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Readers Respond: What Hurtful Things Have People Said When Commenting on a Painting?

Responses: 213


From the article: 10 Worst Painting Critiques
When you ask someone what they think of a painting, you're exposing yourself to the possibility of negative comments and, unfortunately, hurtful and mean critiques. Some people say unhelpful things that ought rather not to be said, often justifying it by saying it's "just my opinion" or "I'm only being honest". Share your experiences here of things you'd rather people had not said about one of your paintings.

Pretty Landscapes

I get asked why don't I paint pretty things like landscapes and still lifes with flowers when what I love to paint is abstract and expressionistic and doesn't involve traditional painting techniques. These people know I've painted "pretty" things in the past but I was experimenting, learning then. People change and my artistic taste and bents have changed rather drastically as I've aged. I love a beautiful landscape but I'm tired of painting them just as they appear.
—Guest Gail Mansel

Other People's Criticism

I started art late in life, always pretty cack handed, so didn't think I could do it. First painting was of a road lined with laburnham, I was gobsmacked to realise maybe I could paint a bit. Been a confident type person, I thought I would copy a Renoir painting, amazingly it was a pretty passable replication, so did another copy or Renoir, again this came out pretty good. I had many problems on the way, but boy I learnt a lot, negotiating my way through. People started saying to me, when am I going to do my own stuff, I realised its a way of criticizing, like anyone thinks its an open book to dam anyone for whatever they do, maybe I am not original, but I think by learning from some of the old masters, and studying art in my own fashion gives me a heads up and lets me make my own mind up as to which way to go. So to all the laughers, haters, bullies and general put down merchants, get a life and don't be parasitic.
—Guest alan

Things Said to as a Child

Once in about 5th grade my school teacher told me, "Kathy, maybe art just isn't your thing." And I believed her. Fortunately a good friend in college convinced me to paint some t-shirts for cheap Christmas presents for our families. I painted cat eyes. That was 27 years ago. I've been painting ever since. When I think of all the years I could have been painting that I missed it still makes me sad, and a little mad. Those cruel word hurt my soul.
—Guest kathy t. hatch

Left me laughing

Oh, you are the one who does artwork. I wish I had a talent like you do but unfortunately only have my brains to get by with. I walked away thinking that she wasn't thinking!!
—Guest sue

You're a wonderful writer...

When I was an art major, I had an art teacher rave about what a great writer I was and tell me I should major in English.
—Guest Evie

Wow someone might like that...

Yesterday I was told 'wow someone might actually like to put that on their wall'. I have been selling for two years and am in some good galleries. So just thought they must be jealous.
—Guest Messy painter


Honestly, I don't know WHY I get so much astonishment at my animal paintings. I've done a few art shows and I get the same comment from SO many people I am sick of hearing it, "Did YOU paint ALL of these YOURSELF?" The last time I was asked this I replied, "No, I've got a trained monkey at home and he does most of them."
—Guest Monika

To the Attic

" Your paintings are starting to fill up your room, we should put those in the attic."
—Guest Yemoi

No Regrets

I painted a picture entitled "Banshee Indian" of a naked girl warrior on a spirited horse. My mother (my biggest critic) looked at it and said "put clothes on her!" Against my better judgment, I returned to my easel and regretfully painted clothes over the girl's beautiful body. I sold the painting, but I have always regretted my decision to listen to someone's opinion on how my artwork, my creation, should look! After all, artwork is exactly that, a creation. It shouldn't be up for discussion just enjoyment! I feel if you don't like it don't look at it. I love ya, Mom, but I'll never paint clothes on my nudes again!
—Guest Sequoia

Good Luck to You!

I have no talent at all, but do enjoy the works of those who do. There are people that love to put others down. Johnny Carson's own mother came right out when people were falling down laughing at something Johnny had done, and she said, "well some people will laugh at anything". His own Mother. She was a real 'Mommy Dearest' as far as I'm concerned. Just paint for yourself at first, the hell with anyone else, as long as you love it, that's all that matters! Good Luck!
—Guest Sylvia M

4th Grade

Back in fourth grade the class was given the assignment to color in a butterfly. The teacher told us to be as creative and artistic as we wanted. I loved the color blue so I decided to color mine in different shade of blue and purple. When I got my picture back I got points marked down because it wasn't "colorful" enough.
—Guest Blue

Looks Good from the Toilet

A childhood friend contacted me after 40 something years. She looked at my site and supposedly fell in love with one of my better paintings. I ordered a canvas copy which was not cheap for her as a gift. A year or so later we spoke and the painting came up. She gave it to her daughter who hung it in her bathroom. She told her mom that she feels so peaceful looking at my painting when she's sitting on the toilet! Well... If you give a gift it's surely out of your hands!
—Guest L. Parris

Repeat Offender

When my Mother sees my work her comment is the same: "What a shame, such a waste of talent." She sees me as a failure because I'm not in galleries nor am I celebrated.
—Guest the cool lounge

Campfire Ashes

I don't consider any comments as valid. I built a campfire,enjoyed it and now one only sees the ashes. They can in no way connect with the true personal experience that creating art provides. My paintings are the mere residual of something far beyond the observable. Say what they may.
—Guest Timmy229

My Wife, God Bless Her

My wife encourages me to paint and often says I would like to keep that one or wow that is good, but sometimes she says things that hurt if I let them, like, after I had spent several hours on a portrait, only my second real life painting, she said yeah well it does look like him but the colours all wrong, my brother though and his wife were both thrilled with it, no comment from me needed. I will keep painting, it's the only thing that keeps me sane in this rush about over technical world. I give most of my paintings away to anyone that really likes what they are looking at, I did give one to my stepson's ladyfriend who said it would go with her wall paper, poor sad and deluded lady.
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