Alaskan Artist - Elise Tomlinson
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02/23/2005: "Has my blog turned me into an insecure whore for comments?"

I felt confident about the painting I posted last night but then I kept checking back during the day to see if anyone had commented on it and no one had (which isn't unusual by the way) but it made me start to worry that the piece sucked...and the more time went by without a single email or post about it, the more convinced I became that the piece was total rubbish and that people had seen it but not said anything out of embarrassment for me.

The piece didn't change but my perception of it sure did...and based solely on the fact that I posted it here and no one said anything. How pathetic is that? I never used to take much stock in having my work accepted and it made me wonder if this blog is having a positive or negative affect on my creative process. I wonder if other artists (writers, musicians etc.) with blogs confront similar bouts of insecurity when they post new work and hear only the crickets.

Don't get me wrong, I *love* being able to get feedback etc. but I can't help feeling it's become a crutch...using it as a way to seek validation. That should be coming from within... no? At least when you exhibit work in a gallery, youíre presenting finished pieces. Itís too late at that point for the perceived approval or disapproval from others to have an influence on the work.

Replies: 4 Comments

on Wednesday, February 23rd, Howard said

I usually won't comment on work in progress unless asked. It's mostly from my own experinces with well meaning people offfering suggestions on what I should be doing and throwing me off track in doing so.
I imagine it must be the same as having I real life person in your studio with nothing to say about new work. It's too distracting.
If I do show unfished work it is usually after the fact and only to show how my work progresses.
My own work is a bit different in that I have two points of completion. Once when I finish the sculpture and once when it's painted. Those are the only two stages I'll post to my site.
I like seeing work in progress, but I think most people who are not artist themselves don't know how to look at unfinished work. They tend to judge to work the same as they would a finished piece.
When you asked about the arm in the painting of the girl with the saw you were asking a specific question. Does it work or not?, and that's easy enough to answer.
Your new work looks like it's off to a good start, but there really isn't much more to say about it yet.
I think you have a very strong body of work and I'm enjoying watching where your new work is going.

on Wednesday, February 23rd, holly said

I have nothing to offer the blogosphere in the form of product- I'm not an artist, not a writer or a musician- but once in a while I do put on a decent linkfest or post an entry that makes me proud to have written that results in nothing but crickets (I love that analogy and I'm stealing it, thank you). Of course, at that point, I feel less than clever. Then, I check my stats and see that all the regulars have stopped by, but no one left a comment! How dare they! But you know, I do the same thing- stop by, have a quick read and move on. Already I've spent five minutes reading your post here and forming this response. We're so conditioned to believing the internets to be an instant fix (and it is, to a degree) that sometimes those interactive parts like leaving comments or actually *reading* some of those long blog entries are too much of a time drain. Seriously- if Ive got 10 spare minutes for webbing around, I want something quick and easy. I visit your site all the time without commenting each time- it's not that I'm not reading or digging your work, I'm just in a hurry and commenting (intelligently) requires thought and time. And I know I'm not alone in this. People are busy, certain times of the year it seems that they are busier than others. I'm experiencing the same phenomenon right now- people stopping by, not a lot of comments. It'll pick up again, it always does.

Also, I agree with Howard- when you ask a specific question it's easier to comment and give you feedback. And, I believe, you had a specific question about the violin girl (which is my favorite of your musical series). But just throwing a piece out there without a primer for feedback is asking for crickets. We're not you- can't see where you're going to take the piece, don't have this vision of a finished piece in our minds like you do. I can honestly say (and lamely so, so take no offense, please) that the harmonica girl is my least favorite of the three musical instrument pieces you've posted here lately, but I can't tell you why. See? Wasn't that unhelpful? It's not that I don't like it, I just don't like it as well as the other two (nothing to do with displaced kitties, either).

More importantly, what do you think of it?

on Wednesday, February 23rd, holly said

Of course, now I go back and see the three pieces you posted on the 13th (how did I miss those?!?). Violin Girl in the tall grass is still my favorite, though...

on Wednesday, February 23rd, Elise said

I had a crazy busy day today, I stayed home to work on finishing the CDs for the distance class I teach and then I had to do a logo for the Alaska Library Association using FreeHand, which I've never done I didn't have much time (ironically) for stopping by here, but thanks for all your suggestions.

I think that I will only post work from here on out that I either need *specific* feedback on (like the arm fiasco) or after they're pretty much finished.

And just so you know, I realize how rediculous I must have sounded! Ack!

Oh, and as for displaced kitties, I visited that Harmony House you linked to in your sidebar Holly and it looked so nice. We have a similar shelter here, where all the cats hang out together in big play rooms. It made me want to donate or volunteer.