I had some short stories, poems and photographs to share ... and so here I am

Don't Take This The Wrong Way, But ...

 

Photobucket


We writers just want to be loved, don't we? We just want people to read our stuff and go WOW! Give that writer a book contract! Sadly, it can never be like that. Receiving criticism is something we will always have to deal with. Even the masters get criticised - no matter how high up the tree they are - and there's never an easy way to deal with it. I try to remind myself that criticism is healthy and good, and it can be turned around to our advantage. It doesn't have to be the big bad monster under the bed. Anyway, what's worse: getting criticised, or not getting noticed?

A little while ago I received a long email from someone who reads this blog. I was surprised to see that it was a long, detailed critique of a short story I'd written. Now, I could've reacted badly. I know some people who would've reacted badly in my shoes. I could've cried over the fact that my work had been laid out under a harsh light and dissected. I could've questioned the motives of this man, who'd never before been in touch with me. I didn't though. I saw this as a huge act of generosity and kindness. Someone who teaches English and writing (from what I gather) had sat down and actually analysed the words I put together. He had actually taken the time - and we all know how precious our time is nowadays - to offer suggestions on how the story could be improved. All this for me, without even being paid! (I hope he's not waiting for a cheque!)

I think what made this email easier to embrace was the fact that this man, whose own writing I like, made it clear where he was coming from right up front. He said he liked my story but thought there were ways to improve it. Every point he rose was backed up with a reason, and I think that's what good criticism is. Criticism that comes with a clear reason is like receiving a pot of gold. It was great to be able to go back through my story and decide whether or not I agreed with his points. As it turned out, I did agree with many of the things he brought up because the reasons were so compelling, but others I chose not to take up. I also had my own reasons for doing certain things. When I emailed to say thank you for the critique, and that I'd been very happy to receive it, the man replied by saying he was glad I hadn't taken his initiative the wrong way. (The story I'm referring to, by the way, is Little Pixie, which has recently been reprinted by Jessica Schneider on the Monsters and Critics site, in the original fiction section).

It's easier said than done, but I don't think writers have anything to be worried about when someone reacts to a piece of work with criticism - as long as it's constructive and the motive is improvement. The process forces us to ask why we have done certain things. Often the criticism will simply highlight something we ourselves had already put a question mark over. Sometimes it will show up a need to be clearer. Also, it's good to remember that the criticism is not about us, it's simply about something we produced - just one of the many things we might go on to produce. There's no need to take this criticism personally. I know, it's easier said than done!

I believe external criticism also boosts our own ability for internal criticism. We take more care about what we're writing, why we're writing it and how we're writing it. We become more confident about our own reasons and motivations. If someone questions something later, we might be able to tell them exactly why it was done like that. We can thank them for their criticism but be confident in our reasons for not taking up their advice. (It's also important to think about where the criticism is coming from: if the person criticising your poem admits that they actually hate reading poetry and books, you might want to get a few opinions before pushing the delete key).

I remember in journalism school being shouted at by a tutor over a story and photograph I wanted to submit to a newspaper. She told me the photo was wrong because the "subject" wasn't in the centre of the photo. I told her the empty space in the middle had been deliberate to show the void between a dying patient and a hospital worker struggling to get around to all of those in need of attention. My tutor talked me into submitting the story without the photo, but we included a note to say that the paper's own photographer might like to go to the hospital to get a shot. The feature was accepted and I was pleased to see it printed the following week with a photo similar to what I'd proposed: there was a mighty gap in the middle between the patient and the hospital worker. I have learnt that when we do something with a good reason in mind, we are able to confidently deal with any criticism.

Of course, there are times when we get ourselves into a pickle. We can no longer tell if we agree with the criticism or not. We lose a grip on why we did something in the first place. We feel unable to decide whether someone's criticism is valid or not. We go ahead and change things just because someone said so, without deciding whether we agree or not. We spend hours agonising over whether something is good or bad. In these situations, I think it's better to stand back. Put the criticism aside. Go back to it when everything's not swimming around. It's important to sort out in our own mind what we were trying to do, what we were trying to get across. Later, when we look at the criticism again, hopefully we'll be able to see things more clearly. Getting several opinions is also good; not from loved ones, who might just want to tell us what we want to hear, but people who are not afraid to be honest, whose work we like, whose opinions we respect.

