Personal Art Blog

Sharing the lessons I teach at the Artist Guild and the personal discoveries in my art.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Squirrel, Mountains and Thoughts on Critiques



Still relaxing over the holidays.
Hope you are all doing the same.

We have a ground squirrel who loves
to relax and view the grandeur from
our deck. Below you can see him
stretched out in the sun.
















These are the Organ Mountains in
Las Cruces, New Mexico. They are
different every day. Here are some
of the many different moods I see
from my window every day.





cold front
moving in
stormy
sunrise

clouds cast
shadows
the start of
a sunset
early snow










I love to paint my view and I remember being
crushed when a more Avant-garde type artist
said in a group critique - he would puke if he 
saw one more mountain painting. Cruel and
arrogant. If painting is from the heart then
who has the right to condemn it?

Unfortunately, his comment in front of a group
of my peers set me back on my heels and my
confidence suffered.
A year later I visited a gallery
where I saw this soulless exhibition of cartoon,
straight-edged, non representational hangings
which did not feed my art soul one bit, and
discovered the work was by the same man
who condemned my vision.  I realized I had just
silently done the same thing about his work
as he vocally had done with mine.
The perfect example of taste being subjective.

I feel blessed to belong to a group of supportive
bloggers who need not say anything if they do not
like a piece, but speak up with praise and
encouragement when they do.
I am grateful to you all.




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50 comments:

  1. In my book Julie there just can not be too many mountain or landscape paintings. Love your pictures too - what inspiration lies just out your window. Where I live we don't have mountains - just hills - but like you I never tire of seeing them. Hope you had a wonderful Christmas. Take care and enjoy the rest of the season. Hugs

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  2. Well said my friend, well said. I think we have all encountered such an individual. As we get more experience we learn to respect our own voice better.

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  3. i agree - one time a beautiful painter of the ballet said that the subject was overdone - what nerve i thought - it was okay for him but not for others? and yet every painting that he does of the ballet is more beautiful than the next. maybe if they thought about what they were saying would they take it back?

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  4. Julie wow, you have an unending source of reference material looking out your window, a chance to study light each day.
    Paint what you love, and don't worry about the rest.
    I like all the help you give to other artists. Confidence intact.

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    1. You are right about studying the light. There is a marvelous water tank I see about 1/4 mile away and it had been a source of many a study of the sun and shadow. Love the Christmas lights in your painting.

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  5. Amen to that sentiment! My rule of thumb is maybe similar to yours: I want people to accept my tastes and choices and skill level and so I must do the same for them. There is always something that can be said that is supportive in some way. And if I must judge, then do so silently and learn from that. And if you don't like the genre or style you need not say so.

    With that said, your view is just gorgeous. I would never get tired of that whether in a painting, in person, or otherwise. Thanks you for those shots:)

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    1. Exactly - thanks Libby. I like your sketches,

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  6. What wonderful inspiration. I hope it will be followed with new paintings.. If it comes from the heart, you are home free! Artists are communicators.
    This period of rest over the holidays is so important. And then.......off we go!

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    1. Yes - I painted the mountains today.
      Your abstracts have been very interesting with beautiful colors and interesting mark making..

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  7. Wow! I would be painting that mountain range regularly. These gorgeous photographs just added another relocation spot to our list. Lucky lady living with that vista.

    Every painting I do is a self portrait, a piece of myself. I don't think I could keep painting it if it wasn't. I also think that's why rejections are so painful. They are personal--particularly when no constructive reason is ever offered, which is the norm. Highly sensitive artists must also have thick skins. That requirement could be the reason some of our kind can be so close minded and unkind; they need to protect and assert their vision only to believe its authenticity. Thought provoking post Julie.

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    1. You would be most welcome!
      Can one be highly sensitive but with a thick skin. You raise an interesting question. I have not connected the close-mind with self protection. Food for thought. Thanks.
      Glad you are back and healed.

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  8. Love that sun bathing squirrel!
    When will you paint some new mountains?? You should send your critic guy a postcard of your newest one and write across it...here...just for you...have a puke! hahaha! Happy New Year....!

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    1. FUNNY... FUNNY... FUNNY - you made me really laugh. Brilliant idea, Celeste. Many thanks!

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  9. I do not believe a critique should be given unless asked for and then the good should be found as well as any areas that might improve with a little here a little there. Me? I am not qualified to critique and will only offer my opinion if asked. I always find the good in the work and quite honestly, most of the artists I follow are far greater artists than I will ever be and I love their work. Otherwise I wouldn't be following their blog posts, right? And you said it; taste is very subjective. I believe that if you can't say something nice, do not say anything at all. Julie, your work is far and away some of the most beautiful I've seen, even if just painting a broom.

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    1. We agree totally with each other Sherry.
      You always write the nicest comments and on everyone's posts. I can tell they are honest because you find the heart of what you see.
      Thanks for the sweet compliment too.
      Your bikes are amazing.Not easy to get the wheels right in perspective.

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  10. Spectacular view! Very inspiring. Interesting thoughts on critiques from everyone. Sadly many people don't know the difference between being constructive and just plain destructive. "Be kind when ever possible. It is always possible"- Dalai Lama

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    1. Dali Lama - what an amazing man. Thanks for the quote, Bruce. it fits so perfectly.

