My favorite artist-love story involves a friend of mine who was at a craft show during a folk festival. A young man approached her with a $10 bill and in a soft voice with pleading eyes asked her if she would mind going to the booth over there (he nodded his head) and buy a bracelet. See, it was his girlfriend's table and she wasn't doing too well and he really wanted to lift her spirits. My friend was so touched that she took the money (and some of her own) and wandered over to buy several bracelets. Of course she made the right observations about the art and left several encouraging compliments in her wake. I wasn't there but I promise you the artists' spirits picked right up, her next creation was her best and she was darn lucky to have that boyfriend in her life.
Do you know what your words (or lack of words) mean to an artist? a craftsman, a singer, a poet, a dancer, a musician? These folks work for love, figuratively for the love of the craft but literally that's about all many of them make in return. I have been blessed with supporters around me who offer some form of love almost every day; but when an unsolicited compliment comes flying in from a stranger: Whooooah baby, my feet are suddenly ten feet off the ground!!
I've bought a few things lately that I really didn't need but I bought them for love...I loved the fact that this person was taking time to create something and offer it up to the world. They may have been at the very start of their "career" or winding it down with poor eyesight and wavering hand. But the point is my affirmation was significant to their day and their view of their work. Worth every penny I laid out.
So don't be stingy with (sincere) praise, don't neglect the struggling beginners or the far from perfect craftsman. We all need art in our lives and loving on those who try to provide it will keep the fires of excellence primed and burning. I'm grateful for my early collectors, my new collectors and those who don't buy but do offer a compliment, a critique or a nudge of encouragement in whatever way.
They are each valuable to the future development of my craft and my vision. Go spread some love: share a compliment, buy a piece, applaud a little harder; it's not difficult if you look for the opportunity. You have my guarantee that you will be making a valuable contribution to the world of art.