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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Herons and Art a Day Journal Pages and Art Critiques

I love watching birds, so graceful as they dance in the sky... transporting me to imagined places with the flutterings of their wings and charming songs...
Herons and Art a Day Page
The quick sketch above is from my Art Page a Day journal I started last November. I sketched from this picture which I took...
The local herony which boasts probably 30 or more nests in the Swamp Creek area is visible from the Park and Ride in Kenmore. Herons are beautiful large birds with 7 foot wingspans. Their babies have just recently hatched and huddle under or near the parent while others bring in food. For the sketch I experimented with a new pencil I picked up while on my Pt Townsend art retreat, a Stabilo CarbOthello (available at many on-line art stores). It is an opaque erasable water-soluble pastel pencil. I had never heard of water soluble pastels, but you can use these like watercolor pencils, very fun.

More Birds - Art Page a Day
These 2 pages are a bit of whimsy created from junk mail advertising... you can find good color combination and interesting patterns in catalogs, good for playing and recycling into collage. I seem to have quite a few pages with birds on them. I think I will have to do Flickers.

Art Critiques
I have joined yet another group... I was invited to be in a group of women painters where we will be critiquing 1 or 2 art pieces at each monthly meeting. So off I went with 2 experimental pieces in hand last week wondering what to expect. There are 10 of us, some I already knew, a friendly group with different styles and mediums. Of course, I love looking at other's art, and the socializing so am thrilled to be joining this group. And the feedback I received on my 2 pieces did seem to confirm my own feeling about them. I took the acrylic mixed media portrait in the upper right corner of my April 15 blog post. I was told not to touch it, just frame it! The other piece was Pearl Rises Above the Monsters of the Deep acrylic/mixed media piece blog post of March 31. This one I have continued to feel needs more, possibly something at the bottom... and that is precisely the feedback I received as well as suggestions as to what might be done. I haven't worked on it yet, but am considering possibilities and will probably use Photoshop to test out possible changes before applying real paint or more collage...

I looked up art critiques on The Painters Keys (a good resource for painters, by the way) site and found an interesting story from Robert, the site owner, about how he posted a painting and asked for critique. He was inundated with all kinds of opinions, including many conflicting opinions of how to improve his painting. Here's my favorite comment on that experiment from a reader, Karl Leitzel about art critiques:

"The many contradictory responses you got, and these mostly from actual artists, vividly illustrates why we can't get hung up on one negative review of our work, or one rejection notice from a juried show.
.." "I always try to keep a lot of irons in the fire and applications and entries out there, so that the rejection letter one day is often followed by a glowing acceptance the next."

I think that's where I am these days... I paint or make what I want and I know some will love it and think it's good art, and others not. It's important for me to continue to paint or make what pleases me, or else, why do it? However, that said, I am excited to take a journey with these painters in this critique group, as I have been experimenting with many other media these last few years. So this will motivate me to paint more often again and continue my experimenting with mixed media, as well as my traditional media of watercolor. The value for me may be in the inspiration of a group and reminders to myself to think about the typical elements of design, unity, balance, etc., but not getting so lost in those to be formulaic and lose the passion of just throwing on paint if I want to! Share your thoughts on this if you wish.

6 comments:

Meri Arnett-Kremian said...

That's the thing about art -- there's no one answer. Everyone has opinions. What is important is that a critique group be filled with people who can offer suggestions from the heart, with kindness and insight (free from meanness and envy).

HeartFire said...

Meri,
You are so right, it is all SO subjective, isn't it? And definitely agree with you about people critiquing speaking from the heart, no meanness...
I have come to believe that what really matters is the intention of the artist themselves and what they are trying to convey, and only the artist can know that. How the viewer(s) engage with the piece reveals much about the viewer and their frame of reference and not necessarily the success of the art piece...
Thanks for visiting my site Meri!

Margaret Ryall said...

A great post about art critique. I know you've visited my site and hopefully saw my posts on critique.

I find the whole critique process very helpful to me as an artist and I have several friends I go to consistently to discuss my work.I don't mind getting dissenting information about my work because I consider it all information for me to contemplate, but I get the final choices about what I will do or not do. That's a powerful position to be in. Only the artists holds all the pieces of the puzzle. Thanks for finding my blog, I'm adding you to my blog roll which I have set up to indicate everyones'updates. I look forward to checking in.

Anonymous said...

I have put a post it note by my computer, so I remember to look at your blog. Thank you for your kind words. Truly your blog is the best of any I have looked at and that is the truth! S

HeartFire said...

Margaret,
Thanks for your comments on the critiquing. I did get time to go back and read over your items on art critique which are very thoughtful and good ideas. And I SO agree that ultimately the artist themselves can use whatever info/suggestions are made or not, as they like, to suit their intent with the painting.
I also like the way you have informative posts listed in the sidebar that people can go back to easily. Wondering how you get those cute little arrows in front of the title... I may want to do something like that in my blog on other topics. I skimmed thru your posts on acrylic skins, that's on my list to try in the future!
You know, one blog leads to another, so don't remember how I found you, but am following your blog and will be checking in!

HeartFire said...

Dear S, thank you for the complement, it is so much fun to blog and connect with like-minded arty souls.