We’ve all been there. You are painting away, struggling over a corner of your work when it happens. Someone walks up behind you and stands there. Staring. You’re a little uncomfortable because you know the painting is in those “awkward teenage years’
And a complete stranger says, “Wow, that looks beautiful” or “That’s so cool” or “I can’t even draw a stick figure.” Then they walk away smiling because of your art. In moments such as these it’s hard to remain neutral. For the most part I’m harder on my art than a complete stranger is. I guess it’s what makes me an artist. I know I can always push the envelop. I’m always trying to improve.
However, we have to accept complements when they come. Even when we are not ready for them. We need to smile and say a sincere, “Thank you.”
The first few times I received complements while plein air painting were the hardest. I’d purposefully set up off to the side trying not to be noticed in the funny hat.
While I’m not a new painter I am new to the complexity that plein air painting provides. Quite frankly, I wasn’t ready for the nice folks who wanted to see what I was doing.
Upon receiving the kind words, I would start making excuses or I would point out the error in the corner or color. It wasn’t until I remembered something a spiritual mentor Howard Ulch, a gentle Godly man, once said to me that I was able to make a behavioral change. Howard said, “Never rob someone the blessing.” And that’s pretty much what I had been doing. My bad.
Now I accept the complement and enjoy the moment with a simple heartfelt, “Thanks. How very kind of you.” These wonderful folks, who I’ve never meant, mean well and I now appreciate the complement for what it is – a moment to connect with someone. How cool is that? Sometimes the artist in me can overly complicate the simple.
Once the moment is over, I can get back to chasing the light because the light can change in a blink of the eye out here. But how to chase the light is best left for another blog post.
Until next time: Connect | Engage | Unleash