I’m going to make a statement that you might find surprising, and here it is:
As a group, artists can be amazing. People will stand for hours watching us do painting magic. On the opposite hand, as a group, artists can be among the nastiest, intolerant, opinionated bunch of whiners you’ve ever seen.
I’ve been to several shows this year where the congregation of art minds was truly inspiring and uplifting. The Coors Show in Denver this last January is a good case in point. Fellow artists Gil Dellinger, G. Russell Case, Joel Ostlind and David Griffin are the epitome of class and positive input. These artists help each problem-solve, and stand as examples of artists I choose to surround myself with.
However, other negative opinions can rule the day. Here are a few of the criticisms I often hear about my work and that drive me crazy:
1. Paints too loose or paints too tight
2. Paints too realistic or too impressionistic
3. Watercolor has less value
4. Works of art on paper or behind glass are less desirable
5. This work of art is too western or too contemporary
6. These paintings don’t say anything
7. This work is too “Wyeth” or too (insert any Master painter)
8. He has a limited subject --- all he paints is cowboys
9. He paints too thin ..... he paints too thick
10. He glazes everything or it's too palette-knife impasto
I could do two more pages of art gripes that you can hear at any given minute at any given art show. Don’t get caught in this negative wave of opinion. Politely move on, and find safety among other artists of like mind.
You won’t find this spiteful commentary among collectors. They are more succinct. They either like it or don’t, based on subject and quality. Only artists get specific and nasty.
It is time we stop all this “throwing of hate darts” and start working to help and support each other’s efforts. I know our past indicates this won’t be the case. I don’t know if our fragile egos are the root of this problem or if it’s just that we’ve invested so much of ourselves in our work and process that we must skewer all other attempts at paint on canvas.
I just plan to paint what I enjoy----paint it at the highest quality I can and speak as positive as I can about my fellow artists and acquaintances. Sometimes part of being a professional is keeping your mouth shut and opinion to yourself.
I won’t be steam-rolled by anyone, and make no mistake…..I will stand up for myself. But we can keep it professional, even if we disagree. I enjoy throwing artistic curveballs as much as the next artist/guy, and I refused to be boxed in artistically. So for those critics who say “all he paints is western art or cowboys”, check out my painting foray from yesterday.
I can hear it now…..”I can’t believe he painted a dead bird” ….. “It’s too much like Chardin” ….. “That teacup is so feminine”……