Speaker 1 (00:00):
Figure out how we can critique ourselves so that we can become better, but critique our work without bringing ourselves down at the same time.
Speaker 2 (00:10):
This is the Bold Artist podcast.
Speaker 1 (00:15):
You have answers, and you're expressing them in your art. Your art is important, and it needs to be seen.
Speaker 2 (00:23):
Welcome. And let's get started with today's episode. Welcome back to the Bold Artist podcast. I'm here today with my co-host, Charla Maarschalk, and we have been talking about the subject of critiquing our art and how to critique our art without putting ourselves down. Charla, I know you have so much to say about this. I'm excited to talk to you about it.
Speaker 1 (00:53):
Yeah. Um, I, well, you know, I think it's a big topic in, in all areas of our life, like how to critique ourselves well. And I think that goes into our art -- how to critique our art well. I think that I've throughout my entire life, 'cuz I've been an artist my whole life, I've either heard one extreme or the other. One extreme being, well, my art's terrible. I love art. I love doing art, but I'm terrible. I'm just no good. And I, I just shouldn't even be doing it -- but they continue doing it. And then you get the other extreme of artist, which is like, well, I love art. I'm really good at what I do. And no one can tell me that I should do anything different. I don't need skills. I don't need training. You know, I just love art, and art is whatever you want it to be.
Speaker 1 (01:37):
Um, I don't believe in either of those ends of art. Of course, we're all in our own, we're all in the, our own journey, but, I think that we need to learn to come more towards the middle and figure out how we can critique ourselves so that we can become better, but critique our work without bringing ourselves down at the same time, and then learn how to receive critique because, um, receiving critique can often build offense within us, and then we put up walls, and we don't wanna hear it anymore. So, how to receive critique from others, how to critique others well, and how to critique ourselves,
Speaker 2 (02:16):
Right? I'm glad you brought up the whole point of receiving critique, 'cuz it is a lot different than self critique, although both are so important. So, let's talk a moment about self-critique, and what that means to you. And how you even develop the ability to do that. 'Cuz you are very good at it. And you also teach your Bold School students how to self-critique and the benefits of it. So, what does that even mean to self-critique our work?
Speaker 1 (02:41):
Um, well first I wanna disclaimer to say that I am not a professional at them. Well, I am a, maybe a professional at art, but I wouldn't say that I know everything there is to know about critique, by any means. I'm not a professional art critic. Um, but I think my own personality in general is a very, um, uh, I always forget what words are when I'm on here. It's I'm just pretty straightforward. And I like to kind of see things as they are rather than read into things. So, you know, if the wall is white and somebody says it's blue, I can see where they're coming from. Yeah. They, see a cool, a cool tone in that white wall. So, and somebody else might see it differently. Might say it's cream. I can understand people's perspectives. So, I think that I, um, in that sense have been able to look at my own...
Speaker 1 (03:33):
I don't know if this, if, if I'm actually drawing the right connection for people to understand what I mean. Um, I can look at at things objectively without getting offended without, um, getting upset with myself about it. I mean, I think our own body images is completely different territory when it comes to critique, but I can look at my own work and say it sucks or it's really good. And um, not really read that much into it. You know, I think we're all on a journey of becoming better. We start, some people start ahead of the game and some people are naturally talented, but we all are on a journey of learning and getting better, including myself, and no matter where I am in my life, I know that I can be better. I know there's somebody better than me. And I know there's somebody worse than me.
Speaker 1 (04:20):
And I don't think that means that I have just to say that there's somebody further behind than me or somebody that's not a great artist as good of an artist as me doesn't mean that I have some blown up ego. It just means I can see, relatively, what's happening around me, and objectively make decisions. So, I think I've had that ability in different areas of my life. So, I applied that to my art and then I started to see that other people didn't see the world like me. So, I tried to figure out where that difference was. Did that answer the question?
Speaker 2 (04:52):
So, what does a really healthy critique sound like? Because I think some of us have had experiences where we've been subjected to unhealthy critique, whether that's self critique or another artist or someone, you know, looking and, and giving some advice.
Speaker 1 (05:08):
Speaker 2 (05:08):
And, and then from the somewhat negative experiences that we have as artists, it's hard to differentiate, like, what is a healthy critique supposed to sound like? And then what do we do with that critique?
