If you're not an artist? Well ... I'm not saying these are comments that have been posed to me 'personally' .... aaaand I'm not saying they aren't.
How long did it take you to paint that?
I wonder, do people find more value in a painting that takes longer to unfold? Speaking from personal experience, some of my favorite paintings came together in a matter of days as though they practically painted themselves. Not to mention that I price my work based on the size of the image in square inches. Honestly, I don't keep track of a painting based on time... maybe based on the amount of coffee and chocolate consumed to keep me painting until I am able to call it 'finished'. Time stands still to the artist in creative mode.
This is a great hobby you have.
Well, painting is a lot of fun, and artists certainly love spending endless hours in their studio... but the truth is we take painting very seriously. We work hard at it, devote much effort, time, and resources into it. And we strive to make money from those efforts by selling our work ... so most of us wouldn't think of painting as a 'hobby'. I personally like to garden, and bake... those would be my 'hobbies'.
Your portraits are overpriced... I can get a caricature done in down-town (name your big city) for a fraction of that price.
Uhm.... I. Have. No. Words.
I want to commission you to paint my second cousin.
Great! Artists like doing commissioned work. It's an honour to be asked - really. But please... if you say you want an artist to paint something, follow through... otherwise we'll be forever wondering what happened, and that just gets awkward after awhile.
I can't even draw a stick figure!
Stick figures are a combination of basic lines and shapes... easy peasy! If you can write your name, you can draw... its really that simple! You just need someone to teach you how to access your brains right hemisphere... pick up a copy of Betty Edwards' Drawing on the Right Side of your Brain. You will be amazed at what you can achieve! (I really believe this!)
Art is a waste of money.
Ok, I actually had someone say this to me... gulp. And although purchasing art may not be in everyone's budget, it helps to think of purchasing original art as an investment. You may not be in a position to buy multiple pieces throughout the year, but what you do invest in will not go out of style. It will not fade (like a reproduction), and as the years go by, you will see the piece in new ways, find bits and strokes in the painting that you didn't notice when you first purchased it. And remember, like Henry Ward Beecher once said "Every artist dips his brush into his own soul and paints his own nature into his pictures". It's like owning a 'little piece of the artist'.
I'm sure there's other interesting comments out there, innocently spoken to wide eyed artists. I get it though. A conversation with a creative may feel 'out of your comfort zone'. I would like to suggest if you usually use the above as communication starters with artists, maybe it's time to learn a new ice breaker, like "hey, tell me about what you do." You will be so glad you asked because we love to share the story of our process, progress, and passion.
Fellow artists, I want to hear from you - what comments have you received that caused you to do a double take?