Have you ever showed someone a painting you've done and they said nothing or maybe mumbled something?
How did you feel? Let's face it we artists have sensitive souls. When we get up the courage to show someone our works of art, it is a little like showing your mom your first pre school painting (at least for me, you may be a lot more mature). You want a positive response to validate your efforts or at least but maybe too much to expect, an offer for them to hang it on their refrigerator.
If you put yourself in the other guy's soes, in this case the person looking at your painting, they may not know what to say. After all they cut most of the art education out of the school budget when most of us were growing up.
So I am going to suggest to you somethings to say upon being shown a person's artwork:
"I like the colors."
"I like your line work"
"I like the textures you achieved with your brush work."
Or you can ask an open ended question such as:
"What inspired you to paint this subject?"
"How did you get that subtle color in the sky?"
Or you can resort to one or two word answers but say them loudly:
"Fantastic", (maybe over the top but please err in this direction).
Now here is a thumbnail I did for a larger painting of Napa, you can practice your responses by emailing or using the comment box on this blog.