I really would like to think that if someone felt uncomfortable about leaving a critical comment at the end of my short stories or poems, then hopefully they would consider sending me an email. I would welcome it. If the reasons make sense and I agree with them, I would be happy to edit the work. We can always improve. We can always be helped along by others. Let's just say here and now that all poetry and fiction on this blog are works in progress!

157 comments:

witnessing am i said...

You are a gifted writer, Mr Shameless. One must be open, as a writer, to the experiences and sensations in which to write but also in the reactions and criticism that follow.

The blog world is relatively safe -- people are kind and sensitive to saying postitive things but criticism like you described above is absolutely needed. Your words struck home with me. Thank you for that.

Shameless said...

Witnessing Am I - Thank you! Yes, a good, thorough analysis can work wonders. I suppose this is what editing services provide, but nice when it's offered for free! :-)

aims said...

what's worse: getting criticised, or not getting noticed?


Now there's a good question! I like how you nicely put that the quality of our reactions count as well.

Writer beware!

Sarah Hina said...

Beautifully said, Seamus. This is a lesson that takes a long time to learn. In the beginning (and when we most need it), criticism can seem like a crippling blow to our puny confidence. And later, it is too easy to shrug off. We know what we're doing, after all. ;) Of course, both reactions are protective of the ego, but stifling to growth.

Anyway, I echo your call for constructive criticism! :)

Julie at Virtual Voyage said...

Doesn't it help to remember that all critics are fallible and subject to the ills that plague everyone else - like depression or a bad day at the office that can colour judgement?

Also wonder, thinking about this post and the last one, whether some of the tensions in lit crit are down to too rapid changes in world views today - the old school can't always keep up?

Art Durkee said...

It is helpful to remember that even the very best critiquers can be wrong. I wrestle with this. I've had a recent poem or two that have developed camps for and against—actually, I get that a lot, but what's amusing is how the camps flip in their opinions based on the piece itself. So it's become clear to me that, at least for what I'm writing right now, the comments both pro and con have really nothing to do with me or my writing, and everything to do with what people think my writing should be. If ever there was a demonstration of the arbitrariness of taste—even among those who would claim objectivity in their critique, and who occasionally achieve something close to the that claim—it has been this. You can get to a point where those critics you normally trust are no longer giving you useful critique, in which case you are left on your own devices. But that's okay: you have to trust your inner compass, anyway, even if it occasionally can be wrong. We can all be wrong. The point is: people who won't admit that, have got a problem.

Art Durkee said...

About your photo: your tutor was wrong. The idea that the subject must always be in the middle of the photo is grade-school photojournalism. Your idea was capturing the relationship in the scene, and the photo told a story. That's what good photos do. The difference between a postcard snapshot with the subject perfectly framed in the middle of the image, and a great photo by a great photographer, who might put the subject of the photo down in the corner is obvious. The fact is, a boring centered composition in a photo kills all the energy, and makes for a bad photo, period. Photography is not just about depicting journalistic images: it is also about capturing movement, form, and what Cartier-Bresson called "the decisive moment." I don't know for sure, obviously, but it strikes me that your tutor in this story knew NOTHING about good photography. (Great photojournalism always tells a story; it is never just a static snapshot or postcard. Geez.)

Sorry. This sort of thing really bugs me. It's why there's so much bad photography in journalism.. A pet peeve of mine, I guess.

ChristineEldin said...

That's an amazing story! And although it is hard to accept criticism, it makes a world of difference how it's presented.
Sounds like you were given a gift. Someone who believes in your work enough to take the time to help you with it.

Great post.

Shameless said...

Aims - Yes, it's like "bad publicity is still publicity!" lol

Sarah - Thanks. I always wonder why there's not a module in school on criticism ... it is such a BIGGIE for many people, young and old. I had some good early lessons, but that was completely by chance. :-)

Julie - Yes, there's a lot of truth in what you say there. We shouldn't just change something because it's been criticised. We have to process it and see if it
fits in with our overall aim/message.

