Thursday, March 18, 2010

Taking stock of Critique Groups

As a relatively new user of critique groups, I'm practically evangelical in my praises for them. I have found it extremely useful to have all those fresh eyes examining my painting and telling me what works and does not work on my painting. By fresh eyes, I mean other than the artist’s eyes which are somehow veiled to the truth of their own painting. It’s like an umbilical cord links the artist to their work and till that cord is severed, which sometimes takes months or even years after the work is completed, most artists are unable to objectively see their work. The trick with critique groups is to find or create one with artists near or above your ability. Take notes on all the comments about your work, listen instead of defending yourself, and then sort through the comments later. Through experience, you’ll begin to figure out what comments to discard and which make sense to incorporate. I brought this painting of the stockpot and vegetables to my current teacher and to one of the critique groups who, of course, had opposite things to say. Now I get to look inside myself and decide which direction to take it next. It’s my decision but made better by all those fresh eyes.

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