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View Full Version : Seeking an honest critique ... like finding an honest human?


xinit
09-04-2001, 01:46 AM
I'm looking for honest critiques here. I miss critiques that leave you with something to do at the end. A comment that states simply "that's nice" or "good work" without reasons or more information feels empty to me.

The image below is one of my large abstracts that I have pictures of over at http://foo.ca in the painting galleries. There's photography there as well, but I'm pretty confident with that, and have people critiquing it regularly. It's the paintings that are feeling left out.

I've got grant applications to submit and I'm trying to determine which pieces to use as part of some of them, etc, so I'd appreciate some honesty :)

http://foo.ca/paintings/02/images/640x480/01.jpg

Thanks

bottleman
09-04-2001, 02:11 AM
First of all, is the dark area on top part of the painting or just a photographic problem? Also, is there texture of some kind in parts of this painting?

Now, the key to pushing this style ahead is purpose. Even though it is an "abstract", what do the colours and brush marks do? The lines on the right and bottom serve a structural purpose. So, what about the verticals streaks of colour? Is something being expressed or are you just filling in space, so to speak?

Having taken a really fast look at you web site, I would have to say that other paintings, especially in Gallery 1, seem to have a clearer sense of purpose and structure.

Ceu
09-04-2001, 02:22 AM
it is interesting that you say that, "nice or good job"
without a reason. But at times there are no words for paintings to describe the feeling of one feels.
So to say what I think of yours, it's hard because all I see is lines and a lot of texture wich I like very much, but there is no feeling back to me . and this is my opinion, I hope this is the kind of honesty you are looking for.

xinit
09-04-2001, 02:39 AM
First to bottleman;

First of all, is the dark area on top part of the painting or just a photographic problem? Also, is there texture of some kind in parts of this painting?

The piece that I included is likely the glossiest piece I have, and also has a lot of rather deep texture. It was a pain to light this one for the slides in order to show the texture a bit without being blinded.

The slide isn't nearly as contrasty as the resulting scanned image was. It is darker at the top and lower right corner in the real piece, but the difference isn't as stark.

To some degree my painting is often about filling in space and trying to form interesting marks and colours in the mean time - I don't often claim a higher purpose.

Gallery 1 on my site is mostly newer pieces that were created within a about 50 days where the second gallery is a bit more over the map, over a much wider time frame. The second gallery is a bit more on the goofy side with one or two exceptions, and I think I like them for different reasons.

I've still to get around to shooting another roll of slides of work done in the past couple weeks and some pieces I have installed at client locations, so there will be more in relatively short order once I get all my grant apps out the door.

Thanks.

Now to Ceu;

Works for me. I don't always "feel" something when looking at my pieces either, and you are right, sometimes an answer can be as simple as 'nice' or 'not nice'. I guess I'm just used to in your face critiques that left no doubts as to what was good / bad. Not everybody had to speak up in them, but if you did you had to be honest and attempt to be constructive without pandering.

I know that can be hard in a faceless space such as this where there's no emotion or connection with the person on the other end, so I appreciate any answer given in the spirit of my request.

Thanks

Gollator
09-04-2001, 07:14 AM
I have no probs with "good" and "not good, but". The "good"s are for ego, the "no-goods, but" are... well, not everytime for improvement, as you have to evaluate for yourself, but as a new point of view.

As for your picture, it is brutal. Brutal in a way I would expect from a Quentin Tarantino movie, looks like someone constantly smashed against the wall for 24 hours (while some is cutting his head off).

Good.

Cindy
09-04-2001, 08:19 AM
It's difficult to say much about large abstract pieces like these from a jpg. These kinds of pieces are designed to be an experience. They are for standing in front of and being overwhelmed by. They are backdrop for philosophical contemplation, balms for a tired soul and matches to light off emotions and ideas.

That being said, I think that from the jpg I can get an idea about composition and perhaps a bit about color too. I couldn't see any texture in the jpgs and I certainly have no feel for what it would be like to stand in front of one of these paintings.

I see a good sense of motion and a subtle but interesting use of color. A couple pieces like "Rift" and "Maelstrom" were particularly well unified and made me wish to see them in person.

Other pieces like "Melting" and "Retina" seemed to be thrown together without much thought, emotion or detail - a few elements placed together without proper consideration for their relationship as a whole or their interactions.

As for emotional reaction, I was really turned on by "Maelstrom" and could view it for a long time.

The majority of pieces were ok but nothing very exciting. It looks to me like you are still experimenting, imitating and looking for your style.

If I could open your page and see 10 pieces the quality of "Rift", "Maelstrom" and "Red Flame", I'd write you the check myself! ;)

jheinrich
09-04-2001, 11:03 AM
first I don't generally like abstracts, and these are no exception. I say 'these' because after cindy's comments I felt I needed to check your site before commenting.

With this specific piece, I concur with bottleman's undercurrrent, in that it doesn't feel to have enough variation or attention to detail, contrast and composition to interest me.

course, I understand how terrible jpgs are to judge texture and true color and certainly brushmarks by. (is that a dangling participle? for shame :evil: )

This particular photograph seems to have a terrible glare, so I wouldn't send it at all to anyone. Presentation is prolly 9/10ths of what you will be judged on by granters.

