfull thougts about my artwork and even about taking part at this designmarket.
    But you are completely right – everyone of us should paint for himself and stop thinking about what others are thinking about our artworks. Thank you for helping me to remember this very truth!
    (Sorry for my mistakes – I had english in school a long, long time ago)

  6. Shirley 7 years ago

    I am most criticized when it comes to digital designs…unlike in traditional art, you can have your freedom,and your own sense of style when it comes to art. Right now, I keep practicing in my water color painting since I’m just a beginner in this media. Water color relaxes me a lot, than in digital art which makes me more pressure and under stress. that’s why I shift back traditionally than in digital

  7. Rocio Valle 7 years ago

    Thanks so much for sharing your experience and for the TED talk!! I am currently taking your Artsy class and love it. I’ve always wanted to try watercolors, so I think your class will finally get me to do it. You’re an excellent teacher!

  8. Chares Bednarik 7 years ago

    I continue to follow your professional career. Your talent has much to offer and you make the most of it through sells and teaching. I will never be at your level but your insight is what keeps me painting: You must paint your paintings only for YOU. If you do that, if you have FUN doing that, then you’re the winner whatever anyone else thinks. I enjoy the challenges and unique experience of each painting I attempt with the end result: “I created that!” Best to you and your career.

  9. G. Gail Robb 7 years ago

    Thank you for your insightful thoughts – also loved the TED talk. We are our harshest critics!

  10. Tami Hughes 7 years ago

    This was perfect timing. I was about to finish up a commission job – which I have been working on for 3 weeks – and last Sunday she decided to wait on this… I tried not to be disappointed, but I was and was about to quit. When I decided I am going to paint for me. What you gave us here, made me realize I did the right thing and turned a negative into a positive. I want to copy this and share with others but did not see any way I can. Thank you for you!

  11. Olga 7 years ago

    Anna, thank you so much for sharing this amazing TED talk. That was much needed! Yes, sure you get rejected all the time. When the painting is not bought, when the order is cancelled before I start drawing just because the client decided so, when the fulfilled order of which I’m so proud doesn’t go into production because the client company decided differently, when I’m published (finally) in a magazine, but without mentioning my name and cutting my logo on the picture, when my parents keep asking “when will you find a ‘normal’ job” . That’s really depressing. And it hurts so much. Now I just realized that I need to heal those mental wounds and treat myself kinder. Thanks a lot again!
    Hugs to all wounded artists, 🙂

  12. Martina justus 7 years ago

    Dear Anna,when ever i see the lovely work you do, I enjoy the pictures. I am an artist too and sometimes i get some comments,too…even if my style is so different,I can see the quality in your work.Please dont think about the people which can’t see…your work is a gift-every day!
    ByeMartina, Germany

  13. Lynda Adlington 7 years ago

    Thank you Anna for sharing this I would like to share it. Very wise words and I’m sure we know exactly what he is talking about and have ‘been there ‘ it will certainly make me think and act differently when I have these feelings in the future. Thank you

  14. Sharon Petersen 7 years ago

    Your comments, Anna, and this talk have come into my life at just the right time. I have been battling depression for some time now and simply painting has been helping me heal. I must continually paint for myself and if others happen to like my work then that is a bonus. If my website doesn’t produce then I do an art show. If I don’t sell there I exhibit somewhere and use the comments as my payment.

  15. Ellis Iverson 7 years ago

    Great blog and Ted talk. However, what sticks with me is the picture of you in your sales booth. Congratulations on taking and succeeding at the big step of putting yourself on the line to sell your paintings. Have you ever considered doing a blog or school video on how you managed to do this successfully? I think many of us would be interested. Congratulations again!

  16. Maysoon 7 years ago

    Thanks Anna for sharing this experience which I had too. As a relatively new comer to serious painting I was delighted two years ago that five paintings of mine were accepted and exhibited in the North Yorkshire annual art exhibition. There were some positive comments but no takers! Last year I sold one only. This year I participated as a guest in a local art exhibition with one painting and had the pleasant surprise the one who bought it is a highly regarded art expert. So I totally agree with your advice. I Just paint for myself.

