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Tricky as it can be to comment on someone else's paintings, it can be even harder to talk about our own. On the Painting Forum Cording has started a discussion about what do to when people ask you what a painting means:
"I really dislike being asked to 'explain' a painting. I want to respond that 'it is what it is to you'... sometimes that works, but I suppose if a person is so taken with the work that they want to know where the painter's head is....well, I don't know! What do others do?" -- Cording
Colin suggested telling them to "mind their own business unless they are buying, in which case make something up." Mmm... What do you suggest? Join the forum discussion here.

See Also:
Artists Quotes on Dealing with Criticism
How to Deal with Criticism About Your Art

Comments

August 8, 2010 at 2:37 pm
(1) Yover says:

It’s more fulfilling, rewarding to me to read art books and to bandy with my relationships, folks visiting an exhibition, or to listen to exegetes of Lucian Freud for instance than to listen to the painter speaking of his own work: the risk is that he could be less gifted as his own analyst than as mere painter. And also why speak with brushes if we have to speak then with words? It reminds me also a personal story: I was looking at still lifes made by a famous contemporary French painter (sixty years old) I admired (and who I admire still). It was early in the afternoon and I was alone in the show room. I was looking at a still life showing white grape and silver goblet behind in spirit of the Dutch Masters. The artist was there, I gathered my courage and, smiling, told him: “Oh Hi Sir. Excuse me, so how can you make that delicious painting?” He furiously answered: “With oil and turpentine, with oil and turpentine!” and he moved away.

August 8, 2010 at 9:30 pm
(2) Derek says:

One could say that what that person is asking is a personal question. I’d simply tell them that the art is really a result of me just flowing whatever came to my mind and what I felt, and that what exactly that is is personal. The meaning might also be a little too abstract for the artist to explain if they were very deep into what they were doing when they created the art; some things aren’t meant to be put into words of course. And besides, whether or not the viewer connects with what the art means to you, I think everyone is going to take something a little different home anyways.

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