We are often too quick to ask for feedback.
We’re equally guilty of giving feedback when it’s not requested (or wanted).
I’ve been guilty of both – especially the latter – and I’ve learned a lot about giving and receiving feedback. I owe much of what I know about feedback to Cynthia Morris, an artist and coach.
Here’s what I’ve learned from her and from others.
When Not to Ask for Feedback
Feedback is serious stuff. You should only ask for it if you’re prepared to hear the answers.
At certain points in the creative process, your project is in a delicate state. You might have a direction and be excited about it or, alternatively, not know what you’re doing.
Proceed with caution when you’re at this point. Asking for feedback too early doesn’t give you time to nurture your baby. The wrong words could put a quick halt to any enthusiasm you had and before you know it, your bubble has burst. Ouch!
How to Ask for Feedback
If you’ve ever questioned the reason for making art, you’re not alone.
After a particularly rough time, you might catch yourself asking, “What’s the point?” You might even begin to see your work as frivolous.
With so much bad news being printed and broadcasted, it’s easy to overlook the bigger picture. These thoughts might enter your head:
Shouldn’t I be out there saving people?
Shouldn’t I be waging peace and protecting the environment?
These are noble pursuits, but are they why you, in all of your magnificence, were put on earth?
After being asked these questions by a number of students and clients, I thought of at least eight reasons why you should be making art.
You have so many ideas. You’re full of creativity and ready to apply it to any material you come across.
You paint for the pleasure, you paint commissioned work, you make jewelry, you snap photos, and you teach. You know who you are. You’re going 90 miles an hour in every direction with your hair on fire.
People say you should focus – pick one thing and get on with it.
There’s that “s” word again: should. Beware of this word. I’ve been guilty of using it a lot myself, but I’m becoming increasingly aware of how dangerous it is.
The only thing you should do is to be in integrity with your goals, your purpose, and your vision. How this manifests itself in your life is a delicate negotiation between you and the Universe.
There is, however, a reasonable argument to be made for concentrating your creative energy in one area.
The Case for Focusing Your Art
When your work is moving in multiple directions simultaneously, at least four problems arise.
We received loads of good ideas for what to do with earlier artwork that is taking up emotional energy and inventory space.
Many of you wanted to donated it to charity, sell it at a steep discount, repurpose it, or destroy it. On top of this, a number of you said that if it’s not up to your standards, you should rework or destroy it rather than give it away. I agree.
As promised, I have selected a winner. Be sure to keep reading for the honorable mentions.
©Carol A. McIntyre, Nature’s Promise. Oil on panel, 20 x 20 inches.
The best idea for “how to get rid of earlier art” is from Carol McIntyre. Knowing Carol, this solution fits her m.o. Like her painting and personality, Carol tackles unwanted work with a flair.
She writes .
A retrospective is an exhibition that shows off the entire oeuvre of an artist’s career. Typically arranged chronologically and later in an artist’s life, retrospectives treat art viewers to the progression of the work in a single space.
I try to visit as many retrospectives as I can for artists I admire, which sometimes involves traveling and going out of my way as necessary. You never know when they will happen again since it’s difficult to borrow or gather the work in one place.
Retrospectives aren’t just for viewers. They provide an excellent opportunity for artists to examine their accomplishments.
Even without an art venue for your retrospective, you can take stock of your life’s work by creating a virtual retrospective.
Virginia Folkestad discovers insights into her life’s work by using a visual timeline.
I was delighted to come
I work every day to give you solid business advice through my blog, classes, social media posts, membership programs, and this newsletter. This is not only my job, it’s also my purpose. I don’t write about how you can improve your technique, try fresh materials on the market, or remove creative blocks. Your #1 job as a professional artist is to be working consistently in the studio.
For artists making art is life’s main goal, so what happens when we quit producing? When my 13-year-old dog died in September, I thought I’d hit the depths of sadness. Then my mother died in October, and I was suddenly sidelined by my own grief. The direct result of losing someone or something you love is profound grief. And that hollow, meaningless feeling that accompanies loss does not lead to art. Yet we know art is the answer.
Let’s face it. Artists are terrible at curating their own work. There’s no way you can be objective. You love everything, you hate everything, you want to show everything you have, or you don’t want to show anything at all. Sound familiar? Today’s article is inspired by an email I received from Karen Meredith, in which she wanted to know about the proper number of works to have on a website, in an exhibition, or at an open studio.
I interviewed Anne Paris, author of Standing at Water’s Edge: Moving Past Fear, Blocks, and Pitfalls to Discover the Power of Creative Immersion, for my membership program a couple of years ago. To give you a taste of what my members receive, I would like to share this interview with you. Anne and I discussed creative immersion and the importance of connecting through relationships to facilitate creativity.
Parents are rightly concerned about their children’s future, but with preparation, an art student can excel in life. In honor of Fathers’ Day week (Can I declare a week for all dads?), I share this query from John G. from my Facebook page and my response.