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One of my kids, probably encouraged by his siblings, once gave me a magnet, which proudly states: “Everybody is entitled to my Opinion”. Needless to say that my Opinion on the matter under hand was given on the spot, from which both object and objector have since recovered nicely. All this to say that when it comes to art, everybody is, of course, entitled to their Opinion. But when you’re a budding artist, self-conscious and unsure, everybody’s Opinion can become the source of doubts and nightmares and doubts again. I started painting late in life and found the courage to show my work to professionals even later. That proved to be both an exhilarating and tormenting experience. My teacher and mentor, Georges Faget-Bénard, often says “il ne passe personne dans ton placard”, which sounds sexy but really translates into “nobody gets to see the inside of your closet”. Or in other words, get out there and show your work, girl! So go out did I and, oh boy, did I get Opinions! Galleries I shyly approached with my portfolio politely informed me that they were swamped with requests, that we were too big a number of wannabe artists to actually fit into their schedule, that the latter was only available to “recognizable” artists, that the realistic style of painting has passed to never return, that only “displays” (you know, a pair of army boots without laces in the middle of a huge, empty room?) could be considered Art, that I should learn to paint, that the market was flooded…. From those Opinions I have managed to recover. As, I am sure, most budding artists have and will. I do approach a gallery from time to time and, even more seldom, enter a competition. And, although refusals are never fun to receive, they make the rare favorable Opinions so much more delightful and encouraging. So, if you’re an artist and still in the closet, open the door and push your work out there. That is My Opinion.

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