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mmcaloon
04-12-2006, 03:19 PM
Structured crtiques have been mentioned a couple of times in recent threads. I went searching/researching the other forums on the same subject. Well I'm back with a couple of questions for you guys.

If I post in the Gallery and request a "structured critique" I then specify what I am looking for: i.e Critiques of values, composition, colors usage, what I did right, etc. I should expect responses that only deal directly with my sturctured request and no general responses.

If I post in the Gallery and request a "open critique" I should expect specific responses that only deal with areas where I need work, did something right, might do something different etc. and no general responses.

If I post in the Gallery and don't specify, or I ask for "Comments and Critiques", then I should expect almost anything except rudeness.

Is that a correct assessment?

artmom
04-12-2006, 03:29 PM
Mike, not being a Guide or a Moderator, I can only tell you that the last mentioned critique is the only one that we've had in the Watercolor Forum since I joined.

That does not mean that members have not given Structured Critiques, and, or Open Critiques. They have, but not particularly named them that.

The Structured Critiques that have been mentioned over the last few days, in my mind, are the ones in the Critique Center Forum.

We can only hope that rudeness is not included in a critique, but, I must admit, some people see rudeness where I don't! :eek:

Again, this is only my opinion. In others' opinions, it may be right or wrong. Please don't bash me if it is.

Lyn

mmcaloon
04-12-2006, 03:52 PM
No bashs only hugs....http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/12-Apr-2006/54420-big_hug.gifhttp://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/12-Apr-2006/54420-big_hug.gif OMG I'm image stuttering.

artmom
04-12-2006, 03:56 PM
:D Hugs back at ya'!

BTW, when I first joined WC! I was just learning (still am) how to do watercolor. I found a few members whose work I admired and PMd them, asking them to take a look at my work and critique it (harshly, if need be). A couple of those members were Pampe and Mustcreate. I found them to be extremely helpful, and they gave me great critiques, that helped me learn.

I also found that newbies asking questions are a great help to me in looking at my own work and trying to explain how or why I did something. Just because someone is a newbie or not "trained" in art or watercolor does not mean their critiques or suggestions are not valid and helpful.

Lyn

Strawberry Wine
04-12-2006, 04:59 PM
Hi Mike; I have to agree with Lyn, the place to get a structured or open critique is in the critique forum, which I have yet to post in.

I do occasionally PM a particular artist for some structured feedback...

What I would like to see is more critique here in this forum when an artist asks for it. Perhaps a sub category in the Gallery could be added for that purpose. So often, there are so many "wonderful" comments in a thread that I hestitate to post a critique unless I know the artist well.

Looking forward to seeing what kind of feedback you receive from your very interesting questions.

Cheers,

Gail

painterbear
04-12-2006, 05:25 PM
Mike,
I think you did a marvelous job of self-response, LOL! Your breakdown of the different types of critiques that are possible is really very well done. I think the responses to your threads would also vary if you mentioned you wanted any one of those types of critiques right at the start.

However, I think Lyn is right, there is a formal setting for each of those types of critiques in the Critique Forum. If you want to respond there, you have to sign up as a "critiquer" and read the guidelines they have developed for that Forum. One of which, if I remember correctly, is no "Oh, that's so beautiful" type of responses are allowed. :rolleyes:

Gail, I know what you mean about not wanting to say anything that might be perceived as negative if there have been a dozen gushing comments before yours; however, fools rush in where :angel: fear to tread and I often will point out something that may be bothering me in a painting (usually after finding something to praise beforehand). You'll be surprised then how others will speak up once you've made the first step. ;)

Sylvia

Uschi
04-12-2006, 05:52 PM
Mike,

However, I think Lyn is right, there is a formal setting for each of those types of critiques in the Critique Forum. If you want to respond there, you have to sign up as a "critiquer" and read the guidelines they have developed for that Forum. One of which, if I remember correctly, is no "Oh, that's so beautiful" type of responses are allowed. :rolleyes:
Sylvia


They are brutal:eek: , no sugar coating whatsoever. I remember one of our members courageously posting his/her painting there and then crying all night long.

Personally I think the only way one can really critique a painting is if the artist clearly states the intent and expectations they had for that particular painting.

If we don't know what they had in mind how can we possibly critique i.e. if someone intends to paint high key and we'd keep saying "more darks, more darks" our comments would be totally off the mark, whereas if they tell us "I wanted glistening sunshine in there" and there is none we can critique and suggest remedies.
Uschi

CharM
04-12-2006, 06:11 PM
Thanks for starting this thread, Mike! It's great...

Uschi beat me to the punch with her comments... and I agree wholeheartedly... my 2 cents worth ----->

Ask and ye shall receive...

Describe and explain the intent of your painting... what you hoped to achieve... what you were striving for... what gave you grief... These little descriptives provide clues for our members on which to build their responses.

A statement (which I've seen, btw) like "I painted this... enjoy." will ultimately get responses like "beautiful work", "bright colour", "lovely"...

If you want comments and critiques (which I, personally, enjoy), then state that... It allows some amount of banter along with constructive criticism... I've learned a great deal in the past 3 years from this type of posting.

If you have neither the time nor the patience for chitter chatter and you really aren't interested in kudos, then ask for a Structured Critique. Explain your intent... explain any frustrations or problems you felt you encountered... You won't get as many responses, but quantity isn't always quality...

If you don't mind a few kudos, then ask for an Open Critique... Again, offer some kind of preamble that explains what you did and why... An open critique is a little more gentle than the Structured, but it allows you some wiggle room and people who might feel uncomfortable offering absolute specifics might be more apt to post.

If you want something... ASK for it!

I have observed that our members are quite reluctant to make criticizing remarks in the threads of established artists... As the posting artist, it's your job to make them feel at home offering ANY type of criticism or comment... excepting, of course, blatant rudeness or disrespect.

And when someone offers a piece of advice that you don't agree with, you must accept it gracefully... not everyone is going to love your work... it's a given...

I really do believe that we have the ability to satisfy all our artists' needs right here in our watercolour forums... Always a two-way street, you get what you give...

