An artist friend of mine was recently rejected from a show he'd participated in for the last couple of years. I think he was actually a bit down about it (as any of us would be) and felt as though his not being invited back was somewhat of a setback in his career. I don't feel that way — at least, most of the time I've been rejected.
I can't tell you how many times I've been rejected from participating in art shows, art competitions, etc. The list is long and painful. In fact, the show of which my friend was just "uninvited" from is a show I have been rejected by 3 times. I still have yet to be invited (though that hasn't stopped me from trying, again, and again, and again, and again...do you see a pattern here?)
Rejection is an often difficult, horse-sized pill to swallow, especially when it comes to us by way of our creative endeavors — something many of us are emotionally invested in. But in the scope of one's career, as an artist, rejection can be made a positive. It can often refocus our efforts and allow us to step back from our work and view it from a more objective point-of-view. If you can accept rejection as a motivator to improve your work and not as a step back in your career, you’ll likely get where it is you want to be faster and with fewer bumps. At least, that’s what I keep telling myself.
Keep painting. Be persistent. And try to not let rejection dampen your enjoyment of what it is you do.