Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Why Critiques are Important

Reflecting on Life and Joys I had Forgotten wearing their new frames

Last night I had the joy of being one on a panel of two offering comments and encouragement at a critique night for artists. Artist were invited to bring 2 pieces of art and for a mere $5 were given individual attention, suggestions, encouragement and direction for their work. 

Critiques often make artists cringe. They can be devastating or be the most helpful thing in the world for an artist. Artists at every level from beginner to pro can benefit from another pair of trained eyes looking at their work. 

My opinion is that criticism, and pontificating on aesthetic philosophies has no place at a critique. Each artist should have a chance to explain what their intention was in making the piece because that is the only way to truly evaluate whether or not the piece was successful.
Robert Genn says  "The job of instructor, in my view, is to help people realize themselves at whatever level they are at."  I believe that is very similar to the job of the critique, help the artist understand their own work better and how to make the next painting they do even more successful than the one before. Help them paint their way, only better! Encourage, guide, direct, teach and open their eyes to the possibilities that exist in their paintings, even the ones that might not be so successful. Inspire them to go back to the easel and try again with fresh knowledge and ideas.
We had such a great group of eight artists bring work of all sorts, mixed media, watercolor, photography, plein air, pastel, acrylic and oils. As people got comfortable the whole group began chiming in with enthusiasm to help their fellow artists and make some really excellent suggestions!  
It was enlightening, inspiring and invigorating to be among artists excited about their art and pursuing their creative dreams, learning and growing together.
My critiquing partner was master pastelist Claudia Post, you can visit her blog here.
I'd also like to share another blog with you. Paul Baldassini was a first time visitor to our Critique Night at Maple & Main Gallery. Paul is a very fine painter of contemporary realism and he has a very informative blog here.
His series Working Land, springs from concerns about the disappearance of local farmlands and rural tracts of land due to mindless over development. To see his stunning paintings visit his website here. 
Come to think of it you might enjoy visiting the websites of all the participants from last night!
Joan Cole:  Website      Blog
Ishita Bandyo : Website      Blog 
Randie Kahrl: Website  
Barbara Timberman: Website 
Barbara Rossito: Website   
Dan Nichols: Website

1 comment:

Joan Cole said...

Hey, Jan, thanks for the mention! The critique night, as always, was exciting and informative. It is always fascinating to see what others are working on.