Friday, February 7, 2014

The Critic

Drawing at the MFA  watercolor  14 x 10.5

Getting used to making art while John Q Anybody looks over your shoulder can be daunting, but it's one of those skills to acquire along with stuff like proportion, shading, focus, etc.  After all, it's communication, isn't it?  You're supposed to want people to want to look at it.  Fortunately, that gets easier over time.  The real skill is to get to the point where you just don't care if anybody else likes it, so long as you do.


  1. I love this one. I especially like how you did the fellow looking over the artist's shoulder and the woman on the right walking away from the viewer. Your perspective is great too with one room leading into another. Just wondering - did you do this on location because it has a lovely spontaneity to it. How long did it take you? I feel encouraged by your saying that over time you can get used to people peering at your work. It's been a real pleasure to get your paintings in my in-box. Thanks so much.

  2. I painted this from several photographs. I can't remember what MFAB's policy is on paint, but maybe it's ok if by special permission and you choose a spot that doesn't get much traffic. Maybe they make you put a tarp on the floor if you're like me, messy with watercolor, and I'd rather not have the kind of presence that screams "Hey! Look at me! I'm an artist! Painting!" which can start to feel like performance art. If I am going to try to paint somewhere like a coffee shop, I bring a very small rig and try to be as insignificant as possible just so I can choose a subject and hopefully get somewhere before they move or notice that I'm staring at them. I really don't mind people looking over my shoulder so much anymore, but I firmly tell myself not to let that encourage me to fall back into comfortable, trite solutions just to have something decent to look at. I'm taking a long time to get to my point, which is that painting from life is really really really good practice and one should never let the desire for a good finished result get in the way of that. I'm tickled that you think it has a spontaneous look to it; I actually remember struggling quite a bit with planning my composition and while painting.