Professional Artist Portfolio Critique #2

Video critique of professional artist Traci Turner’s portfolio


by Clara Lieu

Many people think that being an artist is only about creating the artwork.  Actually, there are several other aspects of being an artist that can carry almost as much weight. Critique is a huge part of the creative process for artists.  The opportunity to get advice on your artwork is critical towards an artist’s growth and progress. Inherently, all artists are stuck in their own heads when they produce their artwork. No artist ever gets to a point where they no longer need feedback on their artwork.  For this reason, it’s impossible to see your work objectively, which is why it’s so important to get a fresh set of eyes to look at your work and evaluate where it’s going.

Kaining1

Even though I’ve logged over a decade as a professional artist, I still have to take initiative to seek out my artist friends and colleagues to critique my work. Frequently, they’ll point out some aspect of the work that I hadn’t even thought of, or was super obvious to them, but that I was oblivious to.

Unfortunately, unless you are enrolled in a studio art degree program, there are very few opportunities to get trusted, professional feedback on your artwork.  From my research, I’ve seen that there is a lot of content on Youtube about people talking about how to speak at a critique, and describing how a critique works, but the problem with this approach is that it only goes so far. Ultimately, one needs to see a critique to truly understand what a critique entails. If someone explained to you verbally how soccer was played, you would understand technically what the game involves.  However, until you actually got on a soccer field and physically kicked a ball yourself in a real soccer game, your understanding of soccer would remain superficial.

Student Artwork, Drawing Foundations, Clara Lieu, RISD Pre-College

Group critique at RISD Pre-College


Currently, there is almost no content online which shows an actual art critique.The content that I did find was either completely out of context, or so poorly put together that it was basically useless. The other places I’ve seen art critiques is in online forums, but the problem with this context is that 1) the critiques are typed which is inefficient and not as impactful, and 2) the feedback is coming from sources you can’t necessarily trust and 3) people rarely want to critique the artwork of others-the vast majority of these forums are flooded with artists begging for a critique, but no one is responding.

This is why here at Art Prof one of our initiatives as an educational platform is to show audio and video critiques of artwork submitted by you, our audience. Sometimes artists will think that a critique is only useful if it’s their work being reviewed.  On the contrary, my students at RISD are always commenting how much they learn and gain from watching and listening to a critique of another student’s artwork.  In some ways, it can be easier to watch someone else’s critique because you’re removed from the process and can see the critique more objectively.

003

Painting by Traci Turner

Above you can see a portfolio critique I did for professional artist Traci Turner.  Stayed tuned for more critiques!  Prior to our launch, we’ll continue releasing Crit Quickies, 4 Artist Critiques, Interactive Video Critiques, Art School Admissions Portfolio Critiques, and Professional Artist Portfolio Critiques. Get more information about our critiques and how to submit your artwork here.


ART PROF is a free, online educational platform for visual arts for people of all ages to learn visual arts in a vibrant art community. Imagine all of the resources here on our blog, except exponentially bigger, in greater quantity, and in more detail. Our Kickstarter campaign hit its $30k goal on July 19!  Get info on our future launch by subscribing to our email list.

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A 2 Year Artistic Roller Coaster Ride

last_blast

In 2014, I had a fleeting thought for a project that seemed like complete pie in the sky. As an artist, ideas for projects float in and out of my brain.  Some ideas are stay for about 3 minutes, some linger and hang out for a week or so, and some permanently attach themselves, refusing to leave.

When you have those pie in the sky ideas, they’re fun to dream and fantasize about.  You think in your head “wow, that would be so awesome…” and “if only I could pull that off….” However, there’s the skeptical, practical side of my brain which reminds me of the brutal logistics of reality, and basically obliterates those pie in the sky dreams before they even get a chance to be even considered.

Well, this particular pie in the sky dream didn’t get obliterated, it survived-for a very, long time. And yes, it got me into a lot of artistic “trouble.”  I slowly started following a trail of tiny bread crumbs that started to appear in the forest.  Sometimes it was months of waiting between each bread crumb, and it was the greatest test of patience for someone who has very little patience to begin with.

Then, some wheels really started turning, and I realized that I was on a gigantic roller coaster ride that I wanted to stay on forever. Except that this roller coaster was in complete darkness, and it didn’t have all the tracks ahead finished yet. I was moving on the roller coaster, but frantically laying the tracks in front of me about 3 seconds before I went over them, all in the dark.

Sneak Peek

And then before I knew it, I realized that the roller coaster had grown so big that I couldn’t do it by myself anymore.  I needed a partner and a team:  a fantastic, superb group of art students, emerging artists, and numerous professionals who could help me build the tracks, shine some light on the roller coaster, and make pie in the sky real. This is the most extraordinary group of people I’ve ever worked with, and I cannot remotely come close to accurately expressing my tremendous gratitude towards their tenacity, perseverance, and faith in our project. Without my team, pie in the sky would still be an idea floating in my head, or it would be a mediocre effort that lasted for a few months and then drifted away.

