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Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Should we be allowed to criticize?

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LILAC FLOWERS BY: PRIS DAVID
Most coloring groups on Facebook have a strict “No criticism” policy. The rules often state “If you don’t have anything good to say, move on.” But is that really such a good idea? If we are not allowed to receive criticism, how will we ever get better?

While I by no means imply that we should be allowed to tear each other’s work apart, constructive criticism might turn an enthusiastic artist into a good artist, and a good artist into a great one.

Most people know their own limitations. By looking at other’s work they know that their work is not up to par. They can see that others are better and often wonder ... how did they do that?

This is where constructive criticism might be helpful. Mentioning where the coloring artist went wrong, or what could be improved upon, might not only be well received but appreciated.

For instance. Some two weeks or three weeks ago I noticed a particularly striking image of blue flowers in this group. The coloring brought about a string of likes and comments of people falling over themselves to express how extraordinary this coloring was. 
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BLUE FLOWERS BY: PRIS DAVID
My first reaction was ... I might as well give up. The artist, Pris David, commented “No, don’t do that. Keep practicing and you’ll be able to do this too.” Yeah right, like that was gonna happen.

So I emailed Pris and she started giving me some tips. I tried what she explained and ... it didn’t work. I tried again and again, but no, no luck.

Next Pris provided, in addition to more advice, a picture of what to do and what not to do. I tried again and ... hm, while I could see a tiny bit of improvement, my efforts still didn’t even come close to what she was showing me.
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So Pris took it one step further and sent me a video.
I must have watched that video ten times, and not just looked at it, but studied it, along with the pictures she provided. And yes, eventually what she had explained, showed me with drawings and now with this video started to make sense.

So I tried again, sent her the result of my work, she delivered feedback and I tried again, and again, and again.

Today I’m happy to say that I’m getting there. I’m still nowhere near as good as Pris is, but if I can improve this much in two weeks, the future looks promising.

The blue flowers I colored earlier this year, the blue and pink ones were done last week.
Better, right?
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JANUARY 2016
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JUNE 2016

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Can cats tell time

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If you’ve ever wondered if cats can tell time, I can tell you with absolute certainty that they can.

Some cat owners will agree, knowing that their cat greets them by the front door as they come home from work. But it goes further than that.

Take Mickey for instance. Mickey can be in a deep sleep, but come 6:15 p.m., he wakes up and moves to the kitchen. He knows that around that time I start dinner, and he gets his food. He doesn’t say anything, he merely sits there, looking at me. If he were able to talk, no doubt he would say “Hu hm, can you feed me?”
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But speaking of talking talking ... Mickey never learned how to meow as such, but he’s a great singer.

For instance, last week my son Dieter went to Home Depot after work. Usually Dieter comes home around 4:45 p.m., but on that particular day 4:45 p.m. came and went, there was no sign of Dieter and Mickey got agitated.
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He started pacing through the whole condo. First he walked up and down the living room a few times, next he went to check the bedrooms, he even took a look in the bathroom, and when he couldn’t find Dieter he started “singing”.

Yes I call it singing, because what Mickey does you can’t call meowing. He hits a note and holds it. He will hit another note for a few seconds, then go higher or lower for a few second more. All the while walking to and fro.

Each time Dieter announces that he will be late because of a meeting, shopping or a date, I dread it because Mick turns from a regular cat into an opera singer.

Gabriel can also tell time and is an equally great singer. Perhaps even better than Mickey because depending on the sound he sound he produces I know exactly what he wants.
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Gabriel knows that, during the week, Dieter wakes up at 6:00 a.m. During the weekend he doesn’t set his alarm because he wants to sleep in, but Gabriel doesn’t know that. So, when Saturday and Sunday morning comes around, and Dieter doesn’t get out of bed around 6:00 a.m., Gabriel reminds him that it’s time to get up. And believe me, he doesn’t meow softly, he has quite a voice on him. A voice that says ... come on, get up, you’re late!

Another reason why he meows (if you can call it that) is when he wants a drink from the sink. He has a full water bowl in the kitchen (I make sure that the bowl is full when I got to bed), but every now and then Gabe wants to drink from the bathroom tab. He meows, or shall he sings, so loud and so persistent until I get out of bed and comply with his request. When I get to the bathroom, I find him sitting on the toilet and then he looks at me and sings in a tone that says ... what took you so long?
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Another reason why Gabriel flexes his vocal cord is when he wants to be on top of the cabinet. He has a fondness for high places, but getting there presents a bit of a problem ... he can’t jump. He rather, he sometimes lacks the confidence to jump. 
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To get onto the wall unit, he has to jump on the cat tree, and for some reason Gabriel doesn’t trust that thing. He will manage it ones, twice or even three times just fine, and then the fourth time he will doubt himself and doesn’t dare the jump. So I have to lift him up, or at least steady the cat tree for him to get from a to b. To get my attention he produces a sound that almost says ... Help me! Please!!!
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Ah cats ... you gotta love 'em