Art - You're right. Nothing can replace the internal compass you talk about. That's why I always like to mull over criticism for a while before deciding whether I want to take it on. I need to know that the person got my "drift" and understood exactly where I was coming from. Also, criticism on the technical, precise aspects of writing is one thing; criticism on the feel, the style, the voice, is another. That's the MILLION dollar piece of criticism. :-)

Re the photo ... yes, I held my ground and it was nice to be "vindicated" in the end. The tutor never said anything to me about the final piece that was published ... she probably just thought the newspaper photographer also "got it wrong". You're right about the "decisive moment", which can be so elusive, but can be a real THRILL if captured. Composition for me depends on what is going on ... and I decide just before the click. :-)

Christine - Thanks. Yes, that old line is so true: it's not what you say but how you say it!

Absolute Vanilla (& Atyllah) said...

There is nothing quite like constructive criticism - without it, how would we ever grow. I'm part of a critique group and we share work with one another, the idea is to look for the things that don't work so that the stories can be improved. We tend to preface what we say, this is just my opinion, accept or reject the observations as you see fit. What I've found is that not only is the process of having my work critiqued intensely valuable, but the process of critiquing the work of others is equally valuable, because in seeing problems in others' writing, one becomes that much more aware of the problems on one's own writing.

I think it's also important that in offering criticism that one also offers encouragement for those aspects of the writing that really soars.

I guess if we're going to put our work out there we have to accept that we'll never please all the people all the time, that everyone has opinions and they are just that , opinions and it helps to have a thickish sort of skin :-)

Billy said...

Seamus, over the years I have come to the following conclusion: only a fool doesn't listen to criticism, but I think in the long run, a writer has to go with his own instinct about he (or she) feels about a piece.

An awful lot of writers reject deals offered to their agents because the acquiring editor just doesn't "get" what the author has intended. Along the same lines, two agents want to represent a book. One wants radical rewrites and the other thinks it only needs some minor revision.

And then there are the stories--legion--of the books rejected by a dozen houses only to become best sellers because the author trusted his gut instinct.

Criticism, yes. In the long run, if someone has been around the block a few times, however, I say keep a grain of salt handy.

Lane said...

Positive critcism is invaluable. It prompts us to re-evaluate, hone and then ultimately use our own judgement.

I would never crit someone's work in a comment box, unless the 'blogger' had specifically asked for it. I like that he emailed you his thoughts. Courteous and very generous:-)

Jessica Schneider said...

I'd love to see this "criticism" this guy left you--I thought that was one of your best stories. I'd be reluctant to rely on any "professor" for critique, but someone who knows what he or she is talking about--i.e. if that "critic" is a good writer themselves. (Just 'cause one can teach doesn't mean one can do).

Bad writers rely too much on "feelings" and justify their cliches. You know when a writer is justifying a bad poem or prose piece by defending the cliches that the critic has won.

Yet, if Picasso is giving you painting tips, you listen. Not many are as mature to listen, however.

Shameless said...

Absolute Vanilla - Yes, reading groups can be great for that. I used to belong to one when I lived in the UK and it was invaluable, especially as there were some very good writers in the group. I think there was only one fight between two of the members - over a split infinitive, if I remember correctly. lol. I don't think the man should've said: "Stop splitting your f****** infinitives, you moron!"

Billy - So true! :-) That's why that digestion period is so crucial. It's difficult to have that confidence before you're published, but I think afterwards -as you say - we would be more inclined to hold our own.

Lane - Yes, it was very nice for him to have sent the critique by email ... that kind of showed me there was no grandstanding or other motive. It was simply for me. :-)

Jessica - Yes, we do need to be careful about where the criticism comes from. Criticism on classical music from a jazz buff? I do admit though that I like criticism that comes unsolicited. There's nothing worse than having to ask someone for their thoughts ... they're almost put into a position of having to supply some criticism, to find something wrong, even when everything hits the right notes.
:-)

Eric Valentine said...

I could be green with envy, to have even written an article/book that would warrant that kind of attention, I have yet to approach that level. I am however in agreement with Billy & going with the gut feeling.

Of course I learn everytime I visit your site Seamus and for me that's what it's all about. I thank you for the ongoing lessons my friend. :)

Jessica Schneider said...

Definitely be careful where the crit is coming from. If it's someone who reads romance novels and Hallmark Card poetry for example, that's probably not a good source. And also those who want short, snippet sentences--Wilde said that criticism is the highest form of autobiography and he's right. One who wants Dick and Jane level writing for example, has probably never read Thomas Wolfe, and probably never would.

Shameless said...

