Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A Good Comment Is A Bad Comment

A while back, I posted this to my message board. It's an explanation by Michelle Cassou ( a painter who greatly influenced my own creative process) on why commenting on anothers painting may actually cause more harm than good.

By the way, this applies equally well to music. Here it is:

Any comment, good or bad will hurt the process. I always warn my students as we start a workshop. It' is a strong habit to break. If somebody tells you they love your painting, you will be afraid to add anything to it fearful of diminishing its beauty.

And if on the next painting the person does not make a similar comment, you will wonder if you have regressed. And if anyone around you hears the comment, they will be sad that is was not said about their painting. Finally, you will find that you consciously or unconsciously repeat what has been praised and avoid what has been criticized, losing your freedom because you want so badly to be liked.

It is good at the beginning to paint as if no one going to see your work. A person may praise what is dead and reject what is alive, or make comments that inhibit or influence you. Protect the fragile seed of your artistic freedom until you become solid in your creation. After all, you may spend many hours writing yin your journal unconcerned about showing it to the world. Why can't you have the same freedom in painting?

If you look at somebody else's work, or have someone look at yours, silence and respect are the greatest gifts. Look upon paintings with eyes of mystery rather than judgment. Support the need to enter into the sacred space beyond evaluation.

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