Just Below the Surface, 12"x12," acrylic on panel, © Lynn Goldstein $550.
See more about this painting here
We were staying up late into the night, probably knowing that the morning would come all that much sooner if we went to sleep.
You see, my son was leaving for college the next day, and both of us were feeling anxious about the changes that were coming our way. To quell his concerns, he asked me all kinds of questions. One question was easy for me to answer. "Mom, what was your least favorite thing about college?"
I hated critiques.
What in the world changed for me?
First, let me explain. Critiques were brutal when I was in college. My professors didn't seem to understand the concept of constructive criticism. In retrospect, perhaps they were trying to toughen us up, or maybe trying to weed us out of the program. If I had let them, they would have crushed my spirit into the ground.
Instead, I vowed that should I ever teach, I would not emulate them, and I never have!
When I critique other artist's work, I first make an effort to understand what that person is trying to say with their art, and we go from there. I approach any critique based on where each artist is in their journey, and find areas that can improve the work quickly. In other words, I critique in the way that I prefer receiving help with my own work.
Good critiques have improved my work ten-fold.
Good critiques are one of the best ways to improve your art.
Here are 6 reasons why:
1. Making art is a solitary endeavor. We can get stuck in our own heads. Showing our work to others can help us to see our work differently.
2. Fresh eyes bring fresh perspective.
3. Someone who is good at critiquing work can help guide us by showing us work by others that may have a similar aesthetic. We can then study that work to improve our own.
4. Someone who understands the principles of strong art can help us to improve important aspects of our work.
5. If in a group, we can see how our work is perceived by others, and practice talking about our work as a result of looking at it more closely. Others may find aspects of our work that was never considered.
6. We can also see how other artists solve problems and potentially borrow those solutions in our own work.
Here's what students have said about my critiques:
She has taught me so much, including how to develop good composition and a focal point, but, above all, she has given me confidence in my own abilities. ~L. Miller
I have taken classes with other art instructors so have experienced a variety of styles and personalities. Some have not offered any specific content, so I felt I wasn't learning anything. Other teachers have been talented themselves but impatient with students' lack of expertise and therefore extremely harsh in their criticism. In contrast, Lynn offers an upbeat, positive approach which encourages students to work at their level and to stretch themselves as they are ready. ~M. Norman
My online critique group will be starting on Tuesday, February 1, and I would love to have you join us.
There are only 2 spaces left! Want to join us? Click the button below.