Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Yesterday I had hit a wall of despair with this commission piece. And my blogger friends pulled me through the day, by offering advice and encouragement. Every time I checked my email, there was another helpful message from one of you. I really cannot thank you enough! I should have realized beforehand that this was not a typical house portrait like I usually did. This scene is more of a landscape, and requires the expertise of a landscape artist, which I am not!
The night before, I lamented to Padmaja that I was really frustrated with this piece and how it wasn't coming together in the way I had hoped. She was very sweet and encouraging, and gave me the idea that maybe I could turn to all of you for some help. Cathy, Debbie and Wendy started me off with some good suggestions that could be easily accomplished, and while I was working on those areas, Hilda and Wryly showed up with a cheer of confidence and egged me onward. Just when I was getting tired, Celia came along and suggested stepping away for awhile (which I did), Then Sherry and Tito popped in this morning with excellent ideas and observations. Thank you all!
What I appreciate most is that all of those comments were very kind and complimentary, and yet very helpful too. They offered solid suggestions that were achievable. And they only offered those suggestions because I had specifically asked for help on this piece, and they just genuinely wanted to help out a friend. Which they certainly did!
I think it is important for artists to have a sensitivity about how and when they critique one another. There are some who will offer unsolicited criticisms very freely, thinking that they are being helpful, but in truth, their observations are sometimes a little bit hurtful. It's like walking up to a coworker and saying, "Nice outfit... but your belt doesn't match." It would be different if the coworker had asked for an opinion. There are times when the advice of a trusted friend can make all the difference in the world.
We all have our own styles and art is so subjective, everybody likes something different. I don't feel like it's my place to give advice to other artists. But if somebody specifically asks for help, I'll do the best I can to offer it. I think the most important thing we do for each other is just to encourage and show appreciation for the unique aspects of their work that we admire. All the bloggers I know are especially good about doing that! I was a bit fearful about opening myself up to criticism like that, but it was a really valuable experience for me.
What are your feelings about critiques from others? When do you give them, and when do you hold back? What kind of comments do you find most helpful yourself?