Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Critique Complete

Back from the critique workshop so I will relay as promised some of the feedback.  Heather and I also had time to attend the Van Gogh exhibition called UP CLOSE that showed works from the last 4 years of Van Gogh's life in France. Amazing exhibition with mountainous landscapes and fields borrowed from some private collections but missing the principal pieces that you think would be included . Regardless the colours and textures are still swimming in my head. One of my favourites of the impressionists.

The first day of our workshop with Willam Hodge was run in a loose lecture format  so it did reduce the benefits for our time to do critique and discuss any particular colour and design solutions for each artist thouroughly. BOO HOO. He basically stated that the world loves a winner so always stay positive in public.Cry to your friends. His definition of art was  "any manifestation of an original concept from within ". So quite an inclusive viewpoint .We did discuss approaching a gallery and the types of gallery situations that could exist and  the importance of doing the resarch on this before heading out. His suggestion was to include no more than 20 pieces with a cv and artist statement that is truthful and concise. Once dropped off with confidence he suggested that it could be picked up in 3 days to see if there was an appropriate fit with the artist. A group show presentation on cd could also be suggested to a gallery on a chosen theme to save them time but be prepared for up to 2 years wait for a show date.

 As for the personal feedback for my work, he suggested that I look at Picasso's Guernica to see all the tricks that he uses to lead the eye in and around the piece creating flow. That the collage method I am using have more integration tricks. The emphasis in finishing a composition should always bring you back to your original statement of intent so that focus is not lost .This should inform the desision to add  or subtract regardless of the temptations available .One paragraph should be written for the series and one for each piece in the series so that there is lots of room to use variations on the broader concept retaining the focus as things develop. The punch can be emphasized by hue or value contrast and the golden mean should be applied to determine the most successful points to place emphasis.

We should also look at The Three Musicians to notice a small wedge of black added along the side edge that helps create the asymetry within the square composition. He thinks square format is the hardest. Specifically for me I am glad that he liked the variety of textures and technique in my work and he encouraged me to do more where less is more and I get that. Also emphasis is created by value and hue contrast  to create flow so keep studying colour. He suggested  The Colour Workbook  by Becky Koenig and to study colour for life. Sounds fun to me.


  1. I'm hoping to borrow your book, Michele, because it's pretty expensive! William Hodge liked the pieces I showed him, thought I was getting good compositions, but recommended I investigate "atmospheric colour" to suggest distance, i.e. how the haze of atmosphere softens and greys down colour.

  2. A workshop with a recognised artist who is prepared to help and guide budding artists is valuable. Some pearls of wisdom in there.

    His suggestion that you look at Guernica is interesting but did he have a copy there so that he could explain what he was talking about - if our eyes are not trained to see these 'tricks of the trade' we will not see them. Also HOW to use the golden mean...

    As quilters we are lucky to have the medium of stitch to add texture (not to mention line and mark making). Less is more - we come back to that quotation by Antoine de Saint-Exupery (which I still have next to my computer, Linda B):
    Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.

    Ouch, I see what you mean about the book being expensive, Heather! What is slightly annoying is that she keeps updating it so there are at least 4 editions available - from a used 2002 version for £1.28 to the latest 2012 version for £53.57 (new). It must be a classic and a highly prized acquisition.

    I understand his tip about atmospheric colour to imply distance. Why are so many of his remarks obvious when pointed out and yet we seem to walk around with our eyes shut?! Emphasis (focus and flow?) created by value and hue contrast - of course.

    Over the last 6 weeks I have had my head buried in gathering and processing hundreds of photos of quilts made by the members of Contemporary Quilt here in the UK over the first ten years of the group's existence - we are about to publish a book to celebrate this. At the moment I am working my way through 6 years of journal quilts. Many poo-poo the idea of these little quilts but I can honestly say that I see great improvement in the artistic and design skills in the work of those members who have participated in the project year after year. It really is the proof that you need to keep producing.

    Many, many thanks for sharing your experiences. This group is great.