Speaker 1 (05:22):
Well, there is like a, a process in critique, like a, an official process on how to approach, uh, art critique or critique of art. Um, and I talk about that in my classes at Bold School. 'Cuz I really believe it's important for us in order to be able to see where we're going wrong, to be able to analyze our work. So, um, generally outside of that official, uh, format of art critique, I just like to say, you know, my husband was a tennis coach for a really long time, and he used to talk about the, the sandwich, uh, technique in, in coaching where you praise somebody up, and then you tell them what they're doing wrong, and then you praise them again. So, you sandwich your critique with good things. And I think in general that's a really good rule, 'cause it's hard to remember oh, these are the four steps of critique. And have I done them properly?
Speaker 1 (06:19):
And even within those four steps, you can still be very negative, or very opinionated. Um, so I think just in general, taking away the sandwich concept of praise, then the critique, then the praise is just a really great way, especially when you're in an online community, and you're texting and commenting on people's art. I think it's really good to always say what you enjoy and um, leave them on a, a high note. Because none of us like to just be torn down. Like, it's terrible, you had to change everything, and then you walk away feeling defeated, and it's too much, you know, it's too much for you to wanna pick up and fix it. Right?
Speaker 2 (06:58):
So, I like that you touched on, uh, being, like, talking about being in an online community and, and someone online critiquing, because that almost feels like a whole different scenario to me. I've had the chance to be critiqued in person, and we've taught, we're talking about self critique. So, all of that sort of can happen in, in a room in some privacy, but online it feels so exposed. And sometimes it's unwanted. So, I know in the Bold School community, there is a lot of critique that happens, but you seem to have set up some safeguards and, and a safe place for, for this to happen in a constructive way. Can you tell me a little bit about that?
Speaker 1 (07:37):
Well, first I teach the, the basics of critique within our main Bootcamp class. So, people get that, that, um, introduction into what critique is. And I talk about, like, you need to be, like I, as a teacher, if you wanna be my student, I think that I require you being open to critique because there's no way we're all gonna be, um, our best in this moment. We've or maybe it's our best for this moment, but not our best ultimately. So, we all have room to improve. So. I kind of just, I, I teach that, that kind of attitude in your art. Now, in our communities, we, um, have the rule to only critique if somebody has for it, 'cuz again, a lot of people are new, and you know, you're fresh on that feed, and you're terrified to post. So, you post the first time, and you get like 20 comments of how to fix your work.
Speaker 1 (08:32):
So, we only give critique if the person has asked. That's not how it works in university, but it's how it works with the, in our community. And I think it's a really good rule. If somebody's not ready, then you really need to respect that and kind of coach them along to become ready and to build. And, and then I think when they see how, um, the community interacts, they, they get more brave to post the main thing that I, I say to our, our people and our mentors is to sandwich it with positive feedback, as well. Don't flatter people for the sake of it, or don't try to pretend you really like it if you don't. Like, I don't like the idea of lying to somebody, just to make them feel good. I don't like flattery. But there's always something positive to say if simply ,like, wow, you've been brave to even post this piece. And you're such a new artist, like way to go. You know, like, even as simple as that , but only say what we mean. I'm definitely big on that. People pick up on your flattery, and your lies pretty quick in critique.
Speaker 2 (09:33):
So, in an online scenario, when an artist posts, let's say inside of your Bold School community, do you look for the, the actual question? Like, would you critique this painting before everyone engages in critique? Or what are you looking for for that invitation to critique?
Speaker 1 (09:51):
Yeah, it's just in their description. Like, hey, I've done this piece would love some feedback. It's usually what people say. It's almost always the same thing. So they, they literally ask for it
Speaker 2 (10:00):
And then they're prepared for it and open to it because they've asked for it. Which I think is, is so smart and something that... I'm glad we're sharing it on the podcast today because, uh, I think that artists need to know that it's okay to ask for the feedback, but if you're posting your work, and you don't want the feedback, there's a different way to word it, where you present the piece without, without asking and without, um, with, like, in a sense, just presenting it. This is what it is. Rather than allow, opening yourself up to the comments. I myself have been in a situation before where I received critique when I wasn't, I wasn't looking for it, and I wasn't prepared for it. And artists can tend to be very sensitive souls. Um, we are often classified HSP, which is highly sensitive people. And when you're not prepared for something, it can kind of blindside you and hurt. And you've talked before about offence. You have an approach to offence that I like., I need to take, I need to take your approach sometimes.
New Speaker (11:06):
Get over it?
