Critiquing Your Art Work

So far this year I have set a record for myself – the most wipers ever! By wipers I mean just what the phrase implies – wiping the paint off the canvas so as to start over. Ahhhhhh. Such a good feeling.

I went through all the steps for the wipers – i.e. value thumbnail, sketch on the canvas, and value under painting. But when the color was on and I stood back, the painting just did not work. Gah. I’m not sure what happened! I could have messed up the values when I added color, totally possible, but I just did not like the painting. So. Off came the paint.

I believe you are your own best critic when it comes to deciding what you will accept and not accept as representative of your work.

Here are some ideas for “critique” questions to ask your self. *

  • Is it pleasing?

  • Does it “read” from across the room?

  • Does it look like it belongs with other paintings of yours?

  • Do you like it?

  • Would you hang this painting in your home?

If I can answer “yes” to these questions, I will keep the painting on the team. My photographer husband and I joke that we have varsity pieces, second team work, and third stringers. The ones I wipe off are probably third string. Sorry, dear painting.

There is a freedom in knowing you don’t have to keep a painting if you don’t like it. So many times I have just continued working on a piece, thinking somehow more work would bring it back from the dead. Sadly, so far, it has not.

So take heart my friend. You can feel good about the paintings you put out into the world by setting a standard for yourself and your work and putting your best paint forward. I’m with you all the way.

Weightless |  11 x 14 | Oil on Canvas | © Beth Cole

Weightless | 11 x 14 | Oil on Canvas | © Beth Cole

*Critiquing isn’t the same as problem solving. There are always problems to be solved as you are painting and there are ways to do that. More on that in the next post. Thanks for following along.

— Beth Cole
Soli Deo Gloria