JustjoGA
04-12-2006, 06:15 PM
This may be the improper place to ask, but I keep seeing
"high key" mentioned... Can someone tell me what exactly
is meant by "high key" painting?

I rarely make a statement meant as a critique, because
I am of the "I don't know much about art, but I know what
I like" thought ... I do sometimes post agreement if
someone has given a comment or critique that I concur
with.

JustJo

Celeste McCall
04-12-2006, 07:00 PM
Hi Jo, here are 2 great pages for high key explaination:

http://www.nitaleland.com/project/colorkey.htm

http://filmschoolonline.com/sample_lessons/sample_lesson_cinematography.htm

Hi Mike,

I was taught that the only time we need to worry is when we think that we don't need constructive critiques. :D :D :D

Now, as to those who are just learning art? I don't think that critiques should be used at all. Just kudos on the parts that they did right and explain why you think that they did good in a certain area. If they then ask, "how about that area?', then tell them how they could fix that but letting them know that is not the only solution and only an opinon..

You explained what each critique was to the letter. :D :D :D You're a smart cookie. ;D

pampe
04-12-2006, 07:44 PM
I am a guide in the OPEN CRITIQUE forum...and help in Structured and the WC Gallery

It is set up to be a more "structured" area than the general media or subject forums. They are also not medium specific so there are oils, pastels, and even digital posted for critique.

What you will see is less OFF TOPIC remarks.

You have to specify what you want to know...that does NOT exclude you from getting that information here in this forum....but, historically, the critiques here have been less "structured" even when requested

That probably makes no sense.....*wink*

I suggest you visit those forums to see what goes on.

JustjoGA
04-12-2006, 08:29 PM
Celest, thanks for the links! Explained exactly
what I wanted to know, on a level I could easily
understand... Good information!!

JustJo

raian
04-12-2006, 08:37 PM
Mike, good question! I always try to give positive things I like about a posted work as well as what doesn't work for me with it. I hope people understand this is my opinion only and that what I suggest may or may not improve the piece in the creators mind ;)

Usually when I have come right out and asked for help or critique, I get it and it's always been helpful to me.

I've not been a recipient of or even read any rude responses in our Watercolor Gallery :)

hopefulbucky
04-12-2006, 08:42 PM
Pam, I did visit the critique section as I wanted to see what it was all about. I actually did offer a small critique on a painting in the open.

I don't believe we newcomers to painting should be shy or stay away from also giving our critiques. After all this is part of the art process as well and if we don't know the proper words so what? We can explain and learn as we go, gently kindly and hopefully constructively but as everyone has pointed out politely and never rude or in my opinion with a know it all attitude, nothing will scare away someone like this.

I know the feeling of hesitating to critique a well known person (not necessarily a professional) but I do go "where angels fear to tread" many times and other folks might not agree with what I see but who does see everything exactly the same?

We are here to learn but also to encourage. I would encourage all of those that say they are too shy or don't feel they have the right words or knowledge, sure they do "art and beauty is in the eye of the beholder" so that means whatever you see is either beautiful to your eye or so-so or really something that will bother you tremendously.

Well that is much more than my 2 cents worth probably $1's worth but it is worth about the 2 cents these days. LOL

Celeste McCall
04-12-2006, 08:42 PM
Dear Jo,
You have one of the most bubbly personalities and I've always enjoyed reading your posts. :D :D :D

If you ever need me to help in any way concerning art, just let me know. I would be honored by your request. :D :D :D There's nothing more fun to me than sharing and helping others.

mmcaloon
04-12-2006, 11:00 PM
Thanks for all the replies and opinions concerning this subject. I can honestly say I was terrified when I posted my first painting. I got some "kudos" it felt good and relieved alot of my fear.

And I also got great information and constructive information/instruction from Char. (Which I still remember to this day - OPAT and "white isn't white".) I knew right then I had found the place for me to be.

I have recieved great help here from Celeste, Sylvia and too many others to mention them all here. I now find myself wanting more of that assistance in evaluting my work and improving, and as Char has said - I will be better about clearly asking for it.

Thanks to all

OK talk among yourselves I'm off to bed.

Fireman's kid
04-12-2006, 11:28 PM
Mike, thanks for posting this thread. It has made me think, both about my intentions with a painting and what type of critique I want and how to get it.

I agree that the kudos help alleviate the fear but also leave me thirsting to improve. And I know where the best teachers are... right here on WC! :D

FriendCarol
04-13-2006, 02:58 AM
Sticking my own 2 cents in... Helpful critiques are very hard to come by, all over WC!, not just in this forum. It is actually not easy to critique a piece, not because it requires technical training or 'art language,' only because it requires real, sustained attention, analysis, introspective reflection, and then expressing one's total reaction in a careful, precise, yet gentle and encouraging piece of writing.

Iow, giving a critique as opposed to kudos is a lot like being a loving, attentive parent as opposed to being a busy or distracted one. You don't need a degree in parenting to do a good job.

Over a year ago I moved into a forum completely new to me, and began critiqueing abstract paintings... without understanding the schools, the 'art history,' the methods, or even the mediums! What many artists valued, I'm convinced, was that I was being honest and specific (as well as articulate).

I'm going to repeat here what I once wrote there (because I very rarely got a decent critique there, even though I wrote critiques for almost everyone on almost every piece, and despite begging for them!): How to critique a piece.

Look at it. What is your first reaction to the piece? Note that -- stick it firmly in your memory. Can you figure out why you feel that way about it?

Do you have any questions? Note those (could be technical questions, palette, what's the intention, anything). If you haven't got to this yet: how does it make you feel? Is there anything about it you really like, or really hate, or is it just sorta blah?

Now you have some raw material for your critique. The minimum is just to say one honest and very specific thing. If you are articulate, try to find something you like (it can be hard!), say that, then say the one thing you think would improve the piece most (but always honest & specific), then repeat something positive or encouraging, or just a general kudo-type comment (if you can't think of a second good point).

The thing is, even comments that are not on target, even comments that are very general, even comments that aren't very articulate -- all help the artist see through others' eyes. That's what I want from others when I post -- just to know what it looks like to other people. I feel entirely competent to evaluate the evaluations, but it's like pulling teeth to get some in the first place!