New Speaker (11:06):
Do you want to share what that is?
Speaker 1 (11:07):
Get over it.
Speaker 2 (11:10):
Yeah. Share this approach too. Get over it. Yeah. Whereas mine is ouch, that hurt my feelings. Uh, as, as sensitive people, highly sensitive artists, we can sometimes take critique to heart and let it slow us down or trip us up. And I had that happen before, and um...
Speaker 1 (11:30):
Yeah, I think we all have,
Speaker 2 (11:30):
And it was something that I... Yeah, I had to really process and separate myself from the critique and separate myself from my artwork. We pour so much of our souls into our work that it becomes very personal. I did hear, um, another artist gave the advice not to hold your work too precious. And the way I took that, and the way I've applied it to my own work is when I'm working on a peice, it is precious. I, I put every bit of precious energy into it. But there comes a point as I near the end where I begin that release, where I begin to separate myself from it and open even my own eyes up objectively.
Speaker 2 (12:13):
And I begin to do what you've called here, self critique. I don't even know if I realize I'm doing it, but I'll, I'll begin to think what I could work on better next time. What I do and don't like about it. At that point, I've decided not to change the piece. I'm not, I'm not reworking it at that point. I'm just letting it be what it is. And I sort of enter the, a engagement with my own self where I'm teaching myself what I do and don't like, and what I would do different next time. And so that's kind of my self-critique process. But then there's a lot of times because I've already critiqued myself and decided what I do and don't want next time that I don't open my artwork up for other critique, which might not be good.
Speaker 1 (12:57):
Yeah. Well, I do the same. Like I, I protect some of my work, and I don't put it on our feeds in our community. I'm sure people probably know that by now. But I think that we have to respect other people, um, whether they want that critique or not, if they're ready for it or not. And, and it's simply, it can simply be, you know, somebody put a piece on thinking about our community experience. Somebody puts a piece in our community, they receive feedback, they make some changes, they put it back up, they receive feedback. They make some changes. There's gotta be a point where you're like, I am finished now. I'm not... 'Cuz you can keep going forever. So, critique involves knowing when you're are done and knowing what advice to take and what advice to not take. So, when somebody puts a piece up and says, okay, I, I'm not interested any further.
Speaker 1 (13:43):
I'm just showing you my final piece. We need to respect that. 'Cuz otherwise we're teaching artists to just, you have to go back in your studio and work endlessly forever until time has come to a complete end on this piece because it will never be good enough. So, we have to respect that, that, um, in a sense on our community, as well. And I think that I'm a little bit like you in that, um, I try to separate myself from the piece when it's done, and then I can come back and look at it more analytically rather than emotionally.
Speaker 2 (14:16):
Yeah. I've known a lot of startup artists who, uh, you know, I think everyone's just so individual and every situation is individual and their feelings are, are personal. And so I, I have had a few starting artists in my life that I gave them the advice to never ask for opinions or critique until they were totally done the piece. Even though, eventually down, down the line of learning, it will benefit them if they get opinions and, and tips in each stage of a painting, let's say .But for a while, when they're starting, it's like some artists just need space and time to explore these things themselves and not have someone breathing over their shoulder with opinions and, and tips and, and just knowing, like, especially if your studio is in your home and family members are walking by. I, I went through a, a stage in and you know, I've, I've been in art for a really long time.
Speaker 2 (15:18):
So, I have gone through every stage. I mean, I've, I've even been painting pictures with the babies on my hip cooking spaghetti at the same time, you know? So the easel's in the kitchen, way back when. And I remember there being a, a season of my life where people would literally walk past a painting and be like, the sky looks weird or something, you know.
Speaker 1 (15:38):
Speaker 2 (15:41):
I would say, well, I, I, I need to do this without these opinions.
Speaker 1 (15:46):
Speaker 2 (15:46):
And yet the opinions and critiques can often be what fashions us into the most skilled artist because iron sharpens iron and, and it, it does like that sandpaper on the wood, it begins to, to smooth everything out. And so sometimes critique feels to me like that, like it, it grates me, but yet it's making me better. I just have to be very particular about how and when I open myself up. Yeah. And I think a lot of artists would relate to that.
