View Full Version : Please Help Me Clear Up Some Confusion

04-09-2009, 02:10 PM
I took the painting below to the local artist's assoc. meeting last night and was told it is "outside-the-box." :confused: There were too many people there last night and I didn't get a chance to ask him what he meant by that. Looking at David's and Barb's recent work for a contest of outside-the-box paintings I do not understand what would classify this portrait as being such. Your comments sure will be appreciated.



04-09-2009, 02:38 PM
The only thing I can think of is that what you submitted was not the type of work they wanted for the show. Try not to take it hard, or personal it's just not what they needed. Your work is really awesome and very powerful and distinct so you are going to run into this a bit, but don't let it discourage you in any way. When one has an unusual talent it often takes a while to find an appropriate venue. I am a retired Director and when I was younger I used to do a lot of acting and extra work in movies, tons of cast calls, often after traveling long ways, and sometimes I was not what they needed for the film/show, and that was hard to take. So I know how you feel. One wonders just exactly what they wanted and why you were not accepted, so just ask when the time is appropriate, and continue to look for other venues to display your work.

04-09-2009, 02:43 PM
Thanks for your response adventureartist - It wasn't for a show. It was just the monthly meeting, and since this one was framed and waiting to find out if I made that show, I took it to the meeting last night. It actually is entered in another a different show but I haven't heard anything from that one yet. I'm not discouraged or upset, I just want to understand.


Lisa Fiore
04-09-2009, 02:56 PM
I don't understand the comment either but think your painting (all of them, actually!!) is fantastic!! And it it were me, I would take the comment that your artwork is "outside the box" as a compliment, because who wants to produce generic, Wal-Mart type art anyway? You are very talented and maybe this person is a little jealous of your talent. :) Good luck with the show!! (and never allow yourself to be discouraged by negative people!)

04-09-2009, 03:05 PM
Thanks Elizabeth, I knew he didn't like it, which is fine. I just don't understand makes it "far out."


Tracy Lang
04-09-2009, 03:52 PM
Hi Binkie,
You know, some people think that paintings should just be "pretty". Your painting is wonderful, thought provoking and of a subject that is not typical of a portrait. I agree with adventureartist that you will probably run into this a bit.
Your work is very distinct and not mainstream. That may be what he meant.
You will find the perfect spot to showcase your talent!

04-09-2009, 03:57 PM
Usually people who don't understand something, but want to sound like they are "with it" use buzzwords or popular phrases like "out-of-the-box".

This is a portrait. Aside from being closely cropped, there is nothing unconventional about it. Perhaps, in modern times, people think portraits should be about "beautiful people", but showing real humans and real human suffering is not something new or out-of-the-box in the art world. That is my 2 cents worth!


Maggie P
04-09-2009, 06:10 PM
I think it's a wonderful painting. If it were entered in a show I was jurying, I'd certainly accept it. Out of the box is not a bad thing...it's innovative, creative, and beautifully done. I'd recommend you just ignore that comment!

04-09-2009, 06:47 PM
Outside the box is what you want to be! Your work is original, thought provoking and emotional. You don't just paint another pretty face. I believe the comment "outside the box" was meant as a total complement.

04-09-2009, 07:04 PM
The critiquer must have wanted a :) happy face.

04-09-2009, 09:45 PM
Thanks so much, everyone! I believe I will just set aside what he said, like has been suggested and keep doing what feels right for me.


04-09-2009, 09:50 PM
It maybe that his use of the term "out side the box" is directed to the fact that it is realistic showing the feelings of a human being, strugling with lifes hard ships, it is very thought provoking, powerful, strong, and what so many people around the world are feeling. Not to many artist are willing to do, they do happy people or pretty people, other than that I believe IMHO that it is very much so in side the box.

04-09-2009, 10:00 PM
Everyone has the right of it here Gwen. The crop and the subject take this where many judges like us to be... outside the box and it would win an award in the right place. :heart:

Cheers. Dianna :cat:

04-09-2009, 10:59 PM
Gwen, it's either that you didn't do a traditional pretty child or pretty young woman who's sleek and healthy, or that you cropped the way you did so that the face is the major portion of the picture. It's powerful and to me it's beautiful, there's so much strength and character in that face.

It's just not ordinary. I would take that as a compliment right off. Who would want to be told "Your stuff fits right in the box"? He might have been just a hair jealous of its originality. That face is unique. I could do a portrait of someone who'd lived through hardships and go on your same theme and still not come close to the unique power of that portrait. A dozen good portraitists could do a show on theme and yours would still stand out as spectacular.

04-09-2009, 11:14 PM
Thanks Scotty, Dianna and Robert! Probably a portion of my confusion came from the fact that he spent some time commenting on nice colors, good placement, perspective and interest etc. with the other paintings and the only comment I got was outside the box. Hubby and another member noticed it too. But I'm leaving that behind now and just continue to do what I do.

Robert - You are way too generous, but thanks!!


04-10-2009, 12:54 AM
You know I am not much of an artist although I am trying, but I do appreciate and study art a lot. I would believe that this being the only comment you got shows that the juror had a very visceral response to this piece and was unable to approach it rationally. I think that means it succeeded in evoking a strong emotion which is the effect of all great art, I believe. By the very fact that this person could decompose the other pieces into "nice colors" and "good placement" shows a reductionist and analytical way of thinking that doesn't happen on a strong piece like this because the work itself resists this kind of simplistic reductionism. Upon seeing it I have the same response; I don't think wow what colors but wow what emotion...So, I would say you have produced something truly great!