And if someone doesn't like your critique, that's okay. Don't worry about it! One online friend wrote recently (in another forum) that someone once critiqued a piece of hers saying it was too purple, and that helped her realize what she didn't like about it was that it was too yellow! Just say specific stuff, and it all helps somehow. It doesn't have to be art language, or well-written, or upbeat. It just has to be true (honest) and specific. That is always very, very helpful. ;)

Kate Mc
04-13-2006, 03:28 AM
Good question, Mike. I usually put "Comments and Critique welcomed" on my posts, hoping to get some constructive input. I love the kudos, too, though!

But I do think that sometimes people are reluctant to point out something that bothers them if there are a lot of kudos. So to help them out, I'll admit that there are one or two things that bother me about the painting, but I don't necessarily say what. That way, if they dont' bother the other artists here, then I know they're ok. If somebody sees something else that bothers them, they'll be less reluctant to mention it, I hope. It's really helped me to get good input. It also helps me train myself in self-critique--if others see the same things, then I learn from that too.

Speaking only for myself, if I ask for critique, I really want it. If someone takes the time to give it, I'm grateful. If I don't agree with what they say, then I still thank them, and file it away for future reference. But you're right, I NEVER expect rudeness. To be honest, I've also rarely seen it here.

LOL, in a recent exhibition, I asked one of the jury if he'd take a minute and give me some individual critique on my paintings. I'm glad that I had my armor on, because HE was brutal! But he also gave me some good information about my painting. (and also about what he looks for when he's on the jury)

I'd love to have a way to ask for 'structured' or 'open' input, but I think that those terms are not so well defined in this forum, and they wouldn't be clear to everyone who might read them.

I've been looking at the critique forum, and I haven't yet seen anything that I would classify as really harsh (at least not after my experience with the juror!). They're clear, and sometimes tough, but that's what I'd want if I posted over there. Which I intend to so next time I have one that I think warrants it.

One of the things I've always loved here is the bantering that goes on in our threads. It makes it fun to open them. I hope that this continues!

Great discussion.






Kate

Aquarelle10
04-13-2006, 04:40 AM
Lyn,I love this reply.

Just because someone is a newbie or not "trained" in art or watercolor does not mean their critiques or suggestions are not valid and helpful.

I love any queries from anyone,artists,non artists,professional or beginner.All ideas help open my eyes and see things from a very different light.

I learn from reading critiques to other artists as well.

Mike great thread,you seem to have answered your own question and I've learnt from reading the replies.:)

Re proper words? I make mine up as I go along and just hope they turn out okay!:o

Jean.

Olga
04-13-2006, 06:18 AM
Hi all,
As one of those who persists in trying to give critiques even when there are nothing but kudos ahead, I have to say that I do not quite agree with Celeste when she says that starting painters should not be given any critiques or suggestions. It might be destructive to list everything that could be improved, but I think it is healthier and more honest to point out a thing or two that could be worked on, rather than providing only undiluted praise.

Sorry for being a very skeptical me, but I must say that while I think the kudos are nice and I also enjoy giving and receiving encouragment, I think that when the volume of praise gets very high or when the poster only posts undiluted praise on painting after painting after painting, the comments cease to be fully believable.

I believe it is really important to formulate critique as personal opinion rather than as unquestionable truth, not to be patronizing and to be invariably constructive and respectful... but I suppose this is obvious. And I really think that critiques by people without a ton of experience painting can be very valueable as well... Being observant and perceptive is not the same as being able to wield a brush!
I have to say that personally I only give critiques and comments on paintings I already find attractive for some reason--if something really does not appeal to me, I do not comment at all (sometimes of course I also do not comment for otehr reasons--like lack of time...).
And finally, I make commenting and critiquing a part of my own learning process: trying to artciulate why I like somethng or why something bugs me in a painting, makes me learn myself. Saying "this is beuatiful" expresses my admiration (and often enough I can't really go beyond that) but teaches me less than explainign why I like something r waht would make me like it even more!

Oh grief... I do go on, don't I?

I really hope people will not be too intimidated to post their work nor so reluctant to hurt someone's feelings as to forgo offering critique, analysis, or suggestions!
:wave:
Olga


I think Char and Uschi also got it just right by emphasizing intent and the need to ASK for critique if one wants it!

painterbear
04-13-2006, 07:27 AM
I believe it is really important to formulate critique as personal opinion rather than as unquestionable truth, not to be patronizing and to be invariably constructive and respectful... but I suppose this is obvious. And I really think that critiques by people without a ton of experience painting can be very valueable as well... Being observant and perceptive is not the same as being able to wield a brush!
I have to say that personally I only give critiques and comments on paintings I already find attractive for some reason--if something really does not appeal to me, I do not comment at all (sometimes of course I also do not comment for otehr reasons--like lack of time...).
And finally, I make commenting and critiquing a part of my own learning process: trying to artciulate why I like somethng or why something bugs me in a painting, makes me learn myself. Saying "this is beautiful" expresses my admiration (and often enough I can't really go beyond that) but teaches me less than explaining why I like something or what would make me like it even more!

Hear, hear. Ditto to what you've said, Olga, that reflects what I am thinking also. :D

It is important to remember that a critique doesn't mean something must be "critical" to be meaningful. Expressing what you've gotten from a painting or pointing out parts of it that really appeal to you is a valid critique as well.

I've noticed several threads recently where the artist expressed what his and her intent was when the painting was made. This is very helpful when formulating a response. As far as having to use "artistic terminology" goes, my reaction to that statement was "WHY?" Does using multisyllabic terms make them any more valid than simpler terms that express your thoughts clearly so everyone reading them can understand? I had an excellent professor in college who showed us how to write clearly, succinctly, and without artificial frills (i.e.,too many "big" words trying to impress him ;) ).

