Everyday Inspiration: Day 12 – Critique

Offering genuine critique or construction criticism is actually quite difficult, as a Mentor and Artistic Coach I have had to do it several times, and occasionally even on pieces I personally did not like. It is very easy to say “yes it’s nice” or even just to hit the ‘like’ button, but have you actually stopped and really looked at the piece of art or photo?

What do you like or loathe about it; the color, tones, B&W, what about composition, style, genre. Is it something that makes your heart sing or cringes? Does it speak to you and tell you stories? Is it harsh, or soft and pretty? Is it political, funny, quirky, scary or just plain weird?

I have looked, and I mean really looked at pieces of art, hand created or digitally, as well as photos and I honestly think that if something speaks to you, you take the time to make a comment. I know that we all get busy, but seriously that seemingly small comment or compliment can mean the world to the artist, I know – I adore it when someone says something ‘spoke’ to them. I love it when someone tells me WHAT they love about a piece.

I once saw a shockingly political piece of conceptual art, but a young man who was torn to show it, he got scathing comments and highly critical judgment…I thought it was exquisite and sensitive on a shocking subject of depression. I wish I could show the image, it was simple by design, yet it spoke louder than words. It was a photo of a naked man sitting on a toilet with just clown makeup on and he had a pistol in his mouth. I do not like guns, but this simple honest piece spoke of the earth shattering depression some people go through. The bright colors and dark overtones put the subject in juxtapositional light. Clowns are always happy, aren’t they? People often show on the outside, what they expect the public wants to see, never showing the true pain and suffering inside. I thought it was a brilliant piece of art and told him so. I also told him people will probably hate him for it, and he said they did. Not all art is pretty and beautiful.

Now, just for something different, I will attempt to critic a piece of my own, as I will not usually critique someone else’s unless I am asked.


JuliePowell_Fine Art Study-1
Fine Art Nude Study

I broke several rules with this piece, the rule of thirds and scale and hierarchy and even placement, some might say. But I like it. I love the color, how the warm skin and reds pop against the cooler blues and greens, Ā I adore the soft light and dark shadows. I love the Monet inspired treatment I gave in the painted finish, I even like the faint, almost missed and certainly unreadable text I incorporated over the top…what does it say?

I am not happy with how the toes came out, all squishy, and I have lost a little detail in the hair. The medallions within her hair have been lost in the finer details, as did her tattoos, although I admit in being torn a bit about those. In the end with painted texture made them looks like dirty splotches so I removed them.

Overal I am very happy with this piece, and more importantly, so is the model and I have had lots of lovely feedback and people telling me they think it is lovely and exquisite, they enjoyed the play of color and light and shadow. It spoke to them of feminity and strength and beauty. Thankfully no one said it was horrible, or rude.

What do you think? Please I am happy to hear your thoughts.

~ Julz