Suffering Art Criticism

Having anyone rip my art across one side and up the other feels terrible while it is happening.
I learned something valuable from the last time, so I share the story hoping it can help every artist, since every artist is vulnerable to criticism of their art.
After painting two themed watercolors and having them framed as a pair, I approached a store owner where I thought my paintings would compliment the ambiance there. The owner took them on consignment. When I visited the store to see where my paintings were hung, the owner asked me if I would like to sell my jewelry there, as well. I agreed.
Store owners have to know how long it takes to ready art and jewelry for display, cleaning, tagging, displaying, creating inventories. Store owners need to do these same things to sell their goods.
Fifty-four hours and dedicated days later, on the last day when we were to create the displays, the owner tells me they decided not to carry my line of jewelry or any of the paintings, except one, which he said was my best painting. Artists know how to translate best painting comments. You’ve stuck out with everything you’ve ever painted, except for this one that gets you to first base.”
Then, to grind buckets of sand into my skin, theowner decided to not only rip apart my other paintings, but also tell me he asked others who also severely criticized my art, elaborating in detail what each said. Of course, not one name passed his lips.
I asked a few business-type questions to get the greatest understanding possible about what was happening here. I, of course, just listened to his harrangue before I went home and got my SUV and took all of my creative work out of his store.
Why did I listen to this obvious abuse? Frankly, I was stunned, couldn’t believe what I was hearing, shocked, just shocked, unable to do anything while more and more sand kept smarting against my skin. Finally, I told the owner, I had heard enough and was finished listening.
After I unpacked and put my home and studio back in order, I looked around.
I love what I see in my home and gallery. My paintings bring me tremendous joy in their creation, execution and display.
So, what did I learn? Everyone will not love my paintings. The way I do my contract for paintings on consignment allowed this to happen. So, now, the contract get signed before I do any of the work. I am willing to do the work for an agreed upon certain period of time in a certain non-gallery venue. If the store owner decides to take my work out before that time, the store owner pays a reasonable amount for my time. Is it likely a store owner will agree to this? Store owners who are good business people and have honed solid relationships with those they do business with will, I believe.
All experience is good. This learning will last me the rest of my life.

Barbara Garro, MA, NY’s Painter of Flowers
Abstract Synchronism Artist and Author
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