Mike, you've started a very interesting thread and generated a lot of thinking and sharing ideas with one another—another wonderful aspect of Wet Canvas. :D

Sylvia

juneto
04-13-2006, 01:59 PM
In the Classes I attended ,when a Beginning Painter , and there were many . Every teacher I had critiqued hard, that was the way we learned not to make the same mistake over and over again. It also pointed out things that New artists don't even see . Without pointing out errors that won't pass muster, growth will not take place.
If WC is a Learning Place, critiques , should be a necessity, naturally, in a Kind and Civilized way.
I learned to be Hard - Nosed about it and view it as the only way I could get better , yes , it was often very Painful.The errors are there for everyone to see , so they need correction for anything to change . Finally after a considerable time ,You are able to look at your own work ,critically ,because that is what your Viewers and Judges will do at the end of the Game. It's that, or remain static .
June

Becky-Bob
04-13-2006, 02:19 PM
From my prospective, which I know is still quite narrowed I'm finding that if I actually am brave enough to critique, I learn something from the experience. Its almost as though IF if you speak it, it solitifies within you. The more you practice something, the more your eyes are open to more...the more that artist's eye develops.

I know Spritey mentioned (don't know if it is in this thread) not feeling worthy of critiquing...and I've certainly felt that way. Also feel that some people feel, hmmmmm she's critiquing me? And thats their deal...no problem. But I also feel that we don't really reach a point of solidifying things in our minds....making them OUR truth, and then in turn having that truth actually affect our painting, if we don't speak it. I just think that that is a principle in life.

Aquarelle10
04-13-2006, 02:22 PM
Olga and Sylvia,I totally agree with your views and really admire how you've put your points across so well.

Olga,you didn't go on!;)

I hadn't thought about describing just why a painting actually works for me until this morning when I was sat looking trying to imagine what I would change had the painting been mine.

Listing what works for you as a viewer might be just as helpful as listing what we would like to see changed in a painting.Sometimes we can pull our own work to bits so easily.Hearing someone elses point out what is right in it is also very constructive.

This is a brilliant thread and all the replies are so interesting.

Jean.

maryanne
04-13-2006, 02:55 PM
I do not quite agree with Celeste when she says that starting painters should not be given any critiques or suggestions.
As a beginning painter myself, I agree that suggestions are the only way beginners will make progress. If kindly given and specific, they'd be of great value in improving and not at all discouraging especially if mixed with praise for what was done well. Undiluted praise from every viewer does tend to sound insincere. If I ask for suggestions, I'm thrilled when a more experienced painter takes the time to point out where and how I can improve. If a person is too sensitive for constructive criticism they should just specify no comments - but I think they're losing out by it.

painterbear
04-13-2006, 03:41 PM
I've given this thread a rating and Mike a Merit point for stating his premise so well that it has lead to a very interesting and enlightening discussion and made many of us put on our thinking caps for a while today. :thumbsup:

Sylvia :D

CharM
04-13-2006, 04:08 PM
Slightly off topic, but not exactly... I received the Watercolor Magic Newsletter this morning and this was included:

Self-Critique Checklist—

Whether it’s a still life, pet portrait or landscape you’ve painted, put it away for a few days. Then with a fresh eye and an honest heart, take this checklist in hand and answer the following questions:



Does your eye stop at some point that’s not your focal point or center of interest? Place the painting in front of a mirror and look at the reflected image. What do you see?

Are your values accurate throughout the painting? Where is the value wrong? Should it be lighter or darker?

Does a color stand out as odd? If so, adjust it or find three more places to add that color to pull it through the painting.

How’s your drawing? Have you drawn an awkward shape? Does any object pull the eye away from the focal point?

Hard edges can be important for the focal point, but a variety of edges in the entire painting adds movement and interest. Do you have too many hard or soft edges? Is there enough variety?

Are all the lines of detail exactly the same width, length, value or color? Variety will keep the viewer’s eye engaged.


...and... Sylvia's right... Mike is definitely deserving of a Mentor Point!!!

mmcaloon
04-13-2006, 04:25 PM
Awwwww Shucks.....:o :o

Just trying to learn. The level of lessons and wrokshops available around the area where I live to someone who works is very limited. Advanced WC classes are hard to make. If it wasn't for this place I don't know what I'd do. Whether you like it or not you guys are my teachers and mentors. I consider this a world class classroom :thumbsup:

Aquarelle10
04-13-2006, 05:52 PM
I've learnt so much from this thread too.I hope we can keep adding to it.I'll certainly re think how I offer feedback in the gallery now.

Thank you very much Mike and I'm not sure if it's okay but I've given this thread a five star rating too.The discussion has been so valuable.

Jean.

Celeste McCall
04-13-2006, 06:03 PM
Hi again,
I agree with Jean's quote below:

Listing what works for you as a viewer might be just as helpful as listing what we would like to see changed in a painting.

When you tell a beginning student..."Oh, look how that light edge of the building that you have done next to that dark area just really brings it forward....way to go!"

If that is not teaching at it's finest, then I need to go back to school. :D :D :D

Most beginners start out copying other's work.

So, when I mean that a beginner doesn't need a hard critique then I am saying that when you point out what the original artist did so well in the original.....and that the student has accurately copied it....then there is no good that is going to come from a statement such as, "you didn't do it right, those darks are not dark enough...you didn't load your brush right. You will never be able to paint dark enough unless you load your paint brush after squeezing out the water!!!"

I've seen MANY a beginner china painter quit the classes over teachers that were like that. I have seen MANY MORE beginners that blossomed because of a nuturing teacher who pointed out gently what the student did right.

Or what the original artist did in the copy that the student is looking at and saying, "you know, when I want a darker color, I squeeze the water out of the brush and then load into the prepared wash."

Beginner artists are usually too busy trying to handle the brushes....mix washes....and paint and concentrate on filling in between the lines. It's my opinion that critiques of their work can be put off until they get much more comfortable at a stage when they begin to want their work to improve.

There is no doubt when an artist reaches this point because they move in the 'WHYS' which is a stage that signals that they want to learn how to make their paintings 'click'.

That 'why' will grow....it's addictive to the point of being rabid for those who go far enough with learning the why's.

Some students never get to the point of 'why', which is OK with me for sure. They are in the class to have fun and that's it. If they are having fun....and that's what they are paying for, then let them have fun for goodness sakes. They won't care if their work never improves. They are happy painting and many say, "I don't want to learn that '@#%^' anyway. I just want to paint." LET THEM HAVE FUN, I say. Why critique them ???

Just my thoughts on Jean's great quote.

