This how much I value critique…….I drove 48 miles (in traffic) to Pawtucket, in the adjacent state (RI) to visit Rhode Island Watercolor Society where they have a painting group and general critique every monday night! There do not appear to be any groups near me, or at least I haven’t stumbled upon them yet.
The things I value about a critique group:
1. They are open and free/positive with their suggestions. Initial comments are usually about what’s great in a painting, later comments are food for thought!
2. That suggestions are commensurate with the artist’s level of ability.
3. A “different eye” (ie. someone else’s eyes) sees things that may not stand out to you, even if you looked at your painting in the mirror (for a fresh perspective) or took a photo of it and looked at the view finder image only (seeing your painting in small format often makes mistakes obvious).
4. First reactions to a piece, are usually very informative! Oooo and ahhh’s definitely raise your self confidence! A long silence means it may not be easy for the audience to understand, especially if an abstract is presented.
5. Realistic paintings are generally easier to critique. Spotting a missed shadow or not quite perfect perspective, or too regular clumps of grass etc are easy to see, but abstract paintings require thought about design elements and principles. Everybody learns something when discussing the design elements and principles with respect to their painting or someone else’s.
6. Critiques are easy to accept if you have the attitude “With art, you never stop learning!”
7. Suggestions given by a group, can be acted upon or not, after all they are only suggestions and not a to-do list for your painting!