Why you should look for art critiques (best advice for beginners)

SUMMARY: Opening yourself for criticism when you begin watercolors is scary, but the right feedback will give you a short-cut to successful paintings.

Do you dread comments on your work?

This week was the last Q&A session for Create Wonderful Watercolors, a course we launched last Fall to help beginners acquire all the skills they need while creating paintings they love.

During the Q&A sessions our amazing instructor Jess Rice reviews the work submitted by the students and gives suggestions on how to improve them.

They can be any watercolor they choose (old, new, from the course, etc.)

But it’s not easy to show your work to people. 

Your work is your baby. It’s an expression of who you are.

So, if you think it has problems, you don’t really want others to see it.

And if you think it’s great, you don’t really want to be told that it could be better (and there is always the fear that you “might ruin it while trying to fix it”!).

So why expose yourself to an art critique?

I look at our Q&A sessions where students' work is being critiqued as similar to going to the gym with a nice pushy trainer: you don’t really want to go, but you feel better and stronger after.

And when you’re a beginner, you don't know enough to analyse your work yet. 

You're most likely too hard on yourself, judging your work as not being very good, while having no idea on how improve it. 

A critique from a knowledgeable teacher (not your spouse or your best friend) will help you:

  • Get fresh eyes on your work.
  • Learn the different things that make a painting work.
  • Discover how you can improve it.

Jess Rice’s critiques are always balanced. He finds what works in the painting and he has suggestions on how to make improvements. 

Better yet, he welcomes questions and comments on his thoughtful critiques, so our Q&A sessions have become lively discussions where everybody learns from each painting, and not just the one they submitted.

Once you can look at an art critique with a seasoned painter like a training session, you realize that there are no such things as failed paintings.

This is not to say that every painting is successful, but instead that every painting serves a purpose.

Their purpose is to be the “studies” that you make on your journey.

Just like every accomplished artist has done before you.

And slowly but surely, as you realize that every painting plays a role in your development, the fear you feel when submitting your work goes away.

Would you like to participate in monthly painting critiques? 

If so, let me know by clicking here and I will organize something if there is enough interest.

Interested in learning more?

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Categories: Watercolor Techniques, Watercolor tips