  17. Beril 7 years ago

    Wow Amazing TED Talk!
    and your store is so beautiful <3

  18. Jeri Hawxhurst 7 years ago

    Anna you are not only a master artist but a great faith builder in your teacher talk, like this one. I have the “gift” of painting like you. I taught myself late in life although I mastered in art in high school. After my children were adults I moved from NY to AZ where I started oil painting. I was in my late forties. I was doing very good & painted many beautiful ones. I moved back to NY in my 50s. I lived with my sister Helen & I started to paint in oil an oil of Kauai where I had visited. My sister looked at my painting of the deep blue water & beautiful sky & in a very nasty voice, said, “That’s not the color of water”! Well, that hurt me so much I never finished the painting & now I am 74 yrs old, I try to pick up my paint brushes to paint in water color, oil, or acrylic but cant. I think you gave me courage today Anna. Thank you

  19. Gayle 7 years ago

    Thank you for sharing such an awesome video – I needed to hear that message! It is always a risk putting one’s art out there and at this point in my life, I know I wouldn’t do well with rejection. I’ve done mostly commissioned work, but that too involves worrying that the buyer will not be satisfied – therefore, I found myself working extra hard and eventually burning out from these projects. I won’t do anymore commissions for that reason. But like you, I now have to rely on selling some art as a source of income. So, I’m taking the cowardly way out and am painting under a pseudonym – I call it self-protection!

  20. Marilyn Clarke 7 years ago

    Such an easy concept but.difficult to practice at times. I have learned to just paint for the love of it, largely due to your course. I first attended a workshop and was so impressed with your desire to share your knowledge and your skills and with the amazing results achieved by all the students. Failures happen but acknowledging them, learning from them, then letting go and starting again has become so much easier with your excellent tutorials. I have even become, on occasions, my own secret admirer! So much to the good of my mental health I am sure.

  21. Chris Miller 7 years ago

    Thank you Anna for being honest and opening up about this very sensitive topic. The TED talk was very helpful and I’m glad to have a new way to think about and act upon my negative thoughts. May we all learn to handle this very common, human dilemma better so that we can break the habit of negative selftalk! Thank you again!

  22. Bronwyn Bossley 7 years ago

    WOW Anne I would love to be there at the Chelsea Flower Show with you I would have a ball. Horticulturist I was and now a practitioner. I would say get on to some Bach flower remedy for all that mind chatter to have during the show. I know how you feel for we took Body Stress Release to WOODFORD folk festival in queensland Australia and I was terrified, cost us a packet but turned out really well.
    Thank you for sharing I think you are marvellous and for all your help I am truely greatful. Have a great time at Chelsea

  23. Suzanne Kleczar 7 years ago

    Thank you so much Anna, I do not show my work as I am truly afraid of rejection, afraid people won’t like it. I have been told by many people I should be showing/selling my work but still my doubts hold me back. I tell myself I create just for me, which I do really but in saying that if others don’t like what I do I am gutted. Silly I know, need to get over that. I have just taken on two commissions, completed one and my client was so happy, So I accepted a second, I have declined many times requests for commissions, maybe just maybe I might get there. Again thank you so much for sharing your experiences and thoughts,

  24. Virginia Greenup 7 years ago

    When I told my first watercolour teacher that I wanted to paint flowers, he said that people who can paint, paint landscapes and seascapes, and those who can’t paint, paint flowers. I thought, ‘what a narrow minded person who I have paid over $2000 for a fortnight’s full time tuition.’ During the duration of the course when I was feeling frustrated at the end of one day, his comment was, ‘yes, it is crap’ and walked out the door. I am a primary school teacher, and my way of dealing with this was to think up what my responses would have been had I been in his shoes. I learnt a lot from him. I learnt not to give up, to listen to but then weigh up others’ comments, and the realisation that I was going to keep trying despite him. So I think my message is that if you want it badly enough, then you’ll keep plugging away, and as Anna says, paint what you want to paint.

  25. ENGELINE SIMMONS 7 years ago

    Dear Anna
    Thank you for sharing your experience! It is good to know we all share these experiences from time to time … you always give me inspiration … love your beautiful art.
    Engeline … Australia

  26. Elizabeth H. Tudor 7 years ago

    Hello Anna.. (long time, but still with you)
    Many, many years ago, I applied to a juried show, (not at the start of my art experiences) and was rejected! I had an opportunity to speak to the person in charge of selection, and asked if he could tell me why! His answer completely floored me; “Anyone can paint a flower!!” Thankfully since, 40 years + , I’ve participated in many other shows, been quite successful and happy with my works. But, that one saying tends to sit at the back of my brain!!! All the best dear.. love your works and messages.. xo Liz

  27. Linda Stinson 7 years ago

    This is so timely for me; not so much for my art; but on the personal side; I was just ‘dumped’ by someone I’ve know for over 60 years; recently for two years…steady companions. My self esteem places me in the depressed, anxious categories; along with the self doubt. My painting is saving me. I love it, and for the past two years have been too busy with what was my significant other. This talk has been wonderful. Thank you.