Speaker 1 (16:21):
Yeah. I think it's a, it's a really important part of critique that you can't really go without talking about in that discussion. And it's, I, I talk about that in the Bootcamp as well, is don't actually, don't open yourself up to critique from anybody who walks by. And if you think about a family member, you know, a family member will come by and either they love you to the end of the universe and back, and they're just gonna be so proud of everything you do., Their critique or opinion is, is not going to be, um, it's, it's not gonna help your process at all. 'Cuz they're always gonna tell you you're great. And you know, you have somewhere, you need...
Speaker 2 (17:02):
Some of mine didn't. Yeah.
Speaker 1 (17:04):
Well, and then you have...
Speaker 2 (17:05):
Speaker 1 (17:05):
Yeah. And then you have the other family member that's always negative, or always looking for something, or thinks that they know everything, and they like to critique your art, and that's not going to be helpful, either. So, for one of the reasons I created the community, when I first did my first online class was because I wanted it to be a private space where people who are learning this process can critique each other. If somebody came into our community and they were doing a large, realistic landscapes, none of us should ever step in and critique that work because we don't paint a realistic landscapes. So, anything that we're gonna offer is just gonna be our opinion, and it's not helpful. Right.
Speaker 2 (17:52):
And it it'll be coming from that, that viewpoint of, um, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Like just whether or not it's your preference of a painting rather than you knowing how to paint that particular subject matter. And that, that makes total sense. And I think that as a young budding artist, I just opened myself up to just whoever, whatever.
Speaker 1 (18:16):
Speaker 2 (18:16):
And I love that you are teaching artists, through Bold School, how to go about the proper process of opening yourself up for critique. It will save years of heartache and tripping up over people's opinion.
Speaker 1 (18:30):
Yeah. And you know, it's just true for all areas of your life. People don't know what you're going through. They don't know what you're working on. And if somebody comes, you know, like if just thinking about body image, somebody could see somebody, uh, a woman walking down the street who's 200 pounds and be like, oh, you should, you should start working out. You should need to lose weight. Meanwhile should is lost 300 pounds. 'Cuz she used to be 500 pounds. You know, you have no idea where she's at in her life. So, you can't just step in and critique her. She would need to go to a coach who knows her situation to help her in where she needs to go next. We can't just step in somebody else's life without any information about what they're doing. Now, somebody comes on our, our feed and posts a realistic, uh, portrait with realistic skin colors.
Speaker 1 (19:16):
And they're like, how am I doing? You know, we're like, well, you're doing terrible because you're not using bold, abstract colors at all. So, we can then kind of start to move them in the direction they're, they're wanting to go 'cuz they're here because they wanna learn how to paint with anything but skin tones. And yet they're using skin tones. So, we are honest, and we are like, you sure this is a nice painting, but you're here to learn bold color. So, let's get real honest about what's going on. And right, this is where I talk about offence because it is so easy to get offended. You put up a, somebody puts up their realistic portrait, and it's a beautiful piece, and then they get kind of cut down, is how they're gonna view it. When we say, actually this is not really something we want posted in our community.
Speaker 1 (20:02):
You're not even doing bold color. Do you wanna do bold color? We'll help you in that direction. They get offended. Um, I think offence can stop our growth so quickly 'cuz there's really no need to get offended if you understand the, where you are and why these opinions or why these words are being said to you. You know, you're here to learn bold color. If you want us to talk about that, then we'll, we'll talk about that. We're not here to tell you if you're a great landscape painter. So, don't ask and don't get offended when we decide not to give our opinions. Um. Yeah.
Speaker 2 (20:37):
Right. Well even just in what you said right there, I hear so many things that uh, through the course of my artistic life could, could have benefited me first of just not subjecting myself to everyone that walked by.
Speaker 1 (20:51):
Speaker 2 (20:52):
And, and then knowing to go to the person or people that specialize in what you're doing, not in an opinion or like, do you like this, but someone who specializes in it.
Speaker 1 (21:05):
Speaker 2 (21:05):
That alone are, is, is two tips that... It just changes everything.
Speaker 1 (21:12):
Yeah, I think so. I think they're the most important places to start. And you can take that into any area of your life. If you wanna buy a house, you don't go and talk to a, a banker about what house to buy. 'Cuz they have a very biased opinion if they want you to get a mortgage, you know? So, you go to the expert that that knows exactly what you're doing, and you ask them the questions. And in business, it's the same thing with marketing. You don't go and talk. I don't, I'm not gonna go to an athlete and try to market my online Bold Color Bootcamp because he's busy. He's playing tennis. You know, he's got other things on his mind.
