Watercolor: Three Lemons on Blue (and When Haters leave Comments)

Three Lemons on Blue 5×8 Watercolor

Haters and Trolls in the Comments

This summer, the haters are out in swarms. Among my community of artisans with an online presence , this is a frequent topic. Haters skulk behind the bluish light of their computer screens, and crouch under the cloak of anonymity, while launching criticism, sarcasm, and insults in the comments of social media sites. Some of the javelins are tossed by “Helpers”.  They include a caveat “I hope this helps”; a short little primer before an avalanche diagramming your mistakes with carefully crafted “you-don’t-know-what-you’re-doing” pointers. Long-winded, jagged-edged word-smithing, punctuated with LOL’s, as though a punch in the gut would be more tolerable if the hitter smiles and laughs while swinging.

Have Courage, Artists

Posting the results of creative endeavors – as a writer, a painter, a musician, a crafter or a chef, etc – takes some courage. Silent supporters and vocal critics are all gazing through the same pipes at creations generated by the ambitious hands of makers sweating with the hope of some sort of achievement.  And communication on the internet is not a conversation on the couch. We don’t have the benefit of acquaintanceship, carriage & gesture, vocal inflection & tone, etc. Thumper’s Law dates back to at least the 1940’s: If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. That’s some seventy-year old wisdom.

Steer your Ship

I don’t think it’s a good idea to reply & argue with haters.  They would thrive on the attention they’re craving. My grandfather used to say “Acid will eat it’s own container.” Don’t internalize that which does not nourish you, and keep your creative/making spirit well-fed & sprightly. So, I don’t publish sarcastic comments – I delete the barbs & starve them of oxygen. Direct the urge to Take Action to better results. Because there’s a glorious amount of creating to do. Throw back the curtains, put on some music, and grab a paint brush.

How do you handle insults and hateful comments?  Leave us some ideas in the comments.

Thanks for stopping by and I’ll see you in the next post!


Art Quote

It is not the critic who counts, nor the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; Who, at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who, at the worst, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.
President Theodore Roosevelt in a Speech at the Sorbonne, April 1910

18 thoughts on “Watercolor: Three Lemons on Blue (and When Haters leave Comments)”

  1. You are so talented! I especially love the kitty paintings! Beautiful!

    You know what? I find that 1000 people could tell you they love your art, and it takes 1 person to make an awful remark and thats what we focus on! I was doing a demo on Periscope and someone told me “dont quit your day job”! And yet loads of ppl have good comments. Ignore it and delete them because there are loads of fans that love your work 🙂

    1. Cindy, Thanks so much for this great note. I really appreciate your encouragement, and you used MATH to do it! Keep making your work on Periscope, and share your love of art to inspire others to take time for theirs. Bravo to you! 🙂

  2. Hi Belinda, I’m just catching up with my favorite blogs, which of course includes yours, and I must say, I was so surprised to learn that you have had hateful commenters. What??? I have been painting watercolors for over 40 years, and studying other watercolorists for about that same time, and I can’t imagine anyone looking at your work and not being in awe or your skill. Your work knocks me out all the time. You are a watercolorist’s watercolorist, in my opinion. I believe in associating with only those people who light the way. You’re one of those people. Delete the rotten apples. If they keep coming back, moderate your comments for awhile until they find something else to complain about.

  3. @Andrew – thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment. I agree with you wholeheartedly on the benefit of constructive criticism – even when it stings, but this particular hater is offering none of that. The delivery is punctuated with insults and profanity, so the message harbors no encouragement for artistic improvement.

  4. I think the negative comments should hurt only if they’re right……I think too many people leave relatively empty, but well-meaning positive comments. There are tons of “Great, beautiful, wonderful, fantastic” but if you’re pushing limits artistically you should have a pretty high percentage of stuff that isn’t “great”….if you also show these to the public on a public forum, it is an invitation inviting comments and criticism. Hopefully, if something isn’t working or right, there’s someone who’ll say so. I’m a printmaker and don’t usually get called out when the things aren’t working….although I like to point them out when I post images of them. I come back pretty often to see what you’re doing and posting…

  5. This is another of your beautiful watercolors. I can’t imagine anyone saying negative things about your artwork. I’m glad you ignore them and don’t post them. Most likely, they are jealous of your abilities and have to try to tear you down to build up their egos.
    Keep on posting this beautiful eye candy Belinda!

  6. Hi Belinda,

    So sorry this happened to you. And I agree some of the worst of it can come in the guise of “help.” Your work is beautiful.

    Turn towards the light, as you put it so beautifully. The people who love your work are out here in droves too, and we are fiercely and passionately in support of all you do.


  7. Belinda,

    Here’s how I handle such stuff—I don’t take it personally. I can’t read the hearts of such folks . . maybe they’re serious, maybe not. If not, if they’re just haters of some sort, that’s their problem, not mine. But whatever, they are not criticizing me, they’re criticizing my ideas as I present them in my painting/music/writing/etc., and I am not my ideas. Listen to their critiques objectively, not personally . . maybe they have some good points. Take the good, leave the bad, and move on.

    Personally, I’d rather hear something bad than nothing at all.


  8. You have such a way with words, great post, love all your thoughts on this subject. Got my first gnarly comment on my blog a couple of months ago. It threw me off the whole day, because I let it! From then on, I don’t give anyone the time of day that gets pleasure from bringing others down. DELETE!!!

  9. So sad that this is becoming commonplace. Your grandfather’s quote is very wise, but the one that spoke to me is “don’t internalize what doesn’t nourish you”. Very wise words.
    Belinda, I always look & admire your posts, but rarely comment. Your painting is just luminous.

  10. Hi Belinda!
    I think the artwork you posted today is GORGEOUS!!!! ALL of your artwork ALWAYS elicits a gasp and a “WOW, This is AMAZING” from me!
    You are a great artist!! And I love seeing your new posts!

  11. @william – its true about avoiding comments – in anything from a news story to a podcast – you can expect the angry ones will have left something behind. It’s too bad, because there is usually some great (& enlightening) dialogue in comments as well, but I guess we can’t avoid the garbage.

  12. The haters are epidemic in this age of digital omniscience and large-scale ignorance. Agree that they hide behind their screens and make judgments with impunity. I rarely read comments after an article because of the unkind remarks many post.

  13. @matt – I’m with you on ignoring those folks. There must be something better to do with their time than lob insults. There’s certainly better things to do with our time than reply.

  14. I deal with haters pretty much the same way, ignore and delete. If their opinion had any value, they wouldn’t be wasting time trying to tear others down.

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