walk softly in this world

Part of the process of being a painter, generally includes sharing your work. That may be directly, being there when the piece is shown and having comments directed towards it / you. For this process a practiced look of unphased by whatever that might include is useful. Sometimes sharing comes in the form of a critique. This is a process that can look a lot of different ways but generally involves bringing work to stand on an easel in a room of painters while one person leads a discussion offering thoughts to correct or redirect things which may have gone astray. I think if the creator  placed a landscape on the easel, the responses might include, really God, don’t you think that sky is unrealistically blue, or the edges on those mountains a bit hard to buy? Still, it is part of growth, the trick is to take what is helpful and let go of the rest.

I have two paintings going to a new home this week, they have actually headed out the door but await the return of their new people from vacation. I was offered the selection choice so it is a gamble, did I hit the right chord? For me the happy part is I won’t be there to find out directly so we can all be honest! I hope it goes well, time will tell.

Putting any part of yourself, out there without a shell is a tricky thing. I have seen confidence crumble and creativity impeded by a couple of unexpected jury declines or harsh critiques. I think always when given the chance to offer feedback to others it should start with the basic rule for life, first, do no harm. Walk softly in this world because things of value can easily be crushed in your process and every glimmer of life is in fact precious be it on the grass or on the page. I place a very high value on the embodiment of gentle. That said, we are tougher then we think and if we come ready for honest response, there are things to be learned, life and process all include growth.

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I did leave this young mouse with a holly hock hat to make him a bit less vulnerable.  I plan to take a young artist to a workshop series this spring that will include being in the audience for a group critique. There is much to be learned in hearing the feedback to others and seeing the process in play. When she is ready for such, she will know what it looks like and that too helps. If you can’t wear your full body shell, at least take a holly hock hat when you share your work, and most of all, if I may offer some advice, keep your own view. Love what you love without too much influence, that seems to work, in painting, and in life.

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