Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Criticism vs Critique

My dad is a good art critic. He can look at one of my paintings and say, the ears are to short. The legs are to long. You used the wrong color in that mountain. He matter of factly looks at one of my paintings and immediately sees what I can do to make it better. He doesn't say much, he doesn't elaborate. He gets the job done. Any artist is glad for that kind of helpful critique of their work. My Robert is good at helping me with my artwork. He has ideas. He shares them with me. He doesn't feel bad if I don't use them all, he doesn't stop helping me. He's a good art critic.

The more you paint, the more people who are exposed to your art, the more rank comments you will hear. There's a design flaw in some brains. It's called, "I might not have been able to create that, but I can sure tear it apart!" As an artist, you must develop a thick skin. When you hear a critique, recognize it. When you hear criticism, ignore it.

Let's say you're sitting at an art show. You were juried in by 7 experts in your field. 20 artists were chosen to show their art at this show, and 500 were turned down by these 7 jurors. A person who's attending the art show walks up to your booth and gives a cursory glance at your work. With a barely hidden sneer in their voice, they begin to tell you all about the paintings their dear old grandmother produces and how they're far superior to your paintings. Don't get mad, get even. Ask them in your very nicest voice, "Where are her paintings showing in this show, I'll go visit her booth when I take a break." They'll probably be to dumb to know they've just been smeared, but you'll have satisfaction!

Turn downs from jurors. As you progress as an artist, you might wish to enter some juried shows. Don't take the judges decisions personally. Jurors have many things to look at when selecting artwork for a show. They're trying to present paintings as a whole, that will show well together. You might have done a beautiful painting that doesn't fit the exact theme of the show as well as some other painting does. These judges have tough decisions to make. If your painting doesn't get into one show, and you believe it's show quality, don't hesitate to send slides of it off to other competitions. When a show juror sends you a critique, which a few of them do, take the comments to heart and use what the juror said to improve upon later paintings. Good honest critique will help you improve your skills. Recognize this tool and use it, you'll become a better artist!


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