Today’s the last day for the Student and Member Show on exhibit at the Portage and District Arts Centre.
I found it nearly impossible to pick favorites, but I’ve narrowed mine to three: Jytte Johnston’s two
beautiful stained-glass vases, Gayle Loewen’s inviting “Prairie Pathway”
(photo on canvas), and Caleb Hamm’s mesmerizing “Scattered Wampum” (ink and
gouache on paper).
|Photo by G.Loewen Photography|
If you attended, you no doubt chose different favorites than mine, and that’s what makes art so wonderful.
In her remarks to the opening night crowd, the centre’s Executive Director Margaret Bernhardt-Lowdon spoke about the courage it takes for artists to “put themselves out there.” Their creations are an extension of their very souls, and to put them on display invites comments they may not always be prepared to hear.
As a writer, I could relate. I know how rejection and harsh critique can sting. To date, my three books combined have received over 700 reviews on Amazon—which is great, because more reviews promote more sales; more sales increase the likelihood of a next book. But even though most of those reviews are positive and encouraging, some are downright mean. And because they can post anonymously, reviewers have nothing to lose. This week alone, the following two comments were left by two different people about the same book:
I hated it. Dowdy and uninteresting.
This book was so well written and had so many facets, I couldn’t help but finish it in a day!
You really can’t please everyone. Artists or not, we’re all subject to the criticisms of others—sometimes constructive, often not. How do we deal with it?
Years ago, a wise friend taught me a trick that I used to teach my church drama team and still practice to keep myself grounded. Throughout your day, as you receive both affirming and discouraging words, it’s okay to gather them up and hold them awhile. Like gathering a bouquet of flowers, enjoy the beauty and the fragrance of the applause. And like you would with nasty darts, go ahead and feel the sting of the criticism—don’t pretend it doesn’t hurt. But when you lay your head on your pillow at night, take both flowers and darts and place them at the feet of the Master Artist – the one who made you, who understands your heart, and who creates with you – and leave them there. He alone deserves the praise. He alone can heal the wounds. He alone can handle too much of either one.