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Sharing a critical climate

Chatting with one of my closest friends a few days ago about she told me that when she first came to this country just over 12 years ago from her homeland of Cuba she could hardly speak English at all. I find that amazing since she speaks fluent Spanish (obviously!), Italian and French, as well as English, but she continued saying that to learn this new difficult language she started going to evening classes. She and the other students were given various tasks to help them converse and discuss and improve their English, and one of the tasks was to pick a favourite famous painting and look really closely at it, and then give a critique to the class about it, looking for some flaw within the painting through composition, subject, style or technique. I nodded and smiled, agreeing with her that it was a good task for all the students to do. Before I had chance to ask her which painting she had chosen and why, she went on to say that the gift that I had given her for her recent birthday, shown here,  which is a framed print of two tango dancers (since she loves to dance it seemed the ideal gift!) is currently in her lounge. She had a few spare moments recently when she came home from work, and was sitting with a coffee in her hand idly staring into space, and her eyTango (2)es alighted on the picture that I’d given her. She thought to herself that she would test her knowledge of art, and criticise it, looking for faults within the picture. I looked avidly at her as she told me this tale, waiting for the constructive criticism, to see what she was about to tell me. She looked seriously at me, and said “And do you know what, Jackie, I looked and looked at that picture, and I looked hard at it, really hard, and I couldn’t find anything at all to criticise!” I smiled back at her, in total happiness and said “Do you know WHY you couldn’t find anything to criticise?” and she shook her head as she said “No…..?” and I went on to say “Because I look and look at a picture I’ve painted, and I am more critical that anyone at looking at it and changing anything at all no matter how small  that I’m not happy with, before I show it to anyone else, that’s why!” She nodded in this acknowlegement, and I smiled and said “You’ve just paid me one of the nicest compliments anyone has said about my art!”