The value of a good critique

This is a reblog of a popular post from my Artdog Observations blog. It was originally published on May 16, 2013.

In your creative life, how often do you seek out an honest and knowledgeable critique? 

Most artists are vulnerable creatures.  We make up new things out of assorted sources, imbue them with our personal vision, and then place them out into the harsh glare of an uncaring and often hypercritical world. To think of seeking a critique is always somewhat fraught with pain and fear.

I present my work to the group at the InterUrban ArtHouses ArtMatters Critique Night on May 1, 2013 at the Vintage House in Overland Park, KS.

We do the best we can, but many times we just can’t figure out (or don’t realize we haven’t figured out) the Ultimate Best Possible Solution to the creative problem we have decided to tackle.

We can’t “see the forest for the trees,” because we are too close to the subject.  In my dog-show circuit days, we called that being “kennel blind”: you can see the problems with other people’s dogs, but you are blind to the problems in your own dogs.

Recently I have participated in several, extremely helpful critique sessions, focused on either my artwork or a science fiction novel I am writing. Different fields, different media, and from different sources. The photo above is from a notable recent evening (more to come).

But in each case I not only discovered solutions to problems I’d been having with the work in question—I  also became highly energized to leap back into the work with even more focus than before.  

Followup note: the InterUrban ArtHouse has grown and expanded its mission since this article was originally written. Read more about its current scope on its website.

IMAGE:I owe a huge debt of gratitude to the InterUrban ArtHouse and its Facebook Page, and to the multi-talented Nick Carswell, for the photo of my paper sculpture presentation at the ArtMatters Critique Night.

Published by

jansgephardt

Kansas City-based Jan S. Gephardt is a writer, artist, and teacher. She makes nationally-recognized paper sculpture and writes sf mystery novels about a sapient police dog.

Leave a Reply