Eric - I hope I haven't taught you the Irish word shite ... now that would be worrying! :-)

Jessica - Hallmark Cards! Yes! lol

Marja said...

I think criticism is good if you can learn from it. If you like a story or not is however also subjective I think. I've have put so called master pieces aside because it didn't appeal to me. I do however love your masterpieces and have to make some time to read some more one day. I actually never thought about why I like a story so I will next time and give you some critic.

Marja said...

Oh and eh I do sometimes read Hallmark poetry Oops. But than again my dollar is just as welcome in the bookshops.

leslie said...

The words "whose work we like, whose opinions we respect." are the words that resonate.
I am often asked to critique the artwork of aspiring artists, and I find it the most difficult thing to do. I shy away from it, if asked.

wolfbaby said...

A friend of mine who had been reading a story of mine for years once sent me a 20pg letter with a lot of her thoughts and comments. She was terrified i'd be upset. I was thrilled that she had taken the time to actually read my work and to write a letter with comments for improvement. I think when someone does that it's really a compliment. I mean when they take the time to really read and comment. Not just say you suck or something of that nature.

Jessica Schneider said...

A bad critic is one who cannot be objective and places too much of their subjective bias into it. I was just reading a silly review from a Washington Post reviewer who criticized a book for being "too long" and also "needing to be read twice in order to get it" and then he coupled that with the fact that we live in a very short attention span culture, as if that should come into play when one is creating art. Perhaps the book was overwritten--it's not like he gave examples to show how, but simply the reasons he gave made me doubtful of his "criticisms". Again, obviously he couldn't have handled most literary classics. Part of the problem is critics/readers placing too much emphasis on "like" rather than objective analysis. Criticism needs to be emotion free for it to work.

Shameless said...

Marja - You are too kind! Yes, the whole objective, subjective thing comes into play a lot of the time. We need to switch off lots of things when we look at someone else's work with a critical eye. :-)

Leslie - Yes, I never like to give feedback to people I am emotionally connected to if I can help it. That professional distance is what makes things easier. :-)

Wolfbaby - Wow! 20 pages! Now that is what I call commitment! :-) Yes, that kind of gesture is incredibly generous.

Jessica - Oh, the whole attention span thing. I know teachers now who say they can't introduce long books to their classes because they would never get them finished and they couldn't stand the groans and resistance ... which means nothing over 150 pages! This is a sickness everywhere. We are not encouraged to stay with one thing for very long ... wham bam and thank you. I always love it when people here take the time to read my stories or longish posts. I know some bloggers who don't let their posts get beyond 15 lines for fear of turning people off. :-)

Shameless said...

Jessica - Oh, silly old me forgot to mention that the critique came through from a reader to my blog, way before I sent it on to you for the Monsters and Critics site. So the piece you published already has the small changes added ... but I don't think they were major enough to really notice. :-)

katcampbell said...

You're so right Seamus, an honest critique in the spirit of creative improvement is invaluable. With our characters back story so firmly in our heads, its impossible to see the holes that readers fall through.

Debi said...

Bloody blogger ate my comment.

Right - it went something like this: from experiences as both editor and edited, criticism can be divided as follows - things you absolutely agree make your creation better (and that you may wonder why you didn't think of yourself), things you 100% reject (though having to think about them and justify them is not a bad thing in itself)and the things you'd like to discuss further.

There will always be positive things an editor can say along with the (always constructive) criticism - which you have to be able to justify.

You must never lose the awareness that you hold someone's creation in your hands and they will have poured their sweat, blood and tears into it.

This is why my reports are supposed to be 3000 min words but mine are usually double that!

Shameless said...

Kat - Yes, thorough reviews can really pick up the silliest of things like a sudden shift from winter to summer, with plums plucked from trees, for example. It's amazing what can catch us out. :-)

Debi - Yep, good to work out exactly what is being said and whether it would actually be an improvement. Can OK be Okay, for example, and does it matter? Writers sound like they are lucky to have you as their readers! Double the word count! :-)

