The Importance of Art Critiques

art-critiqueThe act of painting can be a solitary endeavor. The majority of an artist’s studio time is spent in contemplative interaction between subject matter and surface. Even when surrounded by fellow artists, either in a classroom or plein air event, it’s as if we are alone. England’s venerable statesman, Sir Winston Churchill, summed it up this way, “Painting is complete as a distraction. I know of nothing, which without exhausting the body, more entirely absorbs the mind.”

While a passion to communicate visually lies at the core of the desire to paint, and the diversity of individual vision ultimately leads to great artistic expression, artwork cannot be created in a vacuum. The feedback, both positive and negative, garnered from others plays its part in our creative development. Having perspective on what we are asking for and what we are receiving is the key to making critical feedback useful.

The intimacy involved in painting can make it hard to be subjective. Heartfelt emotions are involved and often cloud objectivity. This leads many painters to seek the viewpoints of peers whether from formal group critiques or individual one-on-one

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Art Supplies on a Budget

can_o_brushesIf you’re an artist, you undoubtedly know how expensive this hobby or profession can be. A single brush or a tube of paint, if high quality, can run over a $100!

While I never advise using cheap, inferior art supplies, I do have my tricks. But before you go off bargain shopping, let me tell you what not to do.

Cut costs on supplemental items, but do NOT go cheap on the mediums. If you’re using a specific technique, try not to use student grade or bargain brands for your mediums. These lesser brands will usually will have less pigment in them. A good comparison is Crayola Crayons, and the other less expensive brands. If you compare the two, the other brands are less colorful and intense than Crayola. They contain more wax than pigment, which is why they cost less.

Paints are very similar. Student grades or bargain brands often will have less pigments in them and more fluid in their base, especially in acrylics. Some have a high degree of polymer binder and less pigment, making them somewhat transparent or dull. You’ll also see this in oils, where

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How To Get Your Art Noticed

Art-ExhibitionBeing a creative entrepreneur can have bipolar effects–it takes a balancing effort worthy of the Wallendas to stay humble and yet simultaneously broadcast to the world that you’re talented and your art is worth buying. But I’m here to tell you that you must promote your work! Doing so is the best way to market yourself as an artist and ultimately sell your art. Call it boldness, call it audacity, call it what you want, but when it comes to art business, you cannot wait for someone to stumble across your work if it’s stacked up in your studio. No matter what your art is–sculpture, painting or photography–get it into the buyers’ hands.

In the 2016 Photographer’s Market, you’ll find articles on how to sell your art, keep your files organized, protect your copyright and much more. The following excerpt is on how to get your art noticed by using self-promotion mailers.

There are basically three ways to acquaint photo buyers with your work: through the mail, over the Internet or in person. No one way is better or more effective than another. They each

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Creativity in Practice

Creative business owners get into the profession because they love design. We all come to this work from the creative side. And many of us, whether we’ve been in the industry for less than a year or more than a decade, at last come to a sighing admission: “I’m not really good at the business stuff.” It’s the design we love, not the numbers and the administration and the marketing. We wanted to do creative work and then discovered that the business stuff is unavoidable.

If running your business is a struggle, why not use the same creative thinking you apply to your design work?

But business work is creative work, and can be just as fun, exciting and fulfilling. You can approach the business work in the same way, using the same set of talents and insights you use on the creative side.

You just have to make your business development a creative project. Whether you’re about to begin work on an advertising layout or a year-long marketing plan, ask yourself how you’d apply the same principles and the same thought process, approach and execution to the business project that you would to the creative project. Here’s how:

Be yourself. Your creative work

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Posterity versus Prosperity

Attacking the Starving Artist Syndrome

For a number of years, I was a guest blogger for, one of the premier worldwide online art vendors. One of my most popular articles was “Posterity versus Prosperity.” which attacked the starving artist syndrome. There is an unrelenting sentiment among some artists, collectors, and critics that making money from making art robs the “artiste” of the purity of making art for art’s sake. Those who think this way seem to think it’s not possible to create art that is aesthetically pleasing, if not perfect, while also making art that sells. They assign such thoughts to the silly notion of “selling out.”

It seems this ludicrous thought pattern only affects visual artists. There’s no backlash against filmmakers, musicians, authors, or playwrights for creating enormously successful work. Perhaps we should blame Vincent van Gogh. Sure, suffering for one’s art can cause deep anguish that results in expressive art; however, it’s not the only way to make fabulous art. I believe well-fed artists can muster creativity and interpret feelings and hardships without having to live through them.

Artist Yuroz: A Commercial Success

In my “Posterity versus Prosperity” guest post, I wrote about an artist named Yuroz, who has made millions

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Embrace Inspiration by Neely McLaughlin

Lisa L. Cyr’s mixed-media fantasy-inspired work invites the viewer to participate in her imaginative vision. That vision inspires both Cyr’s paintings and her desire to encourage others in creative pursuits. “Create from the heart, innovate without boundaries, strive for greatness and speak to the culture in ways that inspire and motivate,” she says, explaining, “I often use this quote I wrote on my website and other materials.” The desire to encourage other artists is part of Cyr’s own artistic path. She pursues her work with attention to its ability to speak to viewers. She also devotes considerable energy to helping others bring their artistic endeavors into the larger culture.

Freedom for personal expression and exploration is central to Cyr’s understanding of her own work and of art itself. She appreciates the voice that her art gives her. “I am very much aware that I have been given an opportunity to say something meaningful. It is my hope that my efforts will somehow make a memorable and lasting impression,” she says. These efforts have come to include not only Cyr’s mixed-media work, but also the books and articles she writes, and the lectures and workshops she gives.

Artistic journey

Since childhood, Cyr has been

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