Receiving feedback is important for artists...

Whether you comment on art work on a WordPress website, or on Facebook, or even other social media sites, opinions are a kind of barometer for the artist.

Although I usually have enough confidence in my art, feedback validates (to some extent) the work I am doing.

Most importantly, the reason for blogging and for publishing my art has perhaps less to do with the art itself: it's the connections I make with clients and artists around the world that I appreciate as I continue my creative journey.

The conversations I have with you through emails, or on messenger or Instagram, fuel me up full of energy and determination! I wrote about the friendships I have made over the years in a post last year - Connecting and nurturing friendships through social media.

When clients receive their portraits, I ask that they leave a review on a social media site. Some do and many don't.

I get it, we are all busy. But there are reasons to leave an honest opinion after a purchase.

Why reviews and feedback matter...

Hunter reference photo
One of several reference photos used to paint Hunter.

Reviews and feedback are important for artists.

Artists work in isolation. Each of us has a particular style and we favour different methods in our work. Many of us are mostly self-taught and we experiment as we move along on our creative paths. It's reassuring to receive feedback that our work has hit the mark.

However, feedback is especially appreciated when the artist has had a struggle with a particular painting.

You probably won't know when this struggle happens as artists often push through those ugly, very challenging stages to bring the subject to life, and may never share those frustrations with anyone.

But as I am in many art groups on Facebook and Instagram, I know that we all have moments when we want to toss the project in the trash can. Truthfully, most of us have one, two, or more, ugly projects hiding in the dark corners of our art studios. I know I do!

Getting past the ugly stage...

Certainly, some paintings are more difficult than others to transition out of the ugly phase.

If the artist can move past all the doubt about the particular work, reviews can be a soothing balm if the painting is a success, or even a confirmation that the painting just didn't work. (Sometimes, we don't see what others plainly  see...another reason reviews are important.)

Granted, most artists, myself included, frequently communicate with clients throughout the process of any commission. The client's wishes are always of utmost importance. There is a flurry of emails back and forth: Does it look like your puppy? or your kitten?  Is the colour palette pleasing? Is the background appealing? I take into consideration information such as the personal stories about the pet as well as the room where the painting will be displayed.

Receiving feedback: a necessary phase of the creative process.

And yet, I am always a tad fearful of the review that might appear on Facebook or elsewhere. Anyone else feel this way?

This fear is increased tenfold when I struggle with a portrait as I did in November, with Hunter, a Christmas gift for the client's daughter.

Why? Because even as I was urged by family and friends to let the painting be, I still kept working on "fixing" the muzzle, or the ears, or...

Finally, I had to let the painting make its way to its owner in time for Christmas gift giving.

I was extremely relieved when I read the recipient's review, but more than that, I was touched by the raw emotions the young woman felt for her beautiful German Shepherd. I decided to share her thoughts in this post.

Most recent review.

Hunter, German Shepherd memorial portrait by Louise Primeau
Hunter, German Shepherd, memorial portrait.

I was gifted Louise’s portrait of my boy, Hunter. Her painting brought me to tears, but it flooded me with so many great memories of him. Looking at her portrait was almost like looking in his eyes again - it’s by far the most special thing I’ve ever received in my life.

I’m certain most people feel their pet is special ,but Hunter most certainly was unique.

His calm, majestic spirit brought me peace and security through the 10 wonderful years I had him. I could go on and on with stories about him but some of my favourites were waking me up to feed my girls when they were babies (I didn’t need a monitor because he kept watch all night on them), laying next to me when I was upset, swimming in the creek, how his left ear never stood up, his dog breath in the early morning, spinning in a circle in excitement, tilting his head to listen to what I was saying, waiting for me to come home, and most importantly, never giving up on me.

He was a huge part of my family and there’s a huge hole in my heart since the day he went to heaven.

Louise's painting will be a great reminder of the love he gave me and how special he truly was. (K.N.)

Never too late to leave feedback

This and other testimonials are found on the home page of my website. If you have purchased a painting from me in the past (or any other artwork) and would like to leave a review, it's never too late. You may do so on my Facebook artist page or you can also contact me and send me your review.

If you would like to have your pet painted by me, please visit my Custom pet portrait page.

 

You will also find information on pets painted on wood ornaments ( I continue to add different types of ornaments), or on cedar boards on my website.

 

Please contact me if you have any questions and I would be most pleased to answer!

Hunter, reference photo.
Hunter, reference photo.

4 Responses

  • I agree Louise… it’s not about counting the ‘likes’, but it’s nice to get true feedback as a barometer for how we’re doing … I certainly appreciate your support and encouragement and understand how it’s important to keep building our confidence as we struggle with this magic thing called art . I felt pretty confident that I was learning and loving my art until I got some subtle, but negative comments from someone in a group that I’m in and it really got to me … It wasn’t to do with art, but a personal comment directed at how often I post … subtle, but boy did it affect me in a negative way …. I did have to pull back from over posting in groups, so a lesson learned, but I love to share my art on my own page and will continue to do it – wanted to let you know that you boosted my confidence and it helped me work back to my positive self … so a big thank you and YES … if negative comments can affect us, of course positive comments help us continue to grow.:-) I love your paintings and this boy has beautiful soulful eyes.. love him ❤️

    • Thank you for leaving this comment Jan. Words are powerful and we have to be careful how they are used particularly when we post comments on social media sites. Negative comments seem to always have a greater impact than the positive ones. Of course, some people are just plain rude and don’t know the difference between personal attacks and a critical comments that can be helpful and allow the artist to grow as you have stated. We are all learning so why not promote and celebrate each other’s work? Thank you for the thoughtful words.

  • The fact that they have bought your work, paying good money for it, is feedback enough. Talk, as they say is cheap, and people say things just to fill the silence, but when they purchase your work …

    • Certainly, that is one way for art work to be validated. But I have found that art can also open doors for friendships around the world when people comment and I appreciate that very much.

I’d love to hear what you have to say...