Kate Mc
04-14-2006, 03:09 AM
Wonderful summary, Celeste. I absolutely agree that the level and kind of critique depends on the level and skill of the student. Many many people just want to play with paint and color, and that's wonderful. I started out that way.

I also think that when an artist gets to a certain level (normally determined by the artist him/herself) they need to know not only what works, but what doesn't, and how to fix that. They usually know themselves when they get to this level, and start asking for critique, instead of saying something general like "what do you think?".

It's at this point that IMHO we do that artist a disservice if we only say what works for us, and not what can make it better. I personally think that's why we see some artists here who stay for a while, developing their skills to a certain level, and then either quit or quit painting. It's no longer satisfying when we know it can be better, but dont' know how to make it better.

In my watercolor classes, every fourth lesson is just painting--no new material, but a chance to consolidate and use the things we've learned in the previous weeks. The students take turns bringing a reference picture, and we have a lot of fun. At the end, we put a mat around their work and have a critique. The critique is structured, and follows this format:

1. Drawing--perspective, proportions, etc.

2. Composition--or, "mise en page", in French. Not exactly formal composition (these are beginners), but more like focal point, relation of objects to each other and in space, tangential lines, etc.

3. Color--which pigments were chosen and why, how well they worked for this applciation, etc.

4. Other techniques--scraping, masking, lifting, etc. Here's where we usually talk about the application of the previous three weeks' lessons.

5. What works about this.

6. What doesn't work so well--here the artist usually begins the discussion (to teach them to self-critique and so the others feel free to add their critiques) I should add that my beginners are always the harshest critics. They can only see the 'mistakes', and not what works well. They compare their painting to what they had in their mind, but the others see it for what it IS. This is an important lesson for them, IMHO.

7. How to make THIS ONE better--here we talk about corrections that can be made to this painting--lifting, glazing, knocking back, cropping, etc.

8. How to make THE NEXT ONE better--here we talk about how to avoid the problems in the next painting. This is always about PLANNING.

I should add that I always put my own painting in this critique too, and show them the problems that I have with it, and encourage them to see the problems in it. Then we correct mine, and they correct their own at home. Or not, sometimes. :p Because the artist can choose to accept critique or not.


This structure works for us, and even though it takes time, my students say that it adds a lot of value to the class. We laugh a lot, and it takes the fear factor out of critiques for them. So when someday exhibit their works, they won't be crushed by harsh criticism. They know how to see and laugh about their mistakes.





Kate

Kate Mc
04-14-2006, 06:03 AM
Too late to edit!

In #6, above it should read, "I should add that my beginners are always their own harshest critics"

That's better.



Kate

laudesan
04-14-2006, 06:35 AM
............. but I think it is healthier and more honest to point out a thing or two that could be worked on, rather than providing only undiluted praise....Olga wonderful post!!

I do wholeheartedly agree with the above.

This is a learning art site and one can't learn on kudos' alone..;)

Mike terrific thread!!! Point from me too my friend!! :)

Celeste McCall
04-14-2006, 10:44 AM
Kate that's a GREAT post! :D :D :D Such valuable information that you wrote is a goldmine for teachers. :D :D :D

Now for the flip side of being a traveling workshop teacher:

I know a traveling teacher that used to take around 'don't' photos of other's works to workshops, and they tended to show how not to paint certain things as the artist had done. It was a good learning tool for some of us as the teacher would show us how to correct the mistakes and make the painting better.

Others thought that the teacher was rude in doing so. (I certainly didn't think so, though)

Maybe it takes 5 positives on what the artist did right to 1 of what they missed?

Just because the teacher saw things wrong with the paintings, didn't mean that they didn't like the painting's overall success. Some people took the teaching method in a wrong way though. ;)

Unfortunately, since they didn't know the kind soul that the teacher was and how the teacher admired the paintings that were brought to use as examples, then they didn't ask him back to teach any more workshops.


Another famous traveling teacher told us to learn the 'do's'....not the 'don'ts'. She said that the 'do's' are easier because there are fewer of them.

Although I don't agree completely with her on that statement, it does take less time to teach the 'do's' and it's easier and faster,perhaps, for beginning students to learn them.

She gets booked over and over.

Then, again, there are even other traveling teachers, who by wit and charm and skill, get booked all the time by the same groupies who follow them around and who desire to be fed nothing except the 'don'ts'. They like the vinegar instead of the honey. :D :D :D

It's a good thing that art teachers come in all flavors.

:D :D :D

Olga
04-14-2006, 11:11 AM
It's a good thing that art teachers come in all flavors.


It's a good thing all teachers come in all flavors... :)

And it probably takes a long time to get to the point where one trusts the teacher enough to know how critiques are meant!
This story has nothing to do with art, but I think it shows how delicate the situation can be. I once wrote "a bit dense" on a margin of my PhD student's chapter... She was devasted and came to tell me so... I was in total shock--and started to explain that all it needed was a bit more explanation and elaboration. It then turned out she had thought I called her not the passage "dense"... :eek:


:)

Both Char's and kate's lists are great!


Olga

Celeste McCall
04-14-2006, 11:14 AM
Great post Olga....and certainly shows how the written word can be misinterpreted for sure. Thanks for sharing it. :D :D :D :D :D And you're right....all teachers come in all flavors. ;)

CharM
04-15-2006, 08:55 AM
Some interesting reading... right here on WC!

6 Techniques For Handling Criticism (http://www.wetcanvas.com/Articles2/558/343/)

Giving Critique - a Check List for Critiquers (http://www.wetcanvas.com/Articles2/509/168/)

ameliajordan
04-15-2006, 09:50 AM
This is a great thread!!! How to get constructive comments on the gallary isn't easy but I'm going to take the advice given. If someone says C & C I will assume they mean it and try to be helpful. If they don't, I'll assume they don't want it. If we follow this, folks who want the help will ask for it and expect more than just :clap: It's seldom that we don't see something that is good as well as something that could be improved.

I don't think we should get hung up on making comments if we aren't an advanced or professional artist - many can see what is needed better than they can produce it.

