Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Dealing with Negative Critique


'Sanibel's Treasure'                   10x15         pastel         ©Karen Margulis
available for purchase $155
It's been on my mind lately. Maybe because of the post I wrote about getting feedback on our work. Then today a student asked why I don't paint the beach more often. Good question.  It used to be my most favorite subject to paint. When I first started with pastels most of my subjects were beach related...shells, shore birds and palm trees. I will still paint them occasionally but I am more interested in landscapes.... marshes, deserts and wildflowers and I am always most drawn to the close ups.  Why the shift?

It partly has to do with some feedback I received at a workshop early in my painting journey. During the critique I shared my 'beach' paintings along with the plein air landscapes done at the workshop.  The instructor suggested I go to the beach to relax (not paint the beach)  and to concentrate on intimate landscapes.  I rebelled at first and kept on painting the beach.   I was such a beginner with thin skin that the feedback hurt. After all I had worked hard at my beach paintings. I took this critique as negative.

But gradually it became clear to me that my passion was truly for the intimate landscape. It was if this instructor knew it even before I did!  It wasn't really negative feedback. I just wasn't ready to understand what the instructor meant.



'Pacific Shores'         5x7       pastel
sold
I now welcome all feedback. I may perceive it as negative or it may not be delivered gently but I always make sure I don't dismiss it too quickly.  I write it down. I try to see if there is a kernel of truth to it. I put my feelings aside.  If I don't quite agree or get what the instructor was saying, I move on.  Maybe someday I will get it or maybe it wasn't valid. The important thing is that I gave it a chance and I don't let it slow me down!

I don't avoid painting the beach anymore either.

If you'd like to see some of my old beach paintings visit my blog archives here. It is fun to revisit these older paintings! 

2 comments:

Carole Scureman said...

I love this beach painting. I am going to go look at your archives. Frankly I love all of your paintings. They are beautiful.

Rodrica Tilley said...

Love the beach paintings. Your perspective on thin skins and negative feedback really struck a chord with me. Developing a thick skin along with an open mind is really a necessity for success in art as well as life, isn't it.