  28. Renee 7 years ago

    There is so much joy in the sharing of art. Then there is so much hurt in the sharing of art too.
    This happens when there is no response to it, or no engagement when you are so craving engagement.
    And it is so important to keep your love of creating art dependent on YOU, not others. And in that holding close of your creativity and your art, there will be joys. Many more joys than if the reactions of others are given more weight than your own reactions.

  29. Emma 7 years ago

    Hello Anna!
    Thanks oso much for sharing something so personal! Rejection is a hard thing to deal with!
    I am a graphic designer and discovered my true passion in a subject that was unknown to my country (El Salvador)… For about two yrs I developed work not even knowing the proper name of what o was doing until a friend told me “you’re into Surface Design”… Started investigating how to sell it abroad because, not only design is not well paid in my country, Surface design was unheard of 10-12 yrs ago.

    I met a trend forecaster (now a dear friend of mine) that pointed to the trade show I should exhibit my work in and I ventured out to do so. I’ve done it for now for 10 yrs in a row and the feeling is ALWAYS the same… The ones you state above…. How I deal with fear is ask myself “what would happen if I didn’t exhibit?”…. “how much do I love what I do?”… “what’s the worst that can happen?”…. Then, still feeling the fear of rejection I tell “her” to come along with me and WATCH ME DO IT!

    There’s been yrs where I haven’t sold anything but I push myself to keep on doing this thing I love… Then, specially now that I have an agent, you get sales and licensing contracts… You get those negative comments (that hurt of course!) but you also get clients and even comments of people walking by that don’t buy that say wonderful things about your work….. And I (like my wise sister tells me always) “keep the good stuff!”

    You do an AMAZING work! Your paintings ar STUNNING! Have you ever walked (before you exhibit) shows like Surtex in NY? Your work would be AMAZING on so many products that (manufacturers) walk that show….

    Let’s keep doing this thing we love!!

  30. Helen 7 years ago

    I find and at art show that most people are lookers only. They love the art but maybe can’t really afford it. You are so amazing I cannot believe that you have any doubts about your wonderful art.

  31. Ann 7 years ago

    Thank you Anna, for your beautiful artwork and the helpful video.

  32. Bill Morton 7 years ago

    The church held an art show as part of a fund raising effort for a small hospital in very rural South America. I made a 12 x 14 inch stained glass, framed hanging with a stained oak cross inserted in the center that was stained to match the frame. It represented 20 or 30 hours of work plus materials for a unique to all the world object of art.
    The work was placed in a silent auction. I was sure it would glean at least $200 perhaps more because it was for charity. A person purchased it for $30. I was crushed and most certainly humbled. Could not help but think of the low price as rejection of my work.
    I decided, after the purchaser searched me out at the exhibit and expressed her appreciation for the work. Then told me it would be in her kitchen window where she would see it every day. Knowing it would be lifting her spirit provided all the reward I could ever hope for.

  33. Charlene Freeman 7 years ago

    Thank you for this beautiful, brave and candid post. I’m crazy about your artwork. It was very generous of you to share the downs along with the ups of your passion and career. It helps me stay true to my journey and feel good about it, despite the ups and downs. We are in good company with each other!

  34. Sally 7 years ago

    Dear Anna,
    When I catch myself in negative self talk ( I’m so overly sensitive) I use this tip. Gratitude. I turn it around and think of something positive I am grateful for. I put a painting in my very first show thinking how exciting it would be to actually sell something. A friend went with me to the show and it was a very supportive group of like minded people that came. My painting didn’t sell but I was amazed at my courage to bring something out of my living room after I had been painting for years. This was a very big step forward not a failure. Now I won’t be so shy to enter another show and eventually I will sell something. Just keep trying.

  35. Anna Macfarlane 7 years ago

    Love the article and the Ted talk, could relate to them both as an artist and a twin. Many artists have not been recognised until later in their career or when they have died. Nobody wants to wait until they die to be recognised, but sometimes a wider perspective is useful. I’m a great fan of your detailed work, and your sharing tutorials and blogs. Thank you
    love another artist Anna

  36. Kathe Lewis 7 years ago

    Some years ago I went to viking markets and had a stall where I produced and sold Viking silver jewelry replica, all handforged using the old methods. Loads of people just don’t get it – comments like why do you bother when you can just order an industrial casting? But the things I make from my heart are made with love – and should be treasured in the same way by the buyer. If they can’t see what I have put in it, they are not good enough to own it! The same goes for judges – if they can’t see the value in your work, the flaw is in them, not your work. In stead of asking your self whether to change your style etc. ask your self if you should participate in a different type of market? It is also important to remember that loads of people going to places like that, are not prepared to haul out the big wallet, most are on a budget, so it is important to have small items that will fit within a typical pocketmoney budget. You will also experience customers who will go home, and then get back to you later. I know shows like Chelsea is a big selling show, but think of it as an exhibition show with the option of sale, relax and be happy – nothing scares off customers than a stressed and depressed stall owner! Tips I learned from a friend who was a used car sales person….:-)
    All that being said, I am a lousy salesperson. So if going to events, I always ally with someone who is better at that, and then concentrate on showing and explaining.