Also sometimes you get carried away on what you're trying to paint and forget the obvious - such as annoying tangents - until someone points them out. I think if someone is willing to take the time to look hard and comment it's a great favor.

Thread gets point from me too, Mike

painterbear
04-15-2006, 10:12 AM
I'm still following all the interesting discussion going on here. What hath Mike wroth! LOL! :clap:

Sylvia

artmom
04-15-2006, 04:44 PM
To clarify the posting guidelines for the Watercolor Gallery,
here is the explanation put in place during the last re-shuffling of the forum and sub-forums, and I quote from the main Watercolor page:

"Watercolor Gallery

Post your FINISHED artworks here. Critique and comments certainly welcome unless poster has specifically asked for none."

Instead of always having to [B]ask for C&C, this provides an avenue for letting members know that you are either not interested in critiques and/or comments or that you don't deal well with critiques/comments that might be too harsh for you.

Do we need the Mods to re-phrase this again?

Lyn

Arnold Lowrey
04-15-2006, 06:15 PM
Hi Mike
I was always taught
Negative criticism is given by negative people and should always be ignored
Positive criticism is given by positive people and is always welcome
Arnold

Celeste McCall
04-15-2006, 07:56 PM
Wow, Arnold, that's the best advice I've seen for what should be ignored or welcomed. It's been a real treat to hear your opinions. ;) :D :D :D :D :D

mmcaloon
04-15-2006, 10:36 PM
Wow, Arnold, that's the best advice I've seen for what should be ignored or welcomed. It's been a real treat to hear your opinions. ;) :D :D :D :D :D

I heartily second that.

Lynn Quinn
04-16-2006, 12:03 AM
Great thread, Mike, and everyone else! Very thought-provoking.

Just some possibly irrelevant tidbits::D
1. I'm not comfortable giving critique if someone hasn't asked for it, as I'm not sure they know if they have to ask NOT to get it! (if this makes no sense whatever, sorry -- really tired!):confused:

2. As a result of hanging out here for a while, I'm finding there are more and more different styles/approaches that I have come to like (even though they are totally different than mine), as I am exposed to more variety. So my comments might be very different than they would have been a year ago. (Not saying I've not always tried to be positive, but that I usually didn't/don't say much if a painting doesn't appeal to me.)

3. Lately I've hardly had the time to spend that I would like to, to look and respond to everyone's work. But sometimes I still want to give kudos when I really like something, even if I don't have the time to properly critique. Also, sometimes I love everything about a painting, even if it has broken a rule or two.

4. There have been occasions when I've tried to give thoughtful input on what could be improved, or even to ask a question about someone's work, only to have it completely unacknowledged. I'm certainly not expecting that the artist will necessarily agree with me, but letting me know they've read my
comment would encourage me to share an opinion in the future.:angel: :p

5. I have really enjoyed/appreciated all of the helpful critiquing all of you have given me! If I haven't adequately acknowledged and thanked YOU, then I do so now!:clap: :heart: :clap:

mmcaloon
04-17-2006, 04:03 PM
We have seen the checklist for the Critiques forum, which is pretty good.

Char I think brought up the current issue of Watercolor Magic which has a simple checklist.

Did a google thing and came up with a site. The site proposes an extensive Self-Critique Check list. The check list is divided into General, Composition, Drawing, Light, Color, Creativity, ansd conclusion. Click here to go to the checklist (http://www.artistscloset.com/resources/self_list.html
).

I remember getting, from somewhere, a self-evaluation checklist for your paintings. It had around 10-12 items to look for in a painting. At the time I thought it was a great piece of advise. I thought it came from here but can't find it anywhere, and lost my copy. If any one remembers that could you PM me.

FriendCarol
04-18-2006, 01:37 AM
Mike, there are extraneous characters in that link. :D I've copied it, and will test to make sure it works: http://www.artistscloset.com/resources/self_list.html

Aquarelle10
04-18-2006, 02:37 AM
Negative criticism is given by negative people and should always be ignored
Positive criticism is given by positive people and is always welcome
Arnold

Arnold this is a keeper! I do enjoy your replies so much.

Char,I found the link re handling critique really interesting reading.Whilst we often spend time worrying about how we give advise it is worth equally taking time to consider how we take it.

Mike,you've opened the doors for some wonderful feedback here.

Jean.:)

artmom
04-18-2006, 02:14 PM
...here's a link to a poll:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=92834 for those who might have missed it.

:)

Lyn

mmcaloon
04-18-2006, 03:55 PM
Lyn went to your link. I read the entire thread and immediately felt "this horse has been rid befor'". Over three years ago.

At first I felt wow did I just waste everyone's time. But after thinking about it and re-reading this thread I don't think so. This is obviously something that is on our minds and comes up alot. To me I feel it is important that we use effective tools to evaluate our work and grow. I have a feeling most of us are here to learn and grow (putting having a good time aside for a bit).

You can see by reading that thread and this one a common theme: ask for what you want and be specific.

I for one, am going to workup a personal checklist, and when I can't answer one of the questions then I will ask for input in that area. This may help me formulate my requests better.

CharM
04-18-2006, 07:00 PM
I for one, am going to workup a personal checklist, and when I can't answer one of the questions then I will ask for input in that area. This may help me formulate my requests better.

Well, don't great minds just think alike!!!!! I did that this morning, Mike!!! *laughing*

I feel that this thread really gets into the meat of the matter... our poll discussed our feelings about critiques, whereas this thread offers concrete suggestions and reading material...

Both threads are invaluable!

mmcaloon
04-18-2006, 07:24 PM
I found this in my Painting Stuff folder it said it came from Wet Canvas. I really have no idea where, but this is the one I was talking about earlier. I was impressed with it then and still am. The artist is Robert Genn

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

There is a Canadian artist who sends out e-mail letters twice a week to those who want to subscribe....in one of his most recent musings, I found this to be most interesting. This is a very professional site and well worth viewing...

He gives a max of 10 points for each category for a maximum score of 140.
50 points and you are "in" ;-)
The full article with comments by other artist's can be found here.
www.painterskeys.com

Compositional integrity. A composition that knows its edges, balances internally and "works" in the "big picture." The superior creative eye often simplifies and is not distracted by minor elements or extraneous detail.

