Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Critique: Making the most of it!

by Judith B. Carducci
Chair of the Cecilia Beaux Forum

When I started painting again after a 35 year hiatus, very quickly, greatly to my surprise, my work was much better than it had been when I stopped painting in my 20s.  One reason for this is, I am convinced, that I no longer had a teacher to tell me what and what not to do, so I had to critique my own work and figure it out for myself.  That is a wonderful learning experience.  However, it has its limitations.  As the old saying goes, “He who treats himself, has a fool for a physician.”  While we expand our own knowledge, it’s good to seek out others’ as well.  Here are some things I find useful to think about in seeking critiques from others:

Marie Gabrielle Capet, “Atelier of Madame Vincent (Labille-Guiard)” 1808
Courtesy of the Women in the Act of Painting blog, written by Nancy Bea Miller


Why do I want a critique?

•   For praise, affirmation/approval?  

•   Or do I have a specific problem I want help solving?


•   If affirmation, whose opinion do I respect and value?

•   If I have a specific problem, who would best have the experience with solving such a problem?

•   Will the person I seek understand and respect MY work and not trample on my vision and try to influence me to paint like somebody else?


How will I find such a person?  Some places to look:

•   Locally, who do I know and respect?

•   In publications, whose work speaks to me?

•.  In professional societies that have critique programs and vet the artists giving the critiques (The Portrait Society of America offers critiques for members)

•   Faculty at workshops or art programs or artist professional societies and meetings

My responsibilities…

Prepare for the critique. 

•   Be clear about what help I want and need

•   Be clear about the intent of my work – what I wanted to achieve

•   Know whether I want technical help or help in clarifying my vision

•   I will accept their comments graciously without becoming offended or defensive because I understand that I have asked for criticism and that may be exactly what I get.

•   I will thank them for taking the time to look at my painting and for giving me their thoughts and ideas.

My rights…

I am the artist, it’s my work and my goals, and therefore my responsibility and right to make the decision about what I find helpful or unhelpful in the critique and whether or not to adopt any of the suggestions.

My plan…

I find it useful, after having a critique, to spend some time alone (at the very least, “sleeping on it”) looking at the work and imagining it with the changes suggested. Sometimes I will decide to make a change, and at other times the contemplation helps me to solidify my thoughts on why my work is better without the change.  This is a good cerebral/aesthetic exercise that increases one’s self-confidence that s/he knows what s/he’s doing.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Social Media…in a nutshell…with bacon

The memory of the excitement of the Portrait Society of America Conference in DC may be starting to fade, but hopefully the inspiration you’ve taken home is just starting to kick in and you are using what you’ve learned and applying it to your own art life.

Thank you to those of you arose at the crack of dawn Saturday morning to attend the Cecilia Beaux Forum Panel Discussions. And apologies to those of you who wanted to attend each of
the phenomenal breakout sessions but had to pick just one.

For your benefit, we shall give you some highlights of some of the panel discussions as downloadable handouts.

Here are the notes to the Judy Takács portion of the Cecilia Beaux Forum panel about promoting your work in the 21st Century. Judy talks about Social Media and how to make it a positive part your art life.

Right and Better Left Unsaid
by Judy Takács

 Promoting Your Work in the 21st Century:

Social Media…in a nutshell…with bacon 

An overview of some of the popular social media venues…using the example of bacon…which is very popular on the internet right now.

twitter…I’m #eatingbaconrightnow  #andlovingit

instagram…here’s a photo of the bacon which I just fried and will be eating in a minute!

youtube…here is a handy instructional video I made, with a soundtrack by Yo Yo Ma laid down behind the sound of sizzling bacon. I show you how to fry bacon and then how to eat it.

linkdin…my skills include making bacon, eating bacon, talking about bacon. My contacts can endorse this. And I’m looking for a job in the bacon industry. Now I will send you a request from linkdin so you can view my profile and be amazed at all I have written about my bacon prowess. You have to take my word on this, because I have no photos besides my profile picture where my face is greasy from the bacon I have eaten.

pinterest…here you can see the many MANY professional photos and paintings of bacon that I found in random places on the internet and wanted to keep. I have pinned them to my Pinterest board which I call, “I love bacon.” Please feel free to pin some of MY bacon pictures onto YOUR Pinterest boards too!

facebook…I like bacon IMHO…LOL. Check out my album of artistic bacon photos that I have taken myself. Here’s a link to my website and a link to blog I write, Here’s photo of me with my close friend…Kevin Bacon, and a painting by my favorite artist…Francis Bacon. I tagged them both…please like, comment on and share!