This has been the most exhilarating, terrifying, stimulating, difficult, electrifying idea I have ever experienced in over 15 years as a professional artist and teacher. Every time I thought I had just finished climbing Mt. Everest, I was told “You have to climb Mt. Everest again.” I would finish my second climb, come back to the bottom and be told “Sorry, that wasn’t enough-you have to go again.”  Every time I thought I had reached a milestone, or pushed myself as far as I could, the challenges only grew increasingly larger and more difficult, and I had to rise to the task in a way that in a way that was unprecedented in my life time. On top of that, I had to keep this project top secret for TWO YEARS.  I’ve been jumping out of my skin, and can’t wait to release the hounds.


ART PROF is a free, online educational platform for visual arts for people of all ages and means. artprof.org features video courses, art critiques, an encyclopedia of art supplies, and more.

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PORTFOLIO VIDEO CRITIQUES
Prof Lieu offers video critiques on portfolios for students applying to art school and working artists. More info.


ART DARES
Every month, we assign a topic for you to respond to with an artwork. We give out prizes in several categories!  More info.


ASK THE ART PROF was a written column in the Huffington Post from about art related topics. Visit our Pro Development page.

Ask the Art Prof Live #3: Personal Themes, Never Too Late to Start Drawing


00:00

Is it a bad idea to show deeply personal themes in your artwork?
Mentioned: Nan Goldin, Edgar Degas

Nan Goldin     Degas Dancer Adjusting laces


Student drawing based on flashbacks of his mother’s death:

MO8


Student drawing based on Starbucks:

Starbucks


05:36
Artists have to be able to speak about their artwork.

Student drawing about her personal conflict about her religion:

SB8


12:52
Am I too old to start learning drawing?

Edgar Degas’ figure sculptures:

Degas Figure Sculpture

Henri Matisse’s cut out collages:

Matisse Collage


17:18
Experience can be a crutch for some students.


ART PROF is a free, online educational platform for visual arts for people of all ages to learn visual arts in a vibrant art community. Imagine all of the resources here on our blog, except exponentially bigger, in greater quantity, and in more detail. Our Kickstarter campaign hit its $30k goal on July 19!  Get info on our future launch by subscribing to our email list.

FB   Youtube    tumblr    Pinterest    LinkedIn    Instagram    Twitter    snap_chat   email


Ask the Art Prof Live is a weekly live video broadcast on my Facebook page where I provide professional advice for art students and professional artists. Ask the Art Prof began as a written column in 2013 and was featured in the Huffington Post from 2013-2015.  See the full archive of columns here. Ask me your questions by commenting on the live video post as the video streams, and I’ll answer right away. I’ll discuss being an artist today, art technique & materials, work strategies for artists, career advice, teaching art, and more. Like my Facebook page and you’ll receive a notification when each live video begins.


Related Live Videos
#8: Should I do the Starving Artist Phase in New York City?
#7: How do I Improve My Art?  How do I Find My Artistic Style?
#6: Teaching High School Art, Teaching Color
#5:  Starting Art School, Avoiding Cliches
#4:  Oversaturation, Brainstorming, Beginning a Series
#2:  Aches While Drawing, Professional Artwork vs. Student Artwork
#1:  Graduate MFA Programs

Ask the Art Prof Live #2: Aches While Drawing, Professional Artwork vs. Student Artwork

 

00:00
Aches while drawing

08:33
The artist’s run

10:52
What distinguishes professional artwork from student artwork?

17:43
Archival art materials


ART PROF is a free, online educational platform for visual arts for people of all ages to learn visual arts in a vibrant art community. Imagine all of the resources here on our blog, except exponentially bigger, in greater quantity, and in more detail. Our Kickstarter campaign hit its $30k goal on July 19!  Get info on our future launch by subscribing to our email list.

FB   Youtube    tumblr    Pinterest    LinkedIn    Instagram    Twitter    snap_chat   email


Ask the Art Prof Live is a weekly live video broadcast on my Facebook page where I provide professional advice for art students and professional artists. Ask the Art Prof began as a written column in 2013 and was featured in the Huffington Post from 2013-2015.  See the full archive of columns here. Ask me your questions by commenting on the live video post as the video streams, and I’ll answer right away. I’ll discuss being an artist today, art technique & materials, work strategies for artists, career advice, teaching art, and more. Like my Facebook page and you’ll receive a notification when each live video begins.


