What to do when comments sting 🐝

Dec 13, 2023 | Blog, Julie's Weekly

“There is no such thing as “good” art. There’s only art that is good for you. Today. And the art that is good for you today, may not suit tomorrow.” Christine Porter – Mastrius Master Artist


Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.

Wait a sec, that can’t be true! Most of us have learned – the hard way – that words can hurt, and the hurt can far outlast the pain of any broken bone.

The artist journey can be hard! As artists we tend to develop tough skin with time, don’t we? We feel deeply so even well-meaning comments can sting. Like this…

“Well, that’s interesting.” 😐 I’ve stopped counting how many times I’ve heard that comment about my work. But this is my fave… “Are you high when you paint?” Lol! Fortunately, this comment came from a collector who purchased a piece of mine… but it still stung!

What I’ve learned from my mentors is that people generally don’t know what to say about artwork, but they want to ENGAGE with the artist!

They simply don’t know how OR have the vocabulary to do it well.

Our job/privilege/responsibility is to not react but help them BUILD THEIR VOCABULARY. So, when less than favorable words are thrown your way, REPHRASE them and send them back. “No, I’m not high when I paint, but I can understand how my lyrical, celebratory work makes you think of that euphoric state of mind. How does my work make you feel?”

Be the change you want to see in the world. Cliché…but true!.


As we make Mastrius the BEST community for artists, let’s make sure that we’re choosing our words well when viewing other artist’s work too. When I see a painting that doesn’t resonate with me, I try to find 2 to 3 good things to say about it anyway. It’s good practice, improves my ability to critique well, and it’s good for my heart. It makes the artist journey better for everyone.


Christine Porter (Master Artist and Mentor) has some good INSIGHTS on the topic as well as a few TIPS. Check it out HERE.


Happy painting!

~ Julie deBoer  | Artist & Founder