  37. Susan Leishman 7 years ago

    Dear Anna
    Thank you for sharing this. I remember being absolutely blown away by your Gold Medal Apple series at the Hampton Court Flower Show and again a few years later by your beautiful paintings at Chelsea. Not being able to afford your paintings, I bought cards for inspiration. I do feel sorry for people sitting behind their art and craft stalls but I also admire their bravery. I could never put my own paintings “out there” which is why your school has been so great for encouraging people like me. Your stoicism in those early days has paid off and you are now generously helping and encouraging others to believe in ourselves. Thank you.

  38. Hana 7 years ago

    Wonderful article Anna! Keep painting, you are awesome and inspiring!

  39. Angela Cox 7 years ago

    I have to admit that I don’t usually go in for pep-talks and I only started listening to this one because the dog got me up early (again) so I was pleasantly surprised by this one and found it very interesting. I am a nurse on an orthopaedic ward and so I see both sides of the coin – the physical injury and the often life-changing effects of it, and because of my work schedule I have very little spare time for painting and often even the time I do have is spoilt because of fear of not being able to do anything worthwhile in the time available, and a consequent fear of rejection, both by myself and by others.. This has altered my mindset considerably and well, time will tell, but I am hopeful!

  40. Christine Edwards 7 years ago

    My confidence was really bruised by my friend and an art teacher, the art teacher was wonderful and a really good teacher she taught painting a garden diary in watercolour on a course , which I thought would be lovely. So I thought my friend would also enjoy who loved to paint flowers, I painted wild life mostly at the time. My friend and I joined the course I turned my diary into a daily story telling my grand daughter all about the garden and the insects and frogs,snail,foxes etc: also all my favourite flowers. My friend told me after the course that the teachers said I’m not an artist I just a craft person which was like a stab in the back . Silly maybe but knocked me for six and I’ve doubted myself ever since.

  41. Mary Barnett 7 years ago

    What a very honest and helpful post. I think people who go to shows just go to look not buy but hiw very rude to say nasty comments. Over the years I have done hundreds of shows so know from experience how depressing they can be. I think you are so talented and admire you immensely. I have recently joined your school and am really loving your tutorials. I had a break for over 20 years from painting as I was running a family business which took every ounce of energy. With the business gone now I am looking forward to getting back to painting, however am getting frustrated that mine don’t look like yours!! Oh well practise practice

  42. Tracy Blackburn 7 years ago

    I am so grateful for this affirmation. I am in a situation where I value character over appearance or status, but this is not considered the ‘correct’ way to think in the society in which I am surrounded, therefore I am constantly being told that I ‘should’ care more about ‘this’ and focus less on ‘that’ I’m told I over analyse. I ended up on a psychiatric ward because all of this ridicule of my values lead me to believe that people are just materialistic with no empathy. Right or wrong, I did not expect others to adjust their values to appease my conscience, but they did expect me to adjust mine to appease theirs, and it drove me stir crazy. I still suffer the same conflict in every social situation, but to hear affirmations that the mind-soul-eternal is of equal importance to the physical-financial-perishable means so much to me. It’s something I just don’t hear very often, and when I do, I relate. Yet I am the outcast. I’m not writing this for pity. I’m writing so that hopefully someone will realise the full importance of this set of values. Not just for their sense of self worth, but for a realisation of where a lack of sense of self worth stems from in other people. We were not born to be brought up superficial IMHO. Thank you for posting this video.

  43. Liz 7 years ago

    Good talk.. Your comment, You don’t have to believe everything you think is very impacting in its simplicity… Art is personal and subjective and just as we aren’t all liked then our art expressions of ourselves may not be either. But we live anyway and our art pleases us lol. Cheers

  44. Christina Jenkins 7 years ago

    HI Anna.

