When my son was really young he was talking to me one day and I was busy doing other things and listening as I worked (typical mother, multi-tasking). All of a sudden I realized he was upset with me and I turned to look at him, he said "whenever I am talking to you, you look at me"! I was dumbfounded of course because you know you heard every word he said but I was not valuing him enough to take the time from my day to really look him in the eye and let him know that what he was saying was important.
Again the other day I noticed that my grandson would do something and then turn to everyone that is near and look them in the eye to see that they are paying attention and giving him the eye contact that means so much to humans.
Artists are very sensitive I find in needing validation and it could be that way with everyone I can only draw from my experience. It is the same way with criticism, artist need feedback on work in progress but only if it is good feedback not just criticism. My son is my best feedback and I can always trust him to be right on the money and know exactly what does not look right. Often I can see that something is not right but I just can not put my finger on how to fix it. On the other hand I also need the emotional support that only my daughter can give me, she gets to hear the whining and complaining and patiently turns me around to head off in the correct direction. With both I can keep the optimism going to keep producing when negativity is so common now days.
Encouragement is such a small gift to give someone whether it be a child or an adult it is like water to a flower, encouragement is only part of the gift, validation is the rest.