The Art Critique is Important
by Hall Groat Sr.
Paintings created by an artist are not always easy to critique. And if they`re your own work, it can be even more difficult to pass judgement on. The problem is common for people in creative fields. When your work is too close to you, there is a tendency to overlook particular things which you can miss. Even for a professional painter —to be alert to the thousands of details and subtleties which make up your work, something important may be overlooked. Maybe if we were robots, there would be less concern—although someone has to create and program the robot, right?
Being influenced by the work of a master may give you confidence, although if it doesn’t fit with your style, it may be counter-productive, and confusing. Continuity is very important in creative art and it is difficult to incorporate the techniques by painters from decades earlier. You may find more satisfaction by having a trusted colleague or a close friend you paint with— take a look at your work when you think it is finished. A critique by someone who is very familiar with your work can reveal things you may have overlooked.
Believe it or not, I once shipped a painting out of state and forgot to sign it. My blunder caused me the aggravation of having the work returned— just to sign it! Perhaps this important omission would have been picked up in a critique.
Lately, I have two main artists who periodically check over my work. These critiques are very important and no matter how good a painting looks —something is found which needs a little tweaking. One of my confidants is Professor & Chairman of the Art Department at SUNY Broome Community College—my son. The other is a painter who has an extraordinary eye and his critiques have proven beneficial to me. You should not lean on them until you have exhausted all your skills in composition, color, value, etc. and truly feel the work is finished. At that point you must be big enough to listen to the critique. When someone is willing to donate their time looking over your work in critical analysis—you listen! Quite often, after you have heard the critique, you come to the realization— the critique was important!