    Enjoyed the talk by Ted yes it is hard to pick yourself up when you have a bad day selling artwork. I am presently working out at Gloucester in a craft fair. All the traders are having a tough time but they are a marvellous group and we keep each other going.
    Love your artwork by the way you deserve to be celebrated and I’m sure there are more people that admire your art than dislike it. Cheers you deserve every success.
    Kind regards Tina

  45. Terri Ann Laws 7 years ago

    Thanks for sharing this Anna,

    We are all human, and humans need some kind of positive feedback, unless we are totally thick skinned! LOL
    I’ve had people say some of my paintings are horrible, also when they didn’t realise that me, standing nearby, was the artist. Fortunately it was to the art piece that others had earlier said they LOVE. That did help. I was also the guilty one once. We were leaving at the end of our art class at Bournemouth Indoor Bowling Centre, and someone had put up 4 acrylic paintings they had done. One of them was brilliant, with great contrast, a painting of a woman lying on a sofa, but the others were landscape and so appalling my 5 year old niece could do better. The colours were brash, flat and glaring, not subtle like real nature, and there was this long thin lump of brilliant green strip supposed to be grass stuck on top of the streaky pale grey lumpy smudge supposed to be ‘Harries Rocks’ on top of some cobalt blue smears supposed to be the sea. We stopped and looked and discussed how disgusting it was, and a woman shrieked in protest from down the corridor saying angrily, “That’s my HUSBAND painted that!”. Ha ha ha ha

  46. Julie Sheff 7 years ago

    Thank you Anna! I really needed to read this as I am always worried about what other people think when it comes to my art. I love painting and expressing myself with my art and you’re right it only matters what I think about my work. If people like my art great and if they don’t that’s OK too. All the best and looking forward to continuing with your school which I love very much and have learned a great deal from you.

  47. Celia 7 years ago

    A few years ago I had a painting rejected by the RI so I put it straight into my local art society exhibition and won the watercolour prize – never give up!!!

  48. Amy Wall 7 years ago

    Hi, Anna! It was actually you who helped me get over some discouragement I felt with watercolors. I seem to be “drawn” (sorry for the pun) to want to draw/paint the kind of artwork I find most admirable – realism, photorealism, hyperrealism, etc. And I love watercolors and the effects that they can produce.

    But until finding you on YouTube, I was starting to give up hope that anyone combined the two (realistic approach with watercolors). Your work and advice was a breath of fresh air that I don’t have to be into the spatter technique because it’s trendy, or the loose style because it’s what some people like. I don’t know that I’ll achieve the level of expertise that you have, but plan to take some of your courses and give it my best. Thank you for not giving up on the technique you liked, and for being willing to share with the rest of us how you achieve it. God bless you and take care.

    Amy in Texas

  49. Stephanie Fenske 7 years ago

    Dear Anna,
    Thank You For sharing….
    I really liked The Ted Talk As well..
    You Are so brave & talented
    I Wish i Could some day Exhibit At The Chelsea Flower Show,Flowers & plants, a Passion I’ve Had since a Child. I Love to try and emulate what I see on paper & canvas when I have a moment Thanks again for sharing
    My Art friend. ……Stephanie Fenske

  50. Rhiannon 7 years ago

    I cannot thank you enough for this posts and the video. I needed to hear this message! Wishing you all the best!! P.S.- Your paintings are what inspired me to start watercoloring.

  51. Colin Sutton 7 years ago

    Thanks Anna,
    That was a well timed boost of positivity! I watched the TED talk a couple of times as well. Amazing to hear that even someone as talented as you can doubt yourself. I’ve only done a few of the tutorials to date, but did send a few images to one of my sons – who made the appropriate noises. Then a few days later he sent a link to some artwork of a very different style (and subject)! I must admit my confidence did suffer a wobble…but this article has certainly helped.

  52. Sylvia Kimber 7 years ago

    Dear Anna, Previously I have exhibited and sold oil and acrylics but suddenly in my old age (81) long to try watercolours. However your very beautiful style requires better eye sight and a steadier hand than I have just now. love the way watercolour can be dropped onto a wet paper and with some subtle expertise can become beautiful.
    There has been a hiccup even in my new interest as I have just had urgent eye surgery. So you see
    Anna I have to be patient to find a way to express this new interest I have.
    Your own work is amazing and I totally admire it. Congratulations.
    Sylvia. X

  53. Morgan 7 years ago

    I’m really new with all this art and work potential. I hardly think my work is worth pennies let alone trying to sell anything. I’ve been taking classes for over a year and I feel that my art is presentable they aren’t buying materials. I’m kind of in a rut at the moment because I’ve just become freelance worker. On one hand I’d love to give it all to art and make a living being an artist but I really have no idea how I can do that. Resources need to be replenished and I don’t think I’m that good though I think it is possible. Art and writing has always been my passion. I just would love to see it come together one day as means to living as well as being able to do something I love. I get the negative self-talk all the time but while I do listen to it, I don’t believe all of it. I’ve been through so much no proven myself wrong so many times that I’ve sort of learned to deal with my self-criticism. It bothers me still but if I’m set on doing something, I’ll try my best anyway and let the results be the judge instead. But in, it doesn’t make it any easier when Mu art get rejected.

