Saturday, November 6, 2010

Fresh Eyes

This piece has shrunk from 20"x20" to 16"x16" and the former had two windows but the finished piece alas, has none. The title stays the same "Fields of Boaz". acrylic, waxed thread, tissue paper collage and light molding paste. It has been quite a journey...somewhere in this paper is embedded the first page of the Book of Ruth (in Norwegian) ...I was getting dizzy from all the changes but thank goodness Rives BFK is strong stuff and it has reached it's end point for me.

I was complaining to friend Deena several weeks ago that I needed a critique...fresh eyes, support, collaboration, work was feeling slow. Actually I was feeling as though I was working in slow motion and I was longing to get out of my own way. Dear friend and wonderful person that she is... listened! For my birthday I received 4 critique sessions with a well respected artist here in Santa Cruz!! It was conditional on the grounds that we hit it off on our first meeting. Lisa came over yesterday and we placed the work on the floor for a good view. I am so pleased...first we did hit it off and second she gave me her fresh look, asked great questions, interesting reactions in a clear and respectful manner. I wrote down a list of new "takes" on my work, new clarity on my direction. I've had solid critiques at the university long ago and this was so appreciated. Along with new energy, I'll be planning on re-connecting with so called completed work and I have new plans to expand into my ongoing goal of producing forty new pieces. Always hard for me to go back into work but it is necessary as Pablo is doing re-writes on his first draft, I will re-enter older work... willing to accept a more alive completion. Tell me about your critique experiences? Have you found them helpful? after completing art courses...not expecting a pass or fail but just better understanding...supportive?

Mandala Update: While all this excitement with the critique has been going on, the mandala has been moving slowly. Base coat on and a strong desire to add layers. The number 8 (my personal favorite) and squaring the circle is also a strong pull so I'll give it a go!


  1. Mary Ann, I'm glad you found someone to give you a good constructive critique. It does sometimes take a fresh eye to give artists a clearer vision of our work, so we can decide on its future direction. We're so close to our own work, it's hard to see the forest for the trees, so to speak. I miss having someone to critique my work, and believe it's something we all need from time to time. I can't wait to see what comes of the insight you gain!

  2. Your new piece is very vibrant & moving....lovely palette, layers & texture. It all works for me!
    I rarely get a "professional" critique of my work & rely mainly on the reactions of friends & family, almost all non-artists. While they cannot really articulate anything but a general impression of like/dislike, interest/disgust....gut reaction, I can usually tell if I am getting through in any way shape or form.
    While I cannot read minds, I can sense a general "red" or "green" or neutral light. That being said, I can see that a serious consideration and creative view of ones work that evokes questions that hit the mark can stimulate and move an artist into aspects unseen beforehand. It takes courage and trust to go there! Good on you!

  3. This sounds like such a good experience Mary Ann. I used to take my paintings to someone for an art crit and have to admit, looking back that I did not benefit from these sessions as they stopped my experiments in their tracks. Your good friend Deena was so wise gifting you these sessions on condition that you hit it off with the art critic.

  4. I love this. Favourite colors of mine and those little bits of threads. I could sit and look across the room at this all day.

    I just had a writing workshop week which included lots of critique from other participants and two tutors who I wanted to work with. Exactly what my work was waiting for! What happened was that the current work I took with me and the new pieces I wrote there, shifted onto a much deeper level. All very exciting.

    I think the key with all of this is the people you trust and respect. Sometimes just a few words from these kinds of people can lead you on a whole new journey.

    Having said all of that, I think it's important to be open to surprises - sometimes friends and family DO get the experimental work, or can spot the bit that doesn't work.

  5. An interesting birthday gift. You are brave to put your work forth to an unknown person for their perspective. As Art Propelled said, sometimes critiques can overwhelm and stop one in their tracks. But other times they can help us see the holes in our process and get us excited to continue on.

    My main experience with critiques was two fold and in the field of writing. In grad school, fellow students ripped our work to shreds, often. And you had to ask yourself, who is this person? Where are they coming from.?

    I had a fledgling novel that my professor loved but in workshop it and myself, I felt, were shredded.

    I felt bad. But continued on with grad school. And later continued on to publish a different novel with Viking Books.

    then you face the larger world's critique.

    I dont know what the solution is. I know i like to hear what people have to say about my visual work.I may not have as much "ego" invested in my visual work as i do in my writing.

    There are many different ways to approach critiquing a work and they can be gentle and helpful as opposed to vicious and shredding.

  6. Dear Maryanne, thank you for your comment on my video! You are always so wise and know what I am trying to say even though it may not be clear to me.
    But I was in so excited to upload it on to my blog that I published it too soon! I've since added more to the post.
    Many of the same colors are in our art today. This piece, Fields of Boaz, with its threads and papers is gorgeous.
    I am glad you got so much enlightenment from your critique. Lisa sounds wonderful.
    p.s. I tried to email you but the address was wrong. Have a beautiful day filled with yellow light.

  7. I am really inspired by your on going quest to get the very best from yourself. It makes me re-examine my quest for the "higher plane". Thank you for telling us how you do it.
    This new piece is always going to attract me, as I love the basic colors. But the intricacy and patterns is why I keep looking.

  8. The book of Ruth - a personal favorite. Things are looking good - your work ethic is enviable. :-)

  9. It's a beautiful piece Blue Sky, and very reflective of the title.
    I almost feel I am standing IN those fields. Colors are gorgeous!

    How interesting, this gift of critque. I used to upload some of my work to an online site for critique from other artists. It can be very insightful if you know and respect the work of the one critiquing.
    A thick skin doesn't hurt either, ha!

  10. What a wonderful and insightful friend in Deena. It is so important to have some kind of resonance with health care providers, art critics. If somehow you are not on the same wave length, it's like they don't "get you" and the suggestions are not helpful.

    Great piece.. Love the colour and the little strings are like tree trunks. Wonderful to feel re-inspired!

  11. I love it! The palette is so rich in color. Thank you for sharing.

  12. Zappha, Thank you...!

    Sharmon, I was so grateful for this critique...I was in the perfect place to hear and take in the comments.

    Marie, We all know when it's a hit or miss in our own eyes but clarification is so helpful...thinking it through alone is difficult.

    Robyn, Not a good experience in your critique but lesson clearly learned...I agree,mutual respect is a must!

    Annie, You stated the critique experience so eloquently...shifting on a much deeper true.

    Suki, I so blame your professor for not setting clear rules for critiques. What a disappointment with fellow students...there are mean spirited people out there.

    Roxanne, We are both enjoying the colors of autumn and nice to see our work reflect this love of seasons.

    Pat, I'm so glad you connect with this piece as it has many layers. We are teaching one another daily.

    Karen, Thank you...I do love the work and it sure isn't for the pay or recognition! smile.

    Babs, I like to think I might create a feeling of returning to the ancient fields.
    This whole art making business requires a thick skin!

    ZDS, So important to be on the same wave length...all the better to really hear ideas and suggestions.
    I like this piece too!

    Lisa, Thanks for stopping by and I'm so glad you like this piece! Happy Autumn!

  13. your piece here has such rich deep warm colors- creating a vibrancy

  14. Donna, I like the word vibrancy...glazing does bring a glow especially using yellows. Thank you.