I’ve been doing more abstract works, although these are on the small side for abstracts–11 x 14″ and 16 x 20″. But I’ve been pleased with my progress, especially because I am really working on stronger colors and contrast. My favorite so far is “The Curse,” which I am quite pleased with.
I did run into a bit of an issue on my Facebook art page. Normally I post my works-in-progress there and on Instagram. That gives me a way to keep track of what I’ve done for my own purposes and also allows me to show people how I work, which does interest some folks. I also enjoy what encouragement I get, and sometimes I get good recommendations too, which are really helpful. But a couple of people who I have known for years now decided to mock a recent work-in-progress, an abstract painting, on my art page.
I would not have cared much if these were so-called FB “friends” who I don’t really know. But that they were people I’ve known for years and yet they felt free to mock my work really angered me. Neither of these people are artists. They can’t draw nor do they know anything about art. They are the kind of people who really can only appreciate a nicey-nicey landscape or perhaps some dreck-on-a-canvas like a cozy cottage. For them, abstracts are something to make fun of. They are troglodytes.
I don’t have a problem being friends with trogs. As long as they don’t decide to critique my art.
And it’s not that I was being over-sensitive either. This was straight-up mockery, even including a laughing emoji.
I have never said anything negative about anything they’ve done or as far as I know, fought with either of them or hurt their feelings. So it doesn’t seem rational.
I did get the feeling that one of them, who has repeatedly made remarks about how my work reminds her of industrial products, wants to bring me down a peg, like I am getting too different from what I was when we first met and I was not painting then.
The other one I know has issues with me because I wrote a book. Yes, really. According to her, when people write a book (and this book of mine is not even about art), they become one of Them. Frauds. Liars. Schemers. And all sorts of other bad things.
Someone said to me a while ago (in fact when the first person began comparing my works to industrial products) that I should get used to criticism of my paintings. I don’t have a problem with criticism of my paintings. If people want to write a critique of my work, even if they were snarky, they could go right ahead and write an entire book and I would even read it. Or if they even just make fun of it, they are free to do so–on their OWN page, NOT on my page. On my page I will delete them. No discussion.
And in fact, I had already blocked them both from my personal page, not realizing that this would have no effect on their posting on my business page. Sheesh. Facebook makes life too complicated.
Today I finally figured out how to make their comments on my FB art page visible only to themselves. So that’s progress.
But something good did come out of this for me.
For one, I don’t think I reacted in a neurotic way. I was not hurt. I was angry–that people would present themselves as “friends” and then do something intended to hurt for no reason (whether it actually hurt or not). IOW, I was angry that supposed friends acted like bullies.
I also had the “who in the fuck do they think they are?” reaction. 🙂 Which I feel like is a positive one in such situations. As an artist, you are putting yourself out there in a way that most people would never dare do. That in itself must be respected, even if one’s work is trash. But people who do not even use their own real name online and/or create sock puppets to shitpost haven’t got any right to mock the work of someone who DOES use their real name and who puts their work out there.
Most of all, though, this incident convinced me that doing more with abstraction was the way for me to go. It is what I have wanted to do but have felt intimidated by. It’s much more difficult than it appears, for one. More and more of my landscapes have been tending toward the abstract, but I felt somehow I would lose a good chunk of my audience if I quit doing landscapes.
And I personally love the land, love our natural world. It is my strongest spiritual connection. And when I make a landscape painting, I feel like I am strengthening that connection for me and for others.
But I also have seen how my abstracts come out of that love, especially in terms of water. And from the beginning I have felt that abstraction had the advantage when it came to transmitting spirit.
I now feel free to discontinue doing landscapes and to focus on doing the abstracts that I want to do–abstracts that are loaded with the sensuality and beauty of the natural world and imbued with spirit, where I get to freely play not only with color but with texture.
And if I lose some of my audience, well, shit happens. I suspect among that number would be some of those who would mock my work for being abstract, so to hell with ’em.