Monday, July 11, 2011

benefits of critique


Once a month I meet with the members of Portland Women in Abstract Media group for critique and art conversation. I love the energy of the group and their willingness to question, experiment, and explore.

I brought in the "original" painting you see above. The group had me turn it in every possible orientation to "see what happens." All of their feedback was helpful. All were distracted by the purple "pyramids" and some of the other shapes. I think what helped me most of all was standing back and looking objectively at the painting. It looked pale and uncertain. You know what? It looked just like I felt about painting it.

I often feel like I am stepping off the dock of representational work into the boat of abstraction. I have one foot on the dock and one foot on the boat and feel stuck and in danger of falling in the water! 

When I came home I was eager to re-work this piece with my new ideas. I added gesso and acrylic pastel ground in places and let things dry. Then I started to really explore the shapes and colors of late afternoon sunlight, water, sails, shapes, texture, and ambiguity.

I am much happier with the revised painting. And grateful for the opportunity to participate in critique. 

I would love to hear about your critique group experiences.


SamArtDog said...

Now, that's some mustard on the hot dog!

Susan Roux said...

A good critique is priceless! It's my latest post as well. The difference from where you stopped to where you could push yourself. Wonderful improvement!

So tell me why are so many artists against a good critique? I think they're amazingly helpful.

Katherine van Schoonhoven said...

Thanks, Sam! I think the painting is MUCH better post-critique. Mustard? Yum!

Katherine van Schoonhoven said...

Susan: thank you for your comments! Your lupine painting is beautiful in all of its iterations, but by far the strongest in the final version. Great thoughts, too.

I think that critiques are tough. We think we're ready for the truth, but sometimes inside we're secretly hoping to hear, "It's perfect! Don't change a thing!" If you can handle non-complimentary comments, you will probably benefit from it, too.

It's always good to get honest feedback, even if I don't like it, it's helpful!

Jan Yates, SCA, Canada said...

I just left a comment re your hay bales--now today a completely different hot dog!! What i find impressive is your diversity in style, palette and subject matter.

Yes, honest and objective critique is, well, crucial to growing and evolving -and critique well done -is an art in itself

-having said that, I strongly feel that it depends on WHO is doing the critique and NO ONE should offer to critique a work unless they ARE INVITED to do so.

Katherine van Schoonhoven said...

Jan, you are so right! If critique is not invited, it is not welcome. Thanks about the paintings!

Suzanne said...

Your "Revised" is really impressive ! Who could have imagined how this would develop after the critique. Vivid colors and dramitic pattern. Yes, you jumped from the dock to the boat and landed strongly footed.