04-10-2009, 01:29 AM
Binkie, I think discrimager hit the proverbial nail here. Glad you are willing and able to put the comment aside, and move forward. Your work has a lot to say, and confronts us with reality, compassion, empathy and beauty. My hat is off to you.

04-10-2009, 02:13 AM

This person is the one you will remember from elementary school. Remember the kid that produced beautiful pages in the coloring books, they stayed right inside of the lines. Sometimes they would emphasize how great they were at coloring that they even outlined the color even harder to make their point on what a great artist they are, the parents and teachers and other kids just oohed and ahhed. They want their world ordered just as they see it, and if there is something that crosses "the line" it is just not politically correct, it's outside of the box. Your expressions of art make heavy statements that some people don't want to be reminded of. There is a lot of pain and suffering in this world, this person just want's to sweep it under the rug and pretend it doesn't exist.
Take it as a terrific compliment- it affected him/her. Keep on keeping on.


04-10-2009, 02:49 PM
Binkie several others have already stated what went through my mind as I looked at this powerful, evocative painting. Perhaps the person who gave the critique isn't as strong himself in portraiture or as has been suggested by others he was a bit overwhelmed by it not being a "pretty picture with nice colors" that's easily understood.

If I was given the opportunity to jury or judge it, I'd most certainly include it in an exhibit, and perhaps award it.

btw - what size is this painting?


Donna A
04-10-2009, 04:02 PM
I so agree with you all---and each artist has made some insightful comments! Yes, perhaps with this person, it's to be taken as a complement that he was left almost speechless---and seems to have commented more on his shortcomings than on your strengths! And sometimes we just don't get to know what someone means---often because they aren't too sure themselves! Best wishes and thank you so much for sharing the lovely painting!!! Donna ;-}

04-10-2009, 07:05 PM
Thanks! Everyone has helped me understand and look at the comment in a new light, and now back to what I do.

Peggy - it's 8x10


04-11-2009, 12:24 AM
I zoomed this to 400% so I could study it and was very pleased with what I saw. If this was hanging in a museum, it would be the kind of work that would make stop and take the time to appreciate it. There is art that is very good but does not keep my attention, and then there is ART. this is ART.

Maybe you should take this comment of "not inside the box" as the highest form of a compliment, even if it may not have been intended. As a marker of reference, look how many WC members have taken the time to give you positive feedback..... impressive!

Thanx 4 posting, this pleaseth our eyes.:clap:

04-11-2009, 09:28 AM
Binkie, great comments, I agree with them all! You listen to a different drummer, and go your own way, and you do so finding the inner beauty of all your people. A wonderful mission!


04-11-2009, 11:35 AM
I like being outside the box, and if I can add anything at all to what has been stated already, your portraits are a thought provoking, realistic, rather than idealistic look at the human condition. and I say BRAVO! Keep on listening to your heart, and not someone else's head!!!!

04-11-2009, 11:49 AM
Peggy - it's 8x10


You've packed a lot of emotion into a small package. Bravo! :clap:


Deborah Secor
04-11-2009, 01:01 PM
Mmmm, and this thread is a good reminder that art is powerful at communicating, but we each respond to it from the interior, whether we recognize it or not. Our words have weight, too, and we should watch what we say to be sure it isn't misconstrued. Thanks for asking, Gwen, and evoking all these thoughtful responses. It's one of the aspects I really love about WC...


Lynne Vokatis
04-13-2009, 12:39 AM
binkie i thinks words have a way of being misconstude(sp)all the time. this has nothing to do with portraits,but i wanted to tell you about an expierence i had afew years back. i was in my all "horse"phase about 15 years ago and a very out of the box thinker. (ill have to take a pic of the painting and post it at a latertime).i did a bid 18x24 of my friends daughter and horse at a horse show. 3/4 of the painting is the horses head and her head is down at the bottom and she like trying to brush him away. it has like a backward "c" shape to the painting with other people and horse in the upper righthanded backround. i had some other racetrack pictures as well and a reaaly big landscape/double portrait of my two horses. well,i read about this "very prominent"gallery owner who came to saratoga everyyear with a select group of painters.i gave her a call and asked if she would have a look at my work.(i think i had some very grandoise ideas back then).but i was younger and bolder then too. she had a look and gave a brief nod to the track and portrait. the one i gave a description of(and youlle see whay i did),she called "grotesque" never would you have a painting with that big head sticking out from the far left like that....ever. what were you thinking....yadaa yada yada. these three paintings took 1,2,3 in a local art show(minor scandal lol). when i told her that,(like a said i was bolder then lol),she told me to rest on my laurels and go draw the skeleton of the horse at the museum.well, i shook her hand and said it was an honor to meet her and thanked her for her time. i loaded up my paintings and cried like a baby all the way home. a couple of weeks later that ugly grotesque painting got juried into a big equine oriented show. in saratoga around the corner from the gallery. the juror said it had alot of character and an extremly interesting composition and felt like it told a story. i know the gallery woman had to have gone...i know its mean but to this day i wish i was a fly on the wall when she walked in!!!!:eek: :evil:
art is verysubjective i agree with deborah,the words we use carry alot of weight...and sometimes its easy to take affront...i do it myself. even sometimes just in normal conversation. your work is very powerfull and has ddep meaning and feeling.and not everyone is comfortable about that.but there are many many people who love to see this real and interpretive work.and i certainly love seeing it here:heart: lynne
:p i do write alot sometimes dont i lol.....

04-13-2009, 12:47 AM
Thanks again, everyone! You all are such a wonderfully supportive group.

Lynn, I'd love to see your horse.


Lynne Vokatis
04-13-2009, 01:11 AM
binkie its over at my moms, ill have to get it out and some of my other "vintage"pastels lol.ill post them sometime soon:) lynne