Beyond The Rejection And The story of Picasso Painting Gertrude Stein

Gertrude-Stein teyjah

It must be tough to be an artist. I could never do that as a job. I could never handle the rejection. How do you handle the rejection of a piece you poured your heart and soul into and someone criticizes you? Good question!  My answer was: it’s only a part of who I am. It’s not all of who I am. Perhaps I’m in the enviable position of being an experimental artist so I view everything as an ongoing process and a learning process. Perhaps I view this as I view life. Life is a process and so is art. It’s all about what the next step will be and how to best adjust to the situation. You are never entirely certain of what the end result will be but not making any decision is a decision but not one you control.

Another way of looking at this has to do with growth. There is a famous story of Picasso being invited to Gertrude Stein’s house to do a portrait of her. “One day he wiped out Stein’s face on his easel, annoyed that he could no longer “see” her, then he set out for a long sojourn. When he returned he quickly painted in her face fast and from memory.” At that time, a shift in his style had occurred after a trip to Africa and seeing African masks. This event was just prior to the famous “Les Demoiselles dAvignon” primitive art style.

The rather mask-like portrait of Stein manages to convey her intelligence, her fierce concentration and her rather manly stance. It is not a classically pretty picture and most artists would have embellished her portrait and set out to please their rather important client but Picasso was at the onset of his Cubist leanings. Despite the disapproval of his peers Picasso famously said, “Everybody says that she does not look like it but that does not make any difference, she will.” As it turns out he was quite correct, she did eventually look like her portrait. In “The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, Stein said later, “I was and still am satisfied with my portrait, for me it is I, and it is the only reproduction of me which is always I, for me.” She was a strong supporter of the Cubist movement and philosophy. So what is the moral of the story here?

For me, it’s about going beyond the rejection and following your vision. What is your vision and how do you handle rejection?

Photo courtesy of wikipedia.org.

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