Are all Artists Affirmation-Seeking People-Pleasers?


When it comes to art and pleasing people, I’m a bit of a puppy dog: Receiving a compliment is like a pat on the head, a new collector buying a painting takes things up a level to a good scratch behind the ears, while being trusted to paint a commission is definite tummy-rub territory.

I know it probably sounds a bit pathetic, but I’m afraid we can’t all have the ego of Russell Crowe.

Having someone out there love what I’ve slaved over makes all the anxious moments of creating it so worthwhile. It takes what I’ve made and gives it lasting purpose beyond my own four walls. 

One such tummy-rub I received a little while ago, came in the form of a small commission for my sister and brother-in-law who wanted a painting for their youngest daughter, Daisy. Not surprisingly, it was their want to have me paint some... (wait for it) daisies. 

My Oh-So-Deliciously-Concertinaed Moleskine Sketchbook that I love.

I was really honoured and keen to give it a go, because here’s the thing: Being singled out to paint something specific for someone is a super-big compliment. It’s very affirming.

It’s also a a chance to please someone and bring some ongoing visual delight into their life – which is pretty much my definition of job satisfaction. 

(Perhaps being an affirmation-seeking people-pleaser is not a bad fit for someone striving to be a good artist after all... ) 

Of course, as I messed about creating a few digital scribbles, I remembered how commissions are also that touch scarier than just painting whatever I like on a whim. When you’re painting something particular, for someone particular, it takes on a whole new level of responsibility which we people-pleasers take very seriously.

I’ve come to see that no one makes great strides in their endeavours without also being required to take uncomfortably large steps.  As it turns out, painting delicate objects like flower petals in a quick, loose way requires some decent stride-length.

I was grateful that my sister-in-law had provided me with some photos of objects in Daisy’s room. This helped to inform my colour choice of pinks, aquas and yellows. 

The bright pink underpainting was a bit of a risk, as it showed through the paint of the petals more than I’d anticipated, but a quick working over with some bright, white highlights gave them the opacity I wanted.

And here you have it: It’s sweet and cheerful and colourful without being too overworked. And of course, when you put it into a frame, everything just pops into place. 

“Daisies for Daisy” – 6 x 6” | 15 x 15cm – Original Oil Painting on panel [COMMISSIONED]

“Daisies for Daisy” – 6 x 6” | 15 x 15cm – Original Oil Painting on panel [COMMISSIONED]

Starting young: Daisy begins her own art collection at the tender age of three.

Starting young: Daisy begins her own art collection at the tender age of three.

It was a pleasure to hand this one over to my three year-old niece and receive compliments like these:

“Weeheee! 👏🙌. You’ve made my day!  I love it Fi!!!! Brilliant job 🤩”
– Sister-in-law.

“Thanks Fi! We just love it! It’s a very special piece of art for us in many ways.”
– Brother-in-law.

– Daisy.

Aww… it was enough to get my tail wagging.

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So… You tell me: Are all artists affirmation-seeking people-pleasers? Am I alone in this? I doubt it and I hope not. These are traits that help me learn, grow, strive and serve better. Leave a comment to share the personality traits you have that make you better at what you do. And what’s the equivalent of a tummy-rub for you?


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