Thursday, June 2, 2011

On Being Self Critical

As a student a t the High School of Art and Design, in Irwin (Greeny) Greenberg’s class, I was introduced to a lot of artist from the past and the present. Inbetween the model posing in Greeny’s paint class he would give a short lecture on some artist using a book of that artist work for illustration. At the time Burt Silverman and Harvey Dinnerstein had books out on their methods of work . I remember Greeny talking about how one of the most important things to note about Silverman’s commentary on his work method was how he critiqued and evaluated his work as he went a long, or as Greeny would put it, “be your own toughest critic”.In Robert Henri’s “The Art Spirit” he tells his students,
“ Get up and walk back and judge your drawing. Put the drawing over near the model, or on the wall, return to your place and judge it. Take it out in the next room, or put it along side something  you know is good. If it is a painting put it in a frame on the wall. See how it looks. Judge it. Keep doing these things and you will have as you go along some idea of what you are doing.”This is the attitude that I strive for as I’m working. Someone had suggested that I hate my work, I don’t even know if that would matter, I love doing it and I want to get better at it. There are going to be things that I do that would show progress and that is pleasing, but the climb is still before me. Another favorite quote, this one from Hokusai on his death bed,
“If heaven could only grant me ten more years! Only five and I would have become a real painter.” Also from Greeny,
“The secret ingredient in development is just plain guts - the courage to continue despite disappointments, to grit your teeth and begin again, to examine a failure until it yields its flaws, and then swing back into battle. That's how we develop the confidence that tells us we can work out any answer.”These works that I post here are my continuing struggle with paint, both in technique and expression.

1 comment:

  1. I find that my difficulty lies mostly within my lack of patience. I yearn so deeply for my piece to be realized, that I forgo necessary steps to make it what it is in my head. I agree that there are many improvements that we see in our work as it progresses, but IMO, the patience is key.