  54. Erin Nicole 7 years ago

    Well, you just call out the elephant in my studio! Yup, I am exactly the person who doesn’t share even with family and friends because I’m too self critical or afraid to hear what they say. Thus a big reason why I don’t share much more than the basil leaf here on the members paintings. I must get control over my inner self and tell her to stfu sometimes lol. Thank you so much for posting this!!! I’m going to put myself in check and at least share a few here and with my husband; maybe I should start with my 3 & 4 year olds to jack up my confidence! Thanks again for posting this!

  55. Cheryl Nielson 7 years ago

    Wow..Anna…I was surprised to learn you had suffered rejection as your work is simply gorgeous! I could only hope to be as good as you someday.
    Thank you for sharing your story…we can all benefit, and not let the voices of negativity run amuck….

  56. Nandhini Narasimhan 7 years ago

    Thank you so much Anna for the article and the talk! It most definitely struck a chord with me as I am a bipolar affective myself and has been battling for the past 15 years. Art has been a vital part of my life albeit a hobby in these years. There have been lots of moments when I would feel my work has not panned out well and I should bin my work and this mind trick was very very difficult for me to deal with. But I am slowly overcoming this through my attempts at school projects and I must say that with your blogs and the talks that you share have been of immense value in my life. I have made progress in this path of mine and though the remnants of negative thinking have remained but now I know how to overcome those. I enjoy channeling my own creativity through the tutorials that you set for us and hoping to completely turnaround my life which benefits me and people around me. Thank you so much for this blog Anna!

  57. Tricia Levack 7 years ago

    Hi Anna, Really interesting. I received your email yesterday when I think I have been ‘rejected’. I entered two of my paintings to be exhibited and they said they would get back by the 30th. I realise, they have said, ‘Successful artists will be notified.’ I haven’t been notified, so I assume I didn’t get in. My first thought was, ‘Does Anna know something I don’t.’ When I realised I hadn’t got in, my first thought was food. I thought, oh, to hell with the diet, where are the crisps? But then I started to realise that I really enjoyed painting these paintings – I remember every minute of painting them. I was totally engrossed with them. That feeling you have when you paint is priceless – and as you say, you have won already. Paint for you. The Ted talk is amazing. Thank you for sharing this it has been extremely helpful. x

  58. Gwendoline Viney 7 years ago

    Hi Anna

    Well it is good to hear that you should only paint for yourself
    It is a bonus if someone else wants to buy it and gives them and myself great pleasure.

    When I do sell something I do not charge a large price , I do not want to rely on it to provide a living as then it would become too stressful and this would reflect in the work I produce.

    I just love to paint and paint as I have done all my life

  59. Claudia 7 years ago

    Oh Anna, thanks for sharing this reality! I’m always scared to showcase my work because of my fear to rejection… I never go to fairs, I don’t want to ask shop owners if they would like to sell my art, etc… On internet I feel more comfortable and I have an etsy shop called designforhandmade (http://www.designforhandmade.etsy.com) where I sell my watercolors & design as instant downloads, and it’s not working bad, but still the feeling is there… I’m reading a book about a psicologist who believes in the emotional strength as the only way to be happy, and I think this TED talk will be about something similar, so I’m gonna take a look right now 🙂

    Thanks again!

  60. MARIA CECILIA 7 years ago

    My English is very bad. For years I admire his painting, not only as an amateur painting, also as a biologist I admire her botanical drawings. Regretfully, there have also told you that I admire the determination to leave her teaching career to pursue his dream of being an artist. You inspired me to dedicate myself to paint now that I’m pensioned.

    You will not feel discouraged at the stand. His watercolors and art have much value, but I think they have even more as a scientific drawing. Many countries need botanical illustrators for books and determinations of its flora and fauna.
    In addition, the fairs are not as good couple do business, not only with paint, also with other products. Many people I know, not even manage to sell enough to cover the cost of the stand. Fairs serve more as a showcase for the product.

  61. Suzy Cels 7 years ago

    First off Anna your artwork is absolutely beautiful, that’s why I have followed you for years from NZ. Secondly I totally agree with you about painting for oneself. It took awhile to come to this conclusion but it works and keeps that nasty voice at bay. A few years ago I even stopped painting over winter and crocheted a blanket I was so over it haha.. Now I am a saleable artist, teach children and as soon as my studio is built will run adult classes. I’m totally passionate about creating art and so grateful I can.

