Tag Archives: practice

Like it or not

This is a blog post about some recent experiences I have had receiving feedback from other artists about my work. In one case the feedback was negative and criticized me and my paintings, the other was overwhelmingly positive.

In both cases the feedback was unsolicited by me, although in the first case I had asked the artist a question about his experience in the art world, I did not, however, ask him to critique my work.

I did not know the first artist.

The second artist is someone I have known for about 6 years. I trust her and respect her as an artist and a person.

In the first case, the artist’s comments seemed inconsistent and I wondered if he even looked at my work before providing his unsolicited feedback.

In the second case, the artist congratulated me on the evolution of my art and complemented the professionalism of my work (her word, not mine).

Not everyone likes my work, and that’s fine, there’s lots of art that I don’t like too; I am not offended by people who don’t like my work. I am often curious about why and will often engage in a conversation about my art and what it is that they don’t like about it. Often it is too energetic or colourful or they want to “see” something in it, or they just don’t like abstract art—it’s not my paintings in particular, it’s a whole style of painting. And that’s okay, they’re allowed to like or not like things, that’s what makes this world a wonderful place: the diversity of thought and likes and dislikes.

I do think it’s important to keep an open mind when looking at other people’s artwork. If they are sharing it either publicly or privately, it is clearly something that is important to them, something they are passionate about, it is a story that they feel compelled to share in whatever way they are able to. I think you should show and interest in that, out of respect for the other person and their journey, and because you might learn something that informs your own thoughts and experiences (and creative practice, if you have one).

My paintings tell a story of personal growth and development, and have become more confident and complex as I have continued with my practice. To me they illustrate the complexity of life. Where they started out simply as an expression of joyful chaos, they now combine that joy and chaos with heartbreak and loss. Such is the nature of life.

Either that speaks to you or it doesn’t. In the case of the first artist, I would suggest that it didn’t, in the case of the second artist I would suggest that it did. Neither is right or wrong, that’s just the way it is, given their own individual life experiences.

Am I going to stop painting because someone doesn’t like my painting? No. I paint because I find it to be the best way to express things that I can’t put into words. I paint because I have to. I have stories to tell, that can only be told through my paintings.

I paint, therefore I am.

Too Much

I started a new piece today, after taking a break for a few weeks; I NEEDED to paint TODAY.

As I started my latest creation, which in actual fact is 4  8″ by 8″ panels, I thought about my idea, blobs of acrylic paint mixed with molding paste, 6 different colours. This was something different than what I have been doing, and was inspired by a few different things that I have been looking at over the last few weeks.

I am usually all about big, big gestures, big loops of fluid paint or strokes with a big paint brush. Bigger is better, more is better. This was very methodical and rhythmical, and tedious as I created, yet I held firm to the idea that I had for this piece, thinking about what ties it to the rest of my practice.

It wasn’t spontaneous, like my earlier works, yet it definitely has a flow to it.

It was, however, TOO MUCH….too much, that’s what ties it together with my other pieces, I like a lot of paint, paint that takes days to dry, paint that drips and puddles and oozes. This doesn’t puddle and oozes, but it is too much: big globs of paint, messy, irregularly formed blobs of paint. It makes me smile just typing the words.

I am too much, at least that’s what I have believed about myself for a long time: too loud, too opinionated, too smart, too overwhelming, too much to handle, too much, and too many (there were after-all two of me (I’m an identical twin)).


I’m not really, I’m perfectly imperfect, like everyone else. I am the most perfect one of me there is, and there is only one, not two, despite being an identical twin.

The idea of too much, informs my art practice…too much paint…too much movement…too much energy…too much…except it’s not too much, it’s JOYFUL energy exploding all over the canvas and I can’t have enough joy, can you?


Running out of Too Much (work in progress)

Running out of Too Much (work in progress)

Running out of Too Much, completed

Running out of Too Much, completed