Don’t let the Critics get to you: Act now!

oil paintings by Eoin Ma Lochlainn
Two pieces from the “What I’ve Seen” series

A long time ago, a critic who shall remain nameless wrote about my work. It wasn’t that he gave out stink about it but… well let’s say: my poor old mother wasn’t pleased. I was young, or should I say, “younger” at the time but it had a bad effect on me – It took the wind out of my sails. Even though that same critic has written positive stuff about me since, a bad review lingers on and it can really influence your ability to work.

The one thing to do if you get a snotty review is immediately to do something creative. That’s the advice of Julia Cameron who wrote the book “The Artist’s Way”. That’s good advice I think, it’s very easy to feel disheartened in this business but you know, once you’re in the middle of a creative project, you forget everything else. So, the big question is: how to get going again? How to get into it? And the answer: Act now!

Hmmmm. What to do. A friend of mine, an artist, had an interesting piece on his blog the other day about what he does to tackle a creative block. Basically, he pours diluted paint onto a large sheet of paper and ‘swills’ it around to produce interesting shapes and effects. He then cuts the sheet into small squares and tries to find possible images that might act as starting points for larger paintings. Allowing images to emerge of their own volition, I suppose you’d say. See: Lovely work, well worth a visit.

No, I suppose most of you are not going to start pouring paint around but then, most of you didn’t get a bad review either. But I just thought I’d tell you what I do to counteract creative blocks. I work in series, that’s it. I decide that I’m going to do a hundred of these, or fifty of those, etc. Some will be successful, some won’t, but I’ll keep going and hopefully by the time I get to a hundred, I’ll have produced something worthwhile.

The paintings above are from an ongoing series, entitled: “What I’ve Seen”. They’re still wet, I was working on them this week. The one below is the first of that series, I started that one in 2008. Not sure how many I’ve done so far.

oil painting by Eoin Mac Lochlainn
What I’ve seen, no.1

More about them on my website at:

For more on “The Artist’s Way”:

PS: Your comments are always welcome – I’d love to hear from you, thanks, eoin



  1. Great to see this powerful series growing and developing. Working in series to get through the creative block sounds like a good strategy. I agree the most important thing is to “Act”.
    Thanks for the mention Eoin


  2. I know what you mean about a bad review, another way to look at it is, your work caused some thought and reaction, your work was noticed, that is a good thing


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