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We writers just want to be loved, don't we? We just want people to read our stuff and go WOW! Give that writer a book contract! Sadly, it can never be like that. Receiving criticism is something we will always have to deal with. Even the masters get criticised - no matter how high up the tree they are - and there's never an easy way to deal with it. I try to remind myself that criticism is healthy and good, and it can be turned around to our advantage. It doesn't have to be the big bad monster under the bed. Anyway, what's worse: getting criticised, or not getting noticed?
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Assassin's Creed II is the first game to be linked to Ubisoft's Uplay feature. Progression through the game allows Uplay members to acquire points that can be redeemed for bonuses for use in the game, including a new crypt to explore and an Altaïr costume. A novel based on the game, Assassin's Creed: Renaissance (by Oliver Bowden), was published by Penguin Books in November 2009
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The McDonnell XF-85 Goblin was an American prototype fighter aircraft conceived during World War II by McDonnell Aircraft
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The roots of the AAF arose in the formulation of theories of strategic bombing at the Air Corps Tactical School that gave new impetus to arguments for an independent air force.
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The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined.
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During the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941, Arizona was bombed. She exploded and sank, killing 1,177 officers and crewmen. The United States declared war on Japan the next day.
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The Xá Lợi Pagoda raids were a series of synchronized attacks on Buddhist pagodas in the major cities of South Vietnam on August 21, 1963.
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Acer saccharum (Sugar Maple) is a species of maple native to the hardwood forests of northeastern North America
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There is also a tendency, as there is also with Red Maples, for certain parts of a mature tree to change color weeks ahead of or behind the remainder of the tree.
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In contrast with the angular notching of the Silver Maple, however, the notches tend to be rounded at their interior. The fall color is often spectacular, ranging from bright yellow through orange to fluorescent red-orange.
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Deep well-drained loam is the best rooting medium, although Sugar Maple can grow well on sandy soil which does not become excessively dry. Light (or loose) clay soils are also well known to support Sugar Maple.
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By the 14th century, Norwich was one of the largest and most prosperous cities in England, and Norwich Market was a major trading hub. In the Georgian era, Norwich became an increasingly popular destination with travellers, and developed into a fashionable shopping town.
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Dave Navarro, formerly of Jane's Addiction, was invited to join the Chili Peppers after Arik Marshall, who had finished the remaining tour dates for Blood Sugar Sex Magik, was fired.
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Gillingham F.C. is an English professional football club based in the town of Gillingham, Kent.
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The Football League is also the name of the governing body of the league competition, and this body also organises two knock-out cup competitions
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The Cogan House Covered Bridge is a Burr arch truss covered bridge over Larrys Creek in Cogan House Township, Lycoming County,
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Each year approximately 30,000 properties are added to the National Register as part of districts or by individual listings.
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The opposite view is also held, based on computer models, that the truss performs the majority of the load bearing and the arch provides the stability.
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Pennsylvania Route 287 runs parallel to the Second Fork its whole length, and continues parallel to Larrys Creek from Salladasburg south to its terminus on U.S. Route 220 (near the creek's mouth).
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Financial advisers may help their clients invest for both long and short term goals. It is the financial adviser's duty to determine the clients' goals and risk tolerance and then to recommend appropriate investments. Generally, a long time horizon allows for the advisor to recommend more volatile investments with potentially greater risks and rewards. Such investments include direct investment in stocks or through collective investment products such as mutual funds and unit investment trusts/unit trusts.
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The plaza operates as McCormick Tribune Ice Rink, a free public outdoor ice skating rink that is generally open four months a year
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Issy Smith (1890–1940) was a British-Australian recipient of the Victoria Cross,
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After his demobilisation, Smith returned to Australia with his wife and daughter. He became a prominent figure in Melbourne's Jewish community, was appointed a Justice of the Peace, and unsuccessfully stood as a candidate for the United Australia Party in the 1931 general election.[
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The HTC Evo 3D is an Android 2.3 ("Gingerbread") smartphone that allows for the creation and viewing of 3D content through the use of two 5 MP rear-facing cameras and a glasses-free 3D-capable 4.3" qHD touch screen. In the United States, the Evo 3D is available exclusively on the Sprint/Nextel network. Several GSM variants are also available in Canada, Europe and Asia.
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Just under a third of the residents are classed as economically inactive and the area is one of the most economically deprived in Bristol.


