Family, Friends, and Art School

For me at least, ever since sophomore year when I’ve been painting more abstractly, it’s become a bit more awkward to show my artwork to my friends and family. While they rejoiced with me freshman year after seeing some good (for a freshman) paintings, when I was learning how to paint objects and figures, now, when they see my more recent abstract work that a teacher or fellow painter may rave about, my family and friends might just nod their heads or say the most dreaded words in all of the art world: ‘nice!’

This can be a real blow to your confidence as an artist, and maybe even your parent’s ego, as they’re wondering what in the world happened to my kid who could actually paint THINGS and why am I helping them pay this school who is taking part in regressing my child’s ability to paint well. It’s like all I’m seeing now is just strange paintings of simplified shapes of colors or random lines that make no sense!

But let me assure you, you are not alone in this feeling. Here are some reasons why your family members or friends (who aren’t as familiar with abstract painting) may not be as impressed with your work as other painters would be.

  1. You are not a master abstract painter. You are a student. While your abstract work may seem really improved, especially to your teacher, who may see a great progress in your color choice or composition, it does not mean that your piece is objectively great or even good, just much improved.
  2. It can be hard enough to appreciate really established and talented abstract artists. Appreciating a painting student’s abstract art is even more of a challenge.
  3. Maybe your painting IS good, but especially if your family or friends have not had a lot of education in art, it’s harder for them to see that.

Whatever the reason is, keep painting. Even if the people who you love don’t necessarily understand it, there will always be plenty of others out there who do.

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