[caption id="attachment_302" align="alignleft" width="287" caption="Artist Ann Rea"][/caption] When I met Wayne Thiebaud, a retrospective of his life’s work was traveling the nation’s major art institutions. We were discussing my decision to commit myself to painting full time. He mentioned that if I did this, aside from earning a living, I would always be challenged with one issue. “What?” I asked. Wayne said that “You’ll be challenged with the nagging thought that your work is not quite good enough.” I replied. “You feel this way? Even with your national retrospective show and with the international acclaim and recognition you’ve received? Really?” I was surprised. I thought, “I’d be on top of the world!” He said, “Yes. When I look at a Degas I think my work is just crap.” Not long after this meeting Wayne Thiebaud wrote me a letter of recommendation. I picked up the letter from his secretary and as soon as I was outside the door I ripped open the envelope. As I read the letter aloud on November 19, 1999, my eyes welled with tears. I am very pleased to recommend Ms. Rea as a practicing artist. She is an extraordinary candidate as she exemplifies a rare combination of very special qualities. Ann Rea has an engaging personal manner of working and relating to varying and challenging circumstances. She has a well-developed confidence and personal inner resources allowing her to use critical confrontation for positive results. Ann Rea is intelligent and sensitive with a deep capacity for serious and sustained work. She is keen to share this talent I urge you to take her application seriously, and I highly recommend her as someone who can make significant contributions to the community through her art. Sincerely, Wayne Thiebaud Ironically, now it didn’t matter what I thought or what art critics thought. I had just received a teflon coating against negative criticism. And I’ve not since suffered from this notion that my work is “not quite good enough.” I don’t so much look at a painting as “better” than another. I look at each painting that I create as part of a bigger ever evolving effort. My inner critic is essential, it helps me edit my work. But it must be kept in check. I listened carefully to Wayne. I’ll not allow my inner critic to undermine my confidence or prevent me from enjoying success.