Sound craftsmanship. No sloppy craftsmanship detected. Artist appears to be grounded in accepted means of application, order, and seems to have knowledge of media chemistry. Work looks like it is not liable to fall apart shortly.

Colour sensitivity. Appears to have understanding of colour choices—complementary, analogous, etc. Often shows colour paucity and attention to sophisticated grays. I hate to use the word "taste," but I will.

Creative interest. Subject is creatively different so that it attracts, leads and holds my attention to the artistic and creative elements within the work. I often become aware of a greater creative mind at work.

Design control. Artist appears to have an understanding of how the eye is managed and led by the design, flow and activation of a work—effectively 'seducing' me. I often have the feeling of a masterful eye managing mine.

Gestural momentum. Brushwork or line-work is often expressive and has bravura, bravado, courage and élan. It often shows variety of stroke and is generous in the "hand made" conveyance of visual energy.

Artistic flair. Artist does something beyond blind representation and/or just moving the materials around in some form of lazy play. Work has style and panache and captivates in its artistry. "Wow, that's artistic!"

Expressive intensity. All stops are pulled to enhance the central idea or general motif. It can be a "look," a mannerism or an illusion, but the intensity convinces me of the presence of a non-jaded, passionate, particular author.

Professional touch. Artist avoids amateur methodology and gives a direct, confident, seasoned look to the work. Some people seem to know what they're doing, others do not. Professionals often, but not always, tend to leave their strokes alone.

Surface quality. Up close and personal the surface is intriguing and a joy to cruise. This may be because of the texture, handling of pigment, or the complexity of surface abstraction, gradation, or other quality—anything that makes the surface fascinating.

Intellectual depth. Artist gives me something to think about. There is an enduring resource here—not just a pretty picture but a thoughtful metaphor or other device that has staying power without retreating to sentiment or kitsch.

Visual distinction. The art has a look of uniqueness, either with style, subject matter or handling. It looks different from what I've seen before, or if similar, arrests the eye with a unique feeling or look that denotes "character."

Technical challenge. Artist has chosen something that requires above average skills or technical ability. Not just something that anybody could do. I love to see artists challenge themselves, take the technical risk, and win.

Artistic audacity. Artist is "in your face" with some element that dazzles—skill, idea, technique, or some other in spades of the above mentioned points that makes me sit up and take notice.

Fireman's kid
04-19-2006, 01:45 PM
I'm still following this thread (actually just catching up with it today) and am thrilled with the wealth of information contained here. I hope to make my own self-check list, although I'd be happy to use the efforts of Mike, Char or anyone else if you care to share yours either here or by PM. :D

In case anyone hasn't tried asking for the critique you want, let me tell you it works wonderfully. In my last thread Star Light, Star Bright (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=340018) I tried to state my intentions and what areas I desired feedback on and I got some wonderful responses. I learned alot by what people saw and commented on. And having to supply the information in the intial post helped me refocus on what I wanted the painting to say. That was probably one of the most valuable things.

So thank you Mike and everyone who has contributed here! Points and 5 star ratings abound! :)

mmcaloon
04-19-2006, 02:38 PM
In case anyone hasn't tried asking for the critique you want, let me tell you it works wonderfully. In my last thread Star Light, Star Bright (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=340018) I tried to state my intentions and what areas I desired feedback on and I got some wonderful responses. I learned alot by what people saw and commented on. And having to supply the information in the intial post helped me refocus on what I wanted the painting to say. That was probably one of the most valuable things. I followed your post and your are right I think it really worked for you.

I am still working on my self checklist. It is forcing me to really think about what it is I want out of my paintings. An interesting process in itself. I will share what I get when I am done.

artmom
04-19-2006, 03:56 PM
Mike, I in no way was demeaning this thread, or suggesting you should not have started it!!! :eek:

I just thought that as many others had discussed a similar topic, it might add to the discussion or at least to our knowledge base!

I'll keep my thoughts and polls on this subject to myself from now on.

Lyn

mmcaloon
04-19-2006, 04:18 PM
Never felt that you were demeaning the thread at all. Sorry you got that impression. Actually thought it was great that you showed that. I thought the poll was good and the whole thread also, and it did add to the discussion.

The way I felt was that this is obvious a hot subject since it was brought up and discussed before. Having not been here as long as some I sometimes feel I am being redundant on some issue as they have already been discussed. Howeve, that is not going to stop me from bringing them up though. :D

Lyn you are more than welcome to jump in any thread I start at anytime. You always add good stuff. (( :heart: ))

giddy up
04-19-2006, 04:19 PM
Always remember:
We are strengthened by criticism and sometimes ruined by praise.

It is what makes us strive to do better and continue learning.

I have posted many of my works on here over the last few days, expecting and wanting critique. I know some are good, but I want them to be great.
I like to hear how someone may compose it differently or use a different color choice, whatever.
any and all advice is always welcome with me. :clap:

artmom
04-19-2006, 04:33 PM
Mike, :heart: you, too. :)

Lyn

laudesan
04-19-2006, 11:18 PM
Discussion is the heart and soul of what we are doing here, making art..:) It is good to bring things up over and over again, there is always someone who can add something different and real interesting conversation to the topic..:)

Celeste McCall
04-20-2006, 07:52 AM
I got a laugh reading this one (I'm sure that you all have seen this before probably) He has a cute way of explaining his thoughts:

http://www.goshen.edu/art/ed/percy1.html
____________________
Also:
Hi Giddy up. If you want a crit from me, then let me know and I'll try really hard. ;) But so far, your paintings are really refreshing with the cows, horses, etc. These sure would sell good where I live. :D :D :D

CharM
04-20-2006, 08:12 AM
:lol: :lol: :lol:... and they're truisms, Celeste!!!

laudesan
04-20-2006, 08:52 AM
Perfect Celeste..... :D :p

mmcaloon
04-21-2006, 03:59 PM
As I said I have been compiling and coming up with my checklist to use when done with a painting to self crtique but also ask for critique. I said I would share what I am going to use so here it is.

