Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Critique your art?

I need a day to get out ahead of the blog on the Charleston painting demo and so I came up with this idea!

Here it is: If you will e-mail me a jpeg of one of your paintings I will critique it in an upcoming post. I will of course photoshop your name off of it and I won't tell the other readers whose it is. I promise, digitally. I don't know whether anyone will send me an image or if I will be deluged with images, but I could perhaps do several if there is enough interest. I think this would be a great teaching device. My e-mail address is


Please put the word critique in the subject bar rather than free Rolex or one of those curious enlargement messages I seem to be getting so many of these days.

The image above is a close up of a Vermeer, "The art of painting". I am currently wearing a pair of socks just like the ones he has on in the picture. Lets notice another thing, his right hand is resting on a mahl stick.

I don't know how many of you know about, or use a mahl stick. When I first arrived in Rockport in 1983 they were so obscure that I was occasionally referred to as that artist with the stick. Times change, perhaps everyone knows what a mahl stick is now, but I will explain for you who do not. The idea is that the artist can rest his painting hand on the stick rather than putting the heel of his hand down in the wet paint. It gives a nice steady platform for doing detailed work out in the middle of a painting. I have several, but the one I use most is just an ordinary dowel from the lumber yard. Mine is 1//2 inch in diameter and 48" long. I use it a lot. I also have a screw together one I keep in my box for outdoors. It really helps sometimes, like a bridge on the pool table.

Incidentally, It looks to me as if Vermeer is starting at one point on his canvas and working out from that. His palette is probably hidden in the other hand holding the base of the stick. We don't see it because artists in those days often used quite small palettes rather than the big kidney shaped palettes that became popular later. I don't think you can see it in this reproduction, but Vermeer has a white drawing, probably chalk indicating the big outlines of his model on the slightly toned canvas.

So send me something to crit. I am excited to see what you send,and again, I wont let ANYBODY know whose art I am critiquing........Stape
image; artrenewal.org


JAMES A. COOK said...

Great idea STAP. You are right, this will be an excellent teaching tool for you to critique original paintings from students. Another great teaching idea that I discovered last night is this. Just as I started to read your blog on the South Carolina painting , I stopped at the photograph and didn't go any further. I didn't want to get influenced by your interpretation of the scene and then proceed to paint my own painting from the photo . After finishing my painting( 2 hrs ) , I found out that it was the best thing for me, to now continue with your blog to see how you finished your painting. My composition was almost the same but my brush work was not and my colors needed to be warmer. This was a valuable lesson for me . Because I could compair your thought process against mine and from that I learn. I would like to do this again.

Stapleton Kearns said...


Did you put in the alligator? We will see if anyone sends me an image. I have a bunch of regular readers although I don't know who they are.......