  62. Meeta Dani 7 years ago

    Thanks Anna for this lovely article and TED talk. Its important for each one of us to understand and accept ‘rejection’ positively. I too used to feel bad about it but my outlook on this have changed completely now. Few points have helped me to understand rejection better and take it in a positive way…
    1. The taste of different person is different. Be it in food items, clothes, perfumes or paintings. If someone doesnot like something it does not mean that the item is not good. It somply means that the person’s choice is ‘different’.
    2. People reject artwork because of various reasons and one of the main reason is that they cannot afford to buy them. Many people purchase an art piece to suit their interior decor, wall color or theme. And if my painting does not suite their requirement then they will not purchase… it does not mean that my art piece is not good.
    3. The most important point is that every great artist has got a huge number of fans and huge number of critics… so if I want to be a great artist I too must have fans and critics following me. My painting must have the power to evoke emotion among others weather be it in the form of appreciation or rejection.

    Thats it. Friends, just follow your heart. Paint till you r satisfied with the painting.. try to learn with mistakes.. try to excel.. if your painting is good then sooner or later people will start admiring it.. If you study the life of many grear artist then you you know that many of them got famous after they died..

    Rejection?? What is that?? What it has to do with my painting? Absolutely nothing!! Its somebody’s feeling. Thats all.

  63. Sheila Bergner-Landry 7 years ago

    Thank you, Anna for this! Recently, I painted a picture of a tiger – Layla ( you can see her finished picture here: http://i.imgbox.com/WLtnAP72.jpg) and I made her into note cards. I didn’t sell even ONE. It was heartbreaking for me and I put the original painting away, wondering what I did ‘wrong’. But I came across it recently and when I saw it, I felt good about it. It did come out OK and while there is always room for improvement, I was somewhat proud of it. It is hard to be kind to ones’ self when we fail. But I try to look on ‘failure’ as a lesson. We learn from it and we move on. The lecture was excellent and I appreciate the reminder very much. (Your paintings are AMAZING!) Thank you!

  64. Kathy McWaters 7 years ago

    Thanks so much for sharing your experiences and the TED video. I now subscribed to TED.

  65. Angella Fernando 7 years ago

    I once worked at a design academy. I havery a degree in Interior Design and I started taking some acrylic painting classes. The director of the institute had a business degree and owned the institute. She called my artwork very immature and asked me not to talk about or display my artwork. I finally quit as I was extremely upset. It took me 2 years to start painting again. This time I did it for me. I ended up selling some of my artwork and that gave me more confidence. ☺

  66. Julie Fry 7 years ago

    Hi Anna,
    No rejection stories as yet but I did want you to know that it was at the Chelsea Flower Show that I first saw your work and was totally smitten by it! I subsequently found an article of yours in an Artist magazine my husband bought me, and was inspired by the apples with water droplets! I really wanted to get that level of reality into my work and so at last when I found your online tutuorial, it was a no brainer! Enjoying it hugely – and whilst we will inevitably come across those who don’t favour this style of art, there are loads and loads who do! I’ve been amazed at the positive reactions from the most unlikely of my friends!

  67. Steven 7 years ago

    Hi Anna, The Ted Talk was very revealing and hit home for me. The term’ rumination’ explains exactly what I do to myself. Thank you for reposting it along with your story. I am working hard to improve my self-esteem and my courage to show my artwork. I signed up for your Craftsy watercolour class and I am enjoying the process. Thank you for being a positive force in the world. Love your work.

  68. LB 6 years ago

    Making a living at art is not about good or bad. It’s about connecting with the right market. A huge struggle for all artists. Galleries will gladly take a huge percentage to help someone “notice” your work. BUT, it’s really hard for a professional artist to give up that much income. I have found shows to be more time and effort than profit as most attendees are just there for entertainment and a snack. When I get frustrated my friend has the funniest advice…”.people are stupid – get a dog.” Your artwork is solid, style consistent and you have ventured into social media…keep trying. When you find your market, you won’t remember the “starving times.” Talking to other vendors also helps keep your spirit up and sometimes you get lucky and THEY can help you find your perfect clientele.