This checklist is adapted from a couple of sources: They are:
The Artist Closet: How to self-Critique Your Artwork by L. Diane Johnson; http://www.artistscloset.com/resources/self_list.html; the other is
Painter’s Keys by Robert Genn
Http://www.painterskeys.com

I organized and re-worded what I found for my use. I really should put the whole thing in quotes, with the above as a footnote. I did focused on what was important to me. For instance because of my fascination with light and how strongly I feel it is critical, there are several points on it alone. Anyway, here is what I came up with for my use: Please keep in mind the above reference sources. This is a complilation of their effort, I am not that smart. I just reorganized it and changed the wording for my better understanding in some places.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
THE CHECKLIST

1. Did I use a formal compositional plan when planning the painting (formal, thirds, Golden Mean, etc.)?

2. Are there parts of the composition that draw the eye into or out of the picture and what is the pattern of movement the eye will take?

3. Is the "focal point" or “point of interest” clear, and how is it identified?

4. In a landscape, are foreground, middle ground and background obvious?

5. Is the perspective correct throughout the composition?

6. Are the shapes and forms correctly depicted?

7. Do objects have any shared lines that shouldn’t be shared?

8. Are all objects connected, or grounded, visually to its environment?

9. Are the proportions and measurements between objects correct?

10. Are there any shapes that make no sense what they are?

11. Is the source and direction of light clear and the same throughout the painting? Are the light and shadows correct everywhere?

12. Did I correctly render the light in all areas of the work?

13. Are there hard as well as soft edges to define objects? Are lost edges present which contribute to a sense of depth and space in the picture?

14. If there are any reflections and shadows on other objects are they done correctly?

15. Is the aerial perspective (if a landscape) due to color/value correct?

16. What is the general value and temperature of the picture, and is it appropriate for the subject?

17. Are the colors at the appropriate intensity and brightness for the subject?

18. Are the colors "muddy" or clear?

19. Are the forms rendered correctly with color (i.e. Highlights, local color, reflected light, etc)?

FOOD FOR THOUGHT QUESTIONS after its all said and done.

While I was working on overall painting did it seem labored or did I feel at ease (free) and confident to just go with it?

Are there areas of the painting that came easy to me and other areas very difficult? Identify these.

Do I want to do it again? How would I do it differently?

What specific things can I do to correct problems identified in this painting/drawing?

What specific things were done well and are worth repeating in future work?

What specific things have I learned from the critiquing of this painting?

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Anyway that is where I am now. What do you think?

Am I going way overboard here?

mmcaloon
04-21-2006, 08:02 PM
opps

Celeste McCall
04-21-2006, 09:20 PM
Hi Mike,
That is a very good list. I have a checklist that I hand out at seminars that has things that only I look for and aren't included in these, but similar on a lot of them. Ours is for china painting...but same art critique. I get my best critiques from fellow china painters - no matter what I paint with.

Cherryl Meggs is probably one of the best evaluators that I know of. :D :D :D

Great thread Mike. ;) I hope all is well down where you are at...and not too hot. We've been having some great weather. Kinda scary for up here - we get nervous when the weather is this good. ;)

mmcaloon
04-21-2006, 10:32 PM
Great thread Mike. ;) I hope all is well down where you are at...and not too hot. We've been having some great weather. Kinda scary for up here - we get nervous when the weather is this good. ;) Its been unseasonably warm here all spring I fear the worst for summer.

I am hoping this will get me constructively thinking about what I am painting and how from the standpoint of the big picture.

I tend to worry too much about fleas and forget about the whole if you know what I mean. Learned alot from everyone's input here.

rue d'oak
04-22-2006, 04:23 AM
Mike,
Your summary check list is NOT way over board in my book..I greatly appreciate your pulling these ideas into one place. And the lists / guidelines offered by others. MUCH to consider in this thread.

I have been influenced by my professional work in facilitation and training to frame even the "negative" in positive terms as much as possible. I like the way Arnold epressed it - far more memorable and poetic! But sometimes it is critical to say the "bad news." Even with beginners. It is rather odd in nature how stress, pain, harsh factors are important to growth, beauty and evolution.

Providing the context for a critique or feedback is also important -- I mean, how could a fish swim without water? It really helps me to explain (when I post a painting) what my goal or intent was. Comments, and kudos even, then really have meaning to me. It works equally well for me when people respond without knowing much about what I intended -- because it really lets me "see" through their eyes. And while I paint for myself, I of course really hope to please others with what I create. So knowing how someone "reads" my work is very helpful. Painting IS a form of communication, yes? Is not feedback then simply, part of the converstion, interaction between the artist and viewer?

Thanks to all for your comments and insights. Even if much of this has been said and even archived elsewhere, this thread has been an opportunity to affirm the wisdom (for all the seasoned folks out there) and to introduce juicy ideas (for all of us with a little less watercolor / art world seasoning).

I'll be posting your great checklists and reflective categories / questions on my wall.

Jen

Arnold Lowrey
04-22-2006, 07:08 AM
Hi Mike
I came across this site which is tailor made for composition
I am very impressed
Arnold
http://www.currys.com/knowledge/landscape.asp

Arnold Lowrey
04-22-2006, 07:15 AM
Also
If you go into the knowledge library on the main site
http://www.currys.com/knowledge/
There is a whole of other useful information to keep you going for months
Arnold

artmom
04-22-2006, 07:39 AM
Arnold, thanks for those links. :)

The same article is on WetCanvas! here:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Articles2/135/120/

The Article Section of WC! has an amazing amount of articles of interest. :)

Lyn

Arnold Lowrey
04-23-2006, 01:48 AM
The intent is vital to the a good composition. What am i going to paint?
Why ama i going to paint it?
How am I going to paint it?
Without these answers you can go blindly forward
Arnold

mmcaloon
04-23-2006, 10:01 AM
The more I read these simple questions this more I agree. I have added these to my list as a pre-painting question section.

SETLUR
02-03-2014, 12:28 AM
how does one upload a picture?
I would like my stuff to be critiqued.
setlur

painterbear
02-03-2014, 05:25 AM
Hello Setlur,
Welcome to the Watercolor Forum. Check out this thread from The Learning Zone which contains info on how to size and upload your pictures: Watercolor Forum Posting Instructions (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=507417). :D

Sylvia