Close up Section of
"Flowers in Blue"
I received so many incredible messages from readers of my blog post on bullying online. So many by email and I am so touched by reading some of the messages. I had no idea this was such a wide spread problem in the art community. I tend to live in a world full of encouragement where I walk into a venue full of strangers on workshops or at my talks worldwide and every single person I meet is fantastic. The warmth and friendship we share through our passion for art in all mediums is beautiful and something I cherish.
But it appears that there are people who take pleasure in putting others and their art down. By criticising their work so badly that it really has had a huge impact not only on their paintings but their lives too. One artist felt so traumatised by continual attacks that they felt suicidal. Can you imagine feeling that low? I don't think being anonymous online is helpful on social media because I wonder if people would be quite so brave if they had to disclose their real names.
Lets' think about why we paint in the first place. It is to enjoy creating. Yes, it is great if others recognise what you have painted especially in your first years of learning. This is when you are new and possibly at your most vulnerable to comments by those looking at what you produce.
But please think about this.
Look at why anyone would put you down. And look at who they are too. Are they a great artist? Are they a great teacher of art? Are they a writer about art? What qualifies them to put your art down? And if they are painting do you like their art? Because if you are painting in a very different style maybe someone who is painting in another won't appreciate your work and vice versa.
Qualify, if you need to what merit the criticism is worth.
But, personally. I prefer to think you would ignore. I know this isn't easy to do but giving air to unkindness gives it room to breath. If you give no oxygen to unkind comments you eventually suffocate the one being unkind by blanking them out.
Please, please, please share encouragement as much as possible. And when you see talent in artists at all levels of their art journeys tell them!
We can't change the world. we can't change everyone turning them into people who respect others but we can make a difference by being there treating others with respect.
Artists knock themselves consistently as it is. Without anyone else throwing rocks at their talent.
So my request today as my artists tip?
Always give words of encouragement. If you do feel you can help an artist improve there are ways of doing it without crushing their soul. And no. You do not need to crush an artists' soul to help them succeed. You need to give them wings to fly!
Thank you to everyone who shared their personal stories with me.
Always know you are never alone and you are better than those hurting you.