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Those who successfully argue a defense based on a mental disorder are usually referred to mandatory clinical treatment until they are certified safe to be released back into the community, rather than prison.[25]
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Macrolide antibiotics, particularly erythromycin, are an effective treatment for DPB when taken regularly over an extended period of time.[15][16] The successful results of macrolides in DPB and similar lung diseases stems from managing certain symptoms through immunomodulation (adjusting the immune response),[16] which can be achieved by taking the antibiotics in low doses.
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DPB symptoms usually return, and treatment would need to be resumed. Although highly effective, erythromycin may not prove successful in all individuals with the disease, particularly if macrolide-resistant P. aeruginosa is present or previously untreated DPB has progressed to the point where respiratory failure is occurring.
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Some countries, such as Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Italy, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia, allow postpartum depression (also known as post-natal depression) as a defense against murder of a child by a mother, provided that a child is less than two years old (this may be the specific offense of infanticide rather than murder and include the effects of lactation and other aspects of post-natal care).
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I remember in journalism school being shouted at by a tutor over a story and photograph I wanted to submit to a newspaper. She told me the photo was wrong because the "subject" wasn't in the centre of the photo. I told her the empty space in the middle had been deliberate to show the void between a dying patient and a hospital worker struggling to get around to all of those in need of attention. My tutor talked me into submitting the story without the photo, but we included a note to say that the paper's own photographer might like to go to the hospital to get a shot.
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nguyen said...

I remember in journalism school being shouted at by a tutor over a story and photograph I wanted to submit to a newspaper. She told me the photo was wrong because the "subject" wasn't in the centre of the photo. I told her the empty space in the middle had been deliberate to show the void between a dying patient and a hospital worker struggling to get around to all of those in need of attention. My tutor talked me into submitting the story without the photo, but we included a note to say that the paper's own photographer might like to go to the hospital to get a shot.
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nguyen said...

My tutor talked me into submitting the story without the photo, but we included a note to say that the paper's own photographer might like to go to the hospital to get a shot. The feature was accepted and I was pleased to see it printed the following week with a photo similar to what I'd proposed: there was a mighty gap in the middle between the patient and the hospital worker. I have learnt that when we do something with a good reason in mind, we are able to confidently deal with any criticism.
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I really like all of the different buildings and their unique designs and architecture. It is really cool that you guys got to visit all of the historical sites and stuff. You can really get a good understanding of the Holocaust from this visit. I hope that i can go on this trip in a few years.

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simson11 said...

I sometimes do that myself.? Most of my landscapes are done just from memory. Thanks for sharing this video :)

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Great swatches! I didn't think I wanted Marina before, but after seeing it on you I think I do! I have Neeka and Yara and love them both, but Neeka looks amazing on you!

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When I clicked on the first photos (before reading) I thought that you had some very nicely painted 28mm figures . . . but then I read that they were 15mm figs . . . VERY VERY NICE.
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During the lead-up to the 1960 CCF convention, Argue was pressing Coldwell to step down. This leadership challenge jeopardized plans for an orderly transition to the new party. Lewis and the rest of the new party's organizers opposed Argue's manoeuvres, and wanted Saskatchewan premier Tommy Douglas to be the new party's first leader.
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simson11 said...

Grüß Gott! Das sieht ja nach einer ziemlich extremen Tour aus! Bei Wind und Wetter malen, überfallen werden von Touris, nur leere Weinflaschen...kein Wunder, dass man da die Toilette malt...Aber so is nunmal das Künstlerleben! Danke, dass Ihr das als abschreckendes Beispiel ins Netz stellt! Kopf hoch, Jungs, alles hat einmal ein Ende! Wünsch Euch noch eine gute Beute und viel Sonne, innen wie außen!
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During the lead-up to the 1960 CCF convention, Argue was pressing Coldwell to step down. This leadership challenge jeopardized plans for an orderly transition to the new party. Lewis and the rest of the new party's organizers opposed Argue's manoeuvres, and wanted Saskatchewan premier Tommy Douglas to be the new party's first leader.
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simson11 said...

Hi Ruth,
thanks for your comment. It is true that the blog community is smaller as it seems and if one is interested in quality it gets even smaller.
I am looking forward to some plein air painting, too.
Schöne Grüße auch an Dich.
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simson11 said...

Stefan beautiful work lately. You sound like you have had a great paint visit to america. The one of Wayne painting on the beach is fabulous. I like the finished one, and there is something very powerful about the early stage photo of this painting too. great progress with all your work here!
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