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POSITIVE THINKING #4. Enhancing the good


There are many techniques in calming a challenging child. There is the “Carrot and Stick” method. If the child is good, they get a prize. If they are bad, they get punished. I personally am not too fond of this technique as it enforces bribing. There is the “Holding” technique, which is good up till the point when the child just might be stronger than the parent “holding”. There is the “Negotiating” technique, that I find exhausting and at worst, it may have the same consequences as the “Carrot and Stick” technique. The best option that I came across both as parent and as teacher (Yes, I was a teacher…) is actually something long term. Instead of putting out fires all the time, come up with a long hull strategy and stick to it. Turns out, that that is same advice I just received recently regarding both my artwork and my sales.

“Praise You” – Colored Pencil and Ink Sketch (for a canvas) on Canson Paper1 20gm @Barbara Adler 2020

(Based on a childhood dream)

“Me and the Admor” – Acrylic on Canvas,80/1000 @Barbara Adler 2020

(A memory from childhood)

One of the problems I encountered going to art school and hasn’t changed at all since then (I know through the “grapevine”. Much younger artists are still making that same complaint.) is the mid-term and end of year crits and assessments. The amount of negative energy, frustration, anger, disappointment and tears that the young aspiring artist puts into these crits and assessments are amazing, procrastinating, unproductive and damn right harmful. What can be changed or done to teach and pass positive criticism? As it is a necessity, otherwise, we can’t move forward and improve. As in any stage in education, it must be a long-term strategy just as with the challenging child above.

“Vortex” – Ink on Paper 250gm, A-5 @Barbara Adler 2019

We must ENHANCE the good. We must not stress the faults. They are there and believe me, the artist or child are very aware of their faults. It causes low self-esteem, messes up creativity and experiment and is very counterproductive. If we, as the responsible adult, emphasize even a small but significant positive theme, a change will occur. Over a relatively short time, this positive feedback will radiate. The child or artist will begin to apply their success to overall problem-solving.

No need to get personal and emotional in a bad way. Like I said, it’s counterproductive. I am totally in favor of tears of joy and very personal encouragement. We must celebrate our successes no matter how small. We must enhance the good in our lives and those around us. Through positive enhancement, we will make a more creative tolerant society and fantastic art!

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