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  11. The squirrel cracks me up. Your view is spectacular, as is your art. Someone who condemns mountain paintings is probably someone who cannot paint a mountain.

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    1. I never thought of that because I never did see any paintings while he was in the critique group. He produced some very nice prints at that time.

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  12. Oh Julie! Such an inspiring post and the photos!!!! I wouldn't dare take a picture of my view from my window!!! LOL.... If I can go to a museum with "only paintings of mountains" I would be the first! I am the opposite of this man...I can never get enough of God's work!!

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    1. Oh I love the way you called it God's work. I am going to use that!
      thanks, dear Hilda.

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  13. Cruelty comes from discontent. A happy person has no reason to be cruel. I feel sorry for people who find it necessary to be nasty either in or out of earshot. Art is a small world and it will always come back around one way or another. I feel grateful to count you among my internet friends, you have a lovely soul and a good heart.
    PS I will probably be painting mountains till I die with a brush in my hand :)

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    1. I find your words very profound.Cruelty comes from Discontent.
      It fits.Thanks for the lovely comment too ...blush.
      I painted mountains today.

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  14. What a lovely vantage point you have of the Organs. I love the fact that they look different by the hour. Ever changing majesty. I enjoy your posts and chucked at the squirrel. I hope you have a great painting year.

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    1. Thank you Jean. I am an admirer of your work.

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  15. Very beautiful mountain landscapes !!!
    A great inspiration for painting !!!
    My best and very warm wishes for Happy New Year 2014 !!!

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    1. Yes - I find them inspirational. Returning the new Year wishes with healthy bells added

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  16. OMGosh! Your photos are amazing! Makes me want to move!

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    1. Would love to have you!
      Thanks for listing the free books on your blog, I downloaded four.

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  17. Love the sunbathing squirrel. Those mountains are so beautiful. What a great treasure and source of inspiration.

    Your critique-er probably didn't think about his effect on you at all. Thinking before critiquing, a very wise practice to adopt. Thanks for the reminder.

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    1. I agree he didn't, but he did set himself up as an authority on what should be good art and impressionism did not please him at all. I like many types oi art and was naive to think all artists do.
      That's a great portrait today

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  18. Incredible scenery!! I love the changing light and weather patterns and the squirrel seems to enjoy it as well. Obviously your critic has never seen a mountain! Have a Happy New Year!

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    1. Thanks Celia. Your are right - even though he lives here he may never have "seen" the mountains..
      Loved your cardinal!

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  19. What a lovely view...in all moods. Grateful for you AND your art!

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    1. And I am grateful for your wonderful art, Lisa.

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  20. Thank you for these gorgeous photos Julie! So inspiring!

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    1. Thank you Sherry.
      I loved your garden painting.

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  21. thank you for sharing these amazing shots! and thank you for your consistently inspiring and gorgeous art! happy holidays to you and yours my friend!

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    1. YOU are one of the nicest and caring bloggers, Suzanne who also happens to be an incredibly gifted artist.

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  22. You have certainly found a wonderfully inspiring area in which to live. It's thrilling to have the light change and see the mountains in different ways. The light in New Mexico is a joy to behold.

    Your comments regarding critiques are right on! Who are we to judge another's subject matter? Can't one paint what is important to them? Your point that sometimes we do evaluate the work of others compared to our own likes and dislikes is true, and I'm sure I have unwittingly at some point done that very thing although never intentionally. A good reminder, Julie, to tread gently with our words.

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    1. You also live near mountains in Green Valley, AZ. Beautiful area.
      Thanks for your thoughtful comment, Carol.
      Love the tree!

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  23. Dear Julie,
    I enjoyed looking at those mountain views. What a beautiful place you have there. Everyday you see those marvelous sceneries. You must be feeling always renewed every time you open your window and see those beautiful views. Really only God can give us such beauty.

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    1. I agree - only He can.
      thanks for the visit, Cora.

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  24. If I lived near this view I would be painting it over and over again.
    I wonder what that artist would have said about Georgia O'Keeffe's mountain paintings. He is so wrong on so many levels. Remember how inspiring Bob Ross was to so many who longed for a creative outlet but felt it was out of their reach. Painting like the other arts: literature & music because of the variety it can touch everyone and that is what it is about.
    Your art is so beautiful! I am sure that this guy is not one of your peers or else he would have recognized it as beautifully done. I so admire it and always use the close up feature to check it out when you post on the Daily Paintworks site.

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  25. You make a very good point. Art snobbery is not healthy especially for those who possess it. Thanks for the lovely complement too. It means a lot.

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  26. In a million years I would never tire viewing, photographing and painting that view. You are so blessed. Happy New Year, Julie!

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  27. Oh to have the time and resources to tour this beautiful country of ours to see and paint all the wonderful and varied landscape choices! If I'm ever down your way I hope we can paint your magnificent view together.

    Wishing you and yours blessings at Christmas and for 2014!

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I love that you are taking the time to comment and thank you for it. I am sure other readers will enjoy them too. If you cannot comment through this format then email me at juliefordoliver@gmail.com
Cheers,
Julie