A note on your site- you seem to be a bit overprotective of your images ... (mine, mine, mine, etc.)- have you had problems with people stealing your images? curious ...

good luck with your grants,
j*

xinit
09-04-2001, 01:27 PM
jheinrich

I know how you feel about abstracts, as it's how I generally feel about landscape painting. There are exceptions, but not enough to change my generalization of landscapes as boring.

That said, I appreciate comments from people who aren't fans of abstracts most. It's likely because they're not tied to the subject matter (if it could be called that) and they're more likely to come up with comments related to colour and technique. So, thanks for checking out the rest of the website anyhow, I appreciate it.

As for the web site, I just want to leave no doubts about whose images they are. I haven't been a target of image "theft" yet, and am not worried about it so much with the paintings as I am with the photos. Rather than treat one set of images differently, I just use a standard disclaimer for everything..

Cindy

With "melting" it was a concept I wanted to try; an experiment. It worked out a bit like I thought it would, and I'm happy enough with it, but it's not my favorite piece. The piece with the large daisy and the toupee are others in the same form with varying success. They were for fun primarily - for me first.

jheinrich
09-04-2001, 02:29 PM
I hear you, and thanks for responding. :D

You speak well about your work, I'm sure you'll have no problem getting lots of dough.

By the way, I loved the simplicity of your site, so nicely done on web design.

j*

jerryW
09-04-2001, 03:39 PM
I offer dis honest critique to say dat I liked your photos but could not find the right bldg in toronto to match wrong way with.
the painting above is worth thousands of words.
keep painting.
dat's dat.

xinit
09-04-2001, 03:44 PM
jerryW

Terminal one at the Lester B Pearson airport should narrow it down a bit. I got that one developed at a lab in Edmonton, and it was the only shot taken in Toronto on that roll. The guy at the lab knew it instantly - I think he used to drive a cab in Toronto and so saw that bit of road all too often as he dropped people at departures.

cleo
09-05-2001, 12:56 AM
Originally posted by xinit
First to bottleman;

First of all, is the dark area on top part of the painting or just a photographic problem? Also, is there texture of some kind in parts of this painting?

The piece that I included is likely the glossiest piece I have, and also has a lot of rather deep texture. It was a pain to light this one for the slides in order to show the texture a bit without being blinded.



no one cares about excuses. I either is or it isn't. In this case,
its mildly amusing.

You want ribbons, go to a bake off.

I'm not really that harsh, you have real talent. Push it, go for it!
I don't know, but I do know, this is not it.

cleo

xinit
09-05-2001, 01:40 AM
Originally posted by cleo


no one cares about excuses. I either is or it isn't. In this case,
its mildly amusing.

You want ribbons, go to a bake off.

I'm not really that harsh, you have real talent. Push it, go for it!
I don't know, but I do know, this is not it.

cleo

I'm not really sure I understand what you're saying here... I was answering a question asked by someone about whether the darkness in the image was photographic or not.

What's amusing?

This is not what?

Ceu
09-05-2001, 02:10 AM
". Not everybody had to speak up in them, but if you did you had to be honest and attempt to be constructive without pandering. "

ok with this you completly lost me , as english being my second language, I am at loss. wich I do at times I get to be dumb, ignorant whatever you want to call. And this is one of those times where the meaning of your response I can't understand without looking at every work in a dictionary and putting all together
"pandering" what does that mean?,
so you have taken this whole being honest critique into a new level.
Anyway like I said I do like what I see, and also what I saw in your website.
.take care.

xinit
09-05-2001, 02:27 AM
Ceu

I had to go look it up to get a good definition. It means "to provide gratification for others' desires" or in the case of a critique, telling someone what you think they want you to. That is, to tell them they have good work regardless of what you might really think.

It may have been the wrong word to use if I really sat and thought about it, there'd be a closer one.

JeanineJ
09-05-2001, 02:44 AM
I saw a blazing warrior headdress in this piece... projection upward versus melting down... The band toward the base holds it together... lines fan out toward top...

Skipping through all the words, I did not find any mention of the dimensions or medium. My guess is that it is quite large and would irrevocably alter whatever space it occupies indoors or out...

I believe it would draw people in and not give all of their pieces back - the way a fire consumes. Powerful!

lori
09-05-2001, 05:05 AM
firstly, if you send out a slide with this quality of lighting, you can forget about your work even being looked at. it is a HORRIBLE quality photo, and making excuses about how difficult it is to photograph will get you no where. (you say you want honesty)

if you want to photograph a high gloss work, skew the angle and straigten it out in photoshop, or use a filter. this photo is unacceptable and UNPROFESSIONAL. if you are seeking serious grants, you won't even get them to bat their eyes in your direction with this photo.

secondly, from what i can see of this work (which isn't very much, so my crit is very limited) it lacks depth. just because you put color to a canvas, doesn't mean you've made a picture. this detail is more obvious in representational work, but in abstract it gets lost...

composition, perspective and movement are a HUGE element of abstraction. so far you have only mastered a very limited view of color. they are nice colors, but so what...

keep painting, get a better lighting set up and keep plugging away at grants, but don't expect results on marginal work with excuses. i'm talking about succeeding in the real world here....

it was honesty that you wanted...right?

good luck

pax.lori