Be Kind -- Starting with Yourself

31 Dec 2012

As an artist, it's good to know how to critique yourself and your painting techniques -- and that's the key element: HOW to critique yourself.

Stride into that studio of yours and take control of analyzing and critiquing your own work. Cadence by Steve Henderson of Steve Henderson Fine Art.

Stride into that studio of yours and take control of analyzing and
critiquing your own work. Cadence by Steve Henderson of Steve Henderson Fine Art.

This type of "critique" when you are learning how to paint doesn't work: "What a lousy painting. I'll never know how to do this right."

And quite frankly, that's not critique so much as it is self-evisceration. You'd never say this to a friend or fellow painting artist, and probably not even to an enemy, at least not to his or her face, so why attack yourself with it?

On the opposite spectrum, this also is not valid critique: "I am so amazing! Everything I produce is so significantly superior to what I see out there that I don't understand why I'm not artist-in-residence on the Oprah network."

While it's good to be confident, arrogance is confidence on steroids, and it'll wind up eventually bringing you and your fine art painting down, because if you are already at the pinnacle then where do you go from there?

So, the best thing to try for as you give yourself painting lessons in self-evaluation is something in between the extremes, which applies to pretty much anything in life. Look at your painting art -- closely -- and try to define what it is about a particular piece that you like and don't like, and why. While this may be difficult if you've never really done it before, it gets easier with practice.

And, since you're doing this for yourself, it's not as if you are crafting an English 101 essay, to be returned with red marks throughout for all of the aspects you "missed." You're doing this for yourself, for the betterment of your art, and for the increased ability to view, analyze, and critique your own work. You're the judge, so be kind and strive for fairness.

--Carolyn

 


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Comments

on 5 Jan 2013 6:57 AM

What's with the contrived "painting art" and "painting artist"?  Very pretentious.

jbqdgq wrote
on 5 Jan 2013 10:01 AM

Not pretentious. "painting" is describing the nouns art and artist. Could be sculpture art, or photography artist. Not a big deal. In fact it is a good bit of advice. Additionally, I have a couple paintings that I did not think much of when first painted but have come to like very much over the years. So I would say, Don't be hasty in judging your work.

Yabut818 wrote
on 5 Jan 2013 10:25 PM

I was told this week that I'm better than I think I am. The fact that I just sold my first painting seems to back that up. Okay, so I'm moving forward on a more confident note this year.  I promise!