  69. Amy Harkins 6 years ago

    Anna, thank you for this very honest post. I grew up with both of my parents being full time artists. I wrestled a lot with whether to pursue art or music education. I ended up choosing music education and took lessons from my dad after I finished college. In grad school I was able to integrate my art and music studies and illustrated a children’s book. I was so proud of this work but couldn’t get it published. I perceived it as a huge failure and went from being confident and proud of my work to insecure and paralyzed in my artistic attempts for many years. Your painting classes have been a huge help to me and given me courage to get back to painting. I still feel sick to my stomach when my artwork is on display and am trying to recover my youthful optimism and joy that I had years ago. My parents are in their seventies with a gallery attached to their home. Day after day my mom mans the gallery. Although they are outstanding artists, it is still hard to for them after all these years to weather people’s indifference. A true compliment is a rare treat. But they keep working because it is their life and their joy. They are my heroes. As a family we have been the main people to encourage one another. Thanks again Anna for reigniting a love I have always had and producing a site that is so encouraging to artists -fostering confidence and a community that is truly encouraging!

  70. Liz Kramer 6 years ago

    Anna, YOU gave me a second life full of wonder, exploration, and challenge.

    I came across one of your short YouTube videos about March of last year – the strawberry, I believe – and I have been practicing with paint or pencils since. I have your lovely book and refer to it often.

    I must still work a day job, but I WILL paint as a second job in retirement. I currently spend every night reading and planning my paintings and as many minutes as I can possibly squeeze in on the weekends doing it. I’ve already seen progression, even with many (many) projects that failed miserably.

    If I could package up the inspiration you bring me, I would send it back to you.

    Your style is yours and yours alone. You are unique, and it is WONDERFUL.

    Thank you.

  71. Sue M 6 years ago

    When I was 16 my aunt told me i should stick to playing the piano so after my first attempt at drawing i did not try again for 40 years. I don’t care what anyone thinks about my work. I just know it’s fun.

  72. Firuza 6 years ago

    Anna you were one of my inspirations when I persued my artwork. I’m a busy mum with four children. Much of my time is dedicated with them.
    When I saw your YouTube video, it really inspired me to reconnect with my passion. I’m self taught too and haven’t taken any classes.
    All the best and thank you for sharing your experience.
    Check out my link and give me your feedback would love to display my work on you site.https://youtu.be/Ykj9C_VHWoE

  73. Mary Burns 6 years ago

    You have taught me so much about not listening to the negative thoughts or comments and concentrating on the positive with my painting. The best tip was: when painting I turn on my favorite movie “Pride & Prejudiced” and listen to it while I’m painting. I find that it really helps.

  74. Jools 6 years ago

    Anna, you’re the gold standard in this genre of watercolour painting. I just want to pin a label to your shirt that says ‘Anna the Lionheart’. Well done.

  75. Louise Ryley 6 years ago

    So so grateful for your true comments. I am struggling to keep going with painting although I know its there in me and I was actually at Chelsea and saw your paintings!! I thought they were very beautiful and just didnt buy because I hadnt come to buy and it was no reflection on your work. Its really very beautiful. Yes people can destroy you very easily, even close family. I am dreaming of exhibiting at chelsea but it sounds very hard!! Trying to build up enough work is very hard too when family dont give it any priority as there’s no money in it yet!! I will take your advice and also please take mine and dont see it as rejection if someone doesnt buy your work…Often it is financial reasons too. xxx

  76. JaneG 3 years ago

    I appreciate this post. I have always been accepted into the art shows I enter until recently when my beautiful botanical painting was rejected. A pink acrylic pig was more favored by the judge! I realized this judge didn’t understand realistic painting as other realistic pieces were rejected! Thank you, Jane

  77. Syndy 3 years ago

    Sorry, I haven’t had time to see the TED talk yet, but I do know that for every thought that pops into your mind, it’s immediately followed by a negative one, and that’s usually the one that talks us out of trying, believing, doing anything because we think it’s the considered, sensible one but it’s usually a crock.
    We need to identify it for what it is, and reject it to be able to move forward with that positive thing we were considering stepping out of our comfort zone to do. This thought is the one that dreamers follow and the folks that get out there and try something that becomes amazing.
    First step is recognising that’s not who you are, it doesn’t define you, and you CAN action the first thought, and reject the negative.
    Art is tricky because it is such a personal expression of ourselves, but it doesn’t have to define you. Like Anna says, it’s not me that’s being rejected or found lacking.
    Don’t forget, art is subjective, and so I have to remember that what I paint isn’t going to appeal to everyone. Having said that, most people can appreciate the talent and skill to execute any well finished painting even if the subject matter has no appeal to them. Horses for courses… just have a go.

  78. Syndy 3 years ago

    By the way, I meant to say that I just love the photos of your display, Anna, all your artwork is so beautifully presented and has such inviting appeal. I would have lingered for ages and chatted about your journey.

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