This week, Steve Doherty, Editor-in-Chief of American Artist Magazine asked if we artists have had uncomfortable experiences with groups of artists when in competitive situations. He posted a blog about it on American Artist's Forum
While I often seek constructive criticism from a few of my trusted friends, I generally avoid asking for critiques from people I don't know well. Sometimes, artists feel compelled to offer me a "lesson" concerning my work. The ones that do this, are often seen offering everyone else their opinion as well.
It seems to me that most of get enough instruction from workshop instructors (we pay for their opinion), books, and our own self-doubt. Sometimes, we are our worst critic. Knowing this, I hope to never give criticism unless someone explicitly asks me for it, and even when that is the case, I hope to begin offering my opinion with a positive statement.
We artists tend to be sensitive... sometimes overly so. I am. There are days when I can let things roll off my shoulders, but other days when it feels like fellow artists are ganging up on me. I suppose that sometimes they are indeed ganging up, but for the most part, my reaction grows out of amount of self-confidence.
When I show my work to non-artists, they don't pick my paintings apart... they either like them or they don't, and when they don't, they just ignore the paintings. Happily, for the most part, they do like my paintings and often give me money to take them home.
So let's encourage each other. It's not our job to point out every little flaw in the work of others. Even when they're paying us to do so... people can only digest so many sour notes at one time. Show our fellow travelers respect, but not butting in without their permission. Unsolicited critiques should be against the law for us. If you feel you must say something for the edification of another artist, ask their permission first.
As it says in Proverbs - don't pick the spec out of your neighbor's eye when you have a plank hanging out of your own.
Sign up for my free art instruction tutorials on this website!
2 Responses to Friendly Competition
Artists and writers lay their hearts out on paper and canvas... part of their souls.
Okay -- maybe a bit dramatic. But I meant it. If I take the time to frame a painting, that means it says what I want it to. That's really not the time to critique it, unless I've entered into competition or have specifically asked.
Isn't that a bit like advising me on how to dress or wear my makeup or fix my hair when I'm already at the party? To me, it's just a matter of common sense... :)
* indicates a required field