Saturday, September 18, 2010

how to critique your own paintings

Recently my  good painting friend, Christine, was fortunate to take a rare workshop from Elizabeth Mowry. The next day she and I shared a long telephone conversation about the workshop (and more.)  I am posting a small, but very important morsel about critiquing your own work.
When we are back in the vacuum of our studios, producing painting after painting, we often struggle with critiquing our own work. It's challenging to be objective, unless you let time pass. Well here is another way for those of us who prefer not to wait a year or so for clear eyes. I plan to use it often.

1. Set up five recent paintings. Study them carefully.

2.Put them in order beginning with your favorite to your least favorite.

3. What are the qualities that you really like in your favorite painting? Why?

4.What are some things you do not like about your least favorite painting?

5. What in each of the others could you alter so that it would have more of the qualities that are in the one you like best? What can you do specifically to numbers 2,3,4, and 5 to make them better?

It is important that you go through the whole process and thoughtfully answer all the questions out loud.  Next I will post what the choices are after you have done your assessment.

I have been working glazing 4 paintings here is one that has a few layers much more to go.

PS Thanks Christine!!!!!


Caroline Bray Art said...

This is shaping up to be one of my favourites of yours so far...looking forward to see the finished piece!

loriann said...

Wow thanks Caroline...who knows what will happen?!

Anonymous said...

I love the transition from underpainting to this... please, please don't do what I always do with oil glazing and add too many more layers thinking it will look better..... It's really fresh still at the moment.
I'm so in love with the process of mixing up the glaze and applying it, that I seem to never know when to stop (lol)....
Which blues or blue mix did you use for the is really pretty.

Donna T said...

Thanks for sharing that self-critique method, Loriann. I wonder if we "listen" to our own critiques more than to one given by others? Your painting is looking so good already! It's amazing how one lone tree can command so much attention.

Barbara said...

Beautiful Loriann!

Sheila Vaughan said...

Loriann, thanks for posting this advice on self-critique. We all like the opinion of others on our work but what really counts is what we ourselves think of it. This is a very structured, purposive approach and I'm eager to try it out.

Shawna Erback Studios said...

What a great way to self critique! I'm going to try that. Another way is to take photos as you go and then print them out. I don't know why, but when I look at a photo I can see things differently than when I'm looking directly at the painting :)

loriann said...

Hi Maggie, i will try not to over work it. The nice thing about glazes is you can wipe them off. I made a blue green. cobalt- viridian and white, i think.

Hi Donna,
I guess that depends who the others are... Thanks about my tree.

Hi Barbara!

Hi Sheila,
You are so right. We need to find our own analytical opinion and trust it.

Hi Shawna, There is something about a photo that will remove us from the work. I do that all the time in the studio while in process. Funny how that works. Thanks for bringing it up!