Speaker 2 (21:51):
Speaker 1 (21:51):
He's not gonna give me an accurate idea of maybe how I should sell my, my class.
Speaker 1 (21:56):
Speaker 2 (21:57):
So, I'm gonna go to artists and see what their opinions are. So, you know, it's, it's in a sense, common sense, but we so easily get our backs up, and our walls up, and we get offended, and we can't see straight. So, just putting those things out there first will protect you in your, your growth I think as an artist.
Speaker 2 (22:15):
Yes. And just as we begin to wrap up here, there's one other thing that comes to my mind that has been really helpful to me. And that's with coming back to self-critique and how to critique ourself with kindness, one thing that really helps me is to put the painting away for a period of time.
Speaker 1 (22:33):
Speaker 2 (22:33):
Like even weeks. Just put it away and come back with fresh eyes. And then I seem to critique with less feelings attached because I've just had that, that time of separation. A friend of mine calls it a walk away day. She, she does it for a day, but I, I would tend to you it for longer, but it depends how attached you are to the piece. I think the, the more attached you are, the more you need to step away just ,to give yourself the, the space to look with fresh eyes. So, that has really helped me. And in closing, Charla, is there anything that has, uh, really helped you, that you wanna kind of wrap up today's show with?
Speaker 1 (23:08):
I think is exactly what you just said -- being able to walk away and detach your emotions. The purpose for walking away is to allow yourself to detach. And the way to do that is to recognize that you're painting this for somebody else.
Speaker 2 (23:21):
Speaker 1 (23:21):
I mean, we paint for ourselves, but ultimately you don't want every single painting you own on your own walls. And I don't know one artist who does that, they just store them away.
Speaker 2 (23:30):
Speaker 1 (23:30):
So, if you ultimately think this is for somebody else, this is not mine, it's somebody else's, you can, that helps detach from the piece.
Speaker 2 (23:39):
Speaker 1 (23:39):
So, you don't hold it too precious. Like this is mine because it's not, it's somebody else's. You're painting it for somebody else. So, make sure it's the best it can be. And that can help you detach. It's hard. It's hard to detach. It'd be actually really interesting to hear what other people do to kind of break that emotional bond. And we talk about protecting areas of our paintings. Like there's this tiny little color that I love, and I protect it, and it ruins the rest of my work. So, we have in our community, we talk about these tricks. Like how do you get past that kind of stuff? How do you stop protecting your work? So that's, that's a whole conversation.
Speaker 2 (24:17):
Yeah. That'll be a good question for some other bold artists that we have on the show. We could ask that question. I'm laughing at myself because if you, uh, a little while back, I, I used some really bad English there. I was like, and those two is the tips of, and I was like, don't worry. I caught it. It should be the word R. Those are the tips.
Speaker 1 (24:38):
See, I don't know if that's self-critique or
Speaker 2 (24:41):
That's me critiquing myself as the host of the podcast where...
Speaker 1 (24:44):
Speaker 2 (24:46):
Marijanel, you should have done this and that and use better English.
Speaker 1 (24:52):
Oh, that's funny. We'll just use that to be better next time.
Speaker 2 (24:56):
That's right. That's right. And, and I guess as, as you said, your closing words there, I was thinking, you know, we don't critique in order to redo the painting. We critique to learn better for the next one. And so that's what it is about, is moving forward and getting better for the next one. And, and as Charla mentioned, not having, um, not carrying offence over critique because it's not meant to be personal. It's meant to, to create us into better artists, and let it sharpen our skills. So, thanks so much for sharing all that with us today, Charla, it is very helpful, and it's, it's a subject we've needed to talk about.
Speaker 1 (25:34):
Definitely. It's a good one. And I think we should talk about it again in later podcast to see what some people have to say in their input. 'Cuz it's a big one.
Speaker 2 (25:41):
That's exactly what I was thinking is, um, just remember, listeners and watchers, that we have at Bold Artist podcast on Instagram, and we have a few different ways to connect with us, even going to the Bold School website. And of course, those of you who are members of Bold School, you can talk within the community. And uh, there is the, um, ability that you could reach us, you know, for the podcast there, and just share with us your critique experience and how you feel about it. And maybe we can continue this show, uh, have a continuation and just talk a little bit more about it. Once we get some feedback, we're open to feedback.
Speaker 1 (26:22):
Speaker 2 (26:23):
Yes. Thanks for joining us today on the Bold Artist podcast. I hope that until next time you keep creating