Yeah, I know what you mean. Art isn't dead. Though, you said that you put alot of emotion into the picture with the temple, but did you not put more emotion into the 2nd? Think about it, you were really pissed when you made the 2nd one. I cannot judge the critics that are in your group. I mean, theres some people who know abstract art or nonobjective art, and theres other people who think if they don't understand it, its good. You know what I mean? But, thats why I try not to take people critques too literally. Remember, their people too, their opinions are just as valid as yours is. Do not let them decide your future.
In this day and age in art, most people think that stupid shit is art. Very well rendered art isn't apprecated by normal folks anymore. Mainly just by artists. Anyone can see a picture of a river, or a famous person, or the Washington monument in a photograph. Its the closet thing to being there. So why care about a silly artist's drawing of a river, or a famous person, or the Washing monument? We can all answer that because we know the skill, effort and emotion put into that picture. Other people don't see that and their so damn into themselves that they don't take the time to reconise, to look at their bag of Cheetos and think "Wow, someone drew that."