Related Live Videos
#8: Should I do the Starving Artist Phase in New York City?
#7: How do I Improve My Art?  How do I Find My Artistic Style?
#6: Teaching High School Art, Teaching Color
#5:  Starting Art School, Avoiding Cliches
#4:  Oversaturation, Brainstorming, Beginning a Series
#3:  Personal Themes, Never Too Late to Start Drawing
#1:  Graduate MFA Programs

“Ask the Art Prof” on Facebook Live on Thursday, April 7 at 9:30pm EST

clara3

Many of you have probably noticed that my “Ask the Art Prof” advice column for visual artists on the Huffington Post has been on hiatus since last August.   Last September, an enormous project kicked into high gear that has been consuming all of my time since then.

A few weeks back, I actually had some spare time for a change, and I started writing a new column.  I have to admit that I felt bored.  The writing process felt tedious, slow, and limited. This had never happened before when I was writing a column.  Previously, the words always seemed to spill effortlessly on the page, and I really enjoyed the process of gradually organizing and editing my thoughts into a coherent form.  I didn’t want to, but I abandoned the new column after about an hour of frustration.

I started wondering whether my advice column needed a change, perhaps a new format or direction. After all, I’ve been writing “Ask the Art Prof” for 3 years now, and I’ve written over 120 columns at this point. So I think it was synchronicity that I started reading about Facebook Live in the news at the same time that I was re-evaluating the format of my advice column. On top of that, I noticed in my Twitter feed that New York Times Op-Ed Columnist Nicholas Kristof has started doing Facebook Live posts recently on his Facebook page. Just thinking about all the possibilities with this new format got me excited.

I’d like to invite you to join me for “Ask the Art Prof” on Facebook Live on my Facebook page on Thursday, April 7 at 9:30pm EST (Eastern Standard Time) Like my Facebook page and you’ll receive a notification when my live video begins.

This live video will be similar to my advice column, in that you’ll get to ask me anything you want that’s related to being a visual artist: the creative process, art school, career advice, art techniques, teaching art, how to be a working artist today, and much more.

Show up for the live video and ask me questions by commenting on the post while I’m live, and I’ll answer right then and there.

See you then!

Final Crit

ART PROF is a free, online educational platform for visual arts for people of all ages and means. artprof.org features video courses, art critiques, an encyclopedia of art supplies, and more.

FB    Youtube    Pinterest     Instagram    Twitter    email    etsy


PORTFOLIO VIDEO CRITIQUES
Prof Lieu offers video critiques on portfolios for students applying to art school and working artists. More info.


ART DARES
Every month, we assign a topic for you to respond to with an artwork. We give out prizes in several categories!  More info.


ASK THE ART PROF was a written column in the Huffington Post from about art related topics. Visit our Pro Development page.

Video Critiques for Aspiring and Professional Artists

RISD Section 19

Due to popular demand, I am now expanding my video critique program to include video critiques for aspiring and professional artists, in addition to video critiques for students preparing a portfolio for college admission.

Many artists of all ages and levels of experience have emailed to me over the past few months asking for me to critique their artwork. The people who have emailed me have said that they have no one who they can ask for feedback on their artwork, so I am pleased to be able to provide a solution for this need.

Each video critique is 30 minutes long, covers 8-20 artworks, and costs $60 USD. Get more information here, and you can watch a sample video critique of a student’s portfolio for college admission below.


ART PROF is a free, online educational platform for visual arts for people of all ages and means. artprof.org features video courses, art critiques, an encyclopedia of art supplies, and more.

FB    Youtube    Pinterest     Instagram    Twitter    email    etsy


PORTFOLIO VIDEO CRITIQUES
Prof Lieu offers video critiques on portfolios for students applying to art school and working artists. More info.


ART DARES
Every month, we assign a topic for you to respond to with an artwork. We give out prizes in several categories!  More info.


ASK THE ART PROF was a written column in the Huffington Post from about art related topics. Visit our Pro Development page.

When to Stay, and When to Walk Away

Clay Portrait Sculpture

Lately it seems like my patience is being tested in a way it never has been before. Patience doesn’t come naturally to me, and it’s a skill I’m constantly trying to work on.  I always want to keep moving forward, and when the work comes to a standstill,  it can be torturous. I feel like I’m doomed to linger in Purgatory for an undetermined amount of time. I fight a constant dilemma in my head with every single project I work on in terms of when to stay, and when to walk away.

When I’ve worked on a project for a long time, and start to get an itch to move on, I start to obsess over a stream of questions that have no definitive answers.  Am I just being impatient? Am I not giving the work enough time to truly develop and come to full fruition?  Am I cutting off my work flow prematurely? Or would further work on the project just be repetition of what I’ve already done?  Am I wasting my time if I stick around?  What if there’s something amazing that’s just around the corner that I could discover if I stick around for a few more weeks? What if there’s nothing worthwhile in the future, and I’m just beating a dead horse? What point am I at in the project, is this the end?  Or is it really just the beginning? Should I stop thinking so much? Is my thinking paralyzing the project?

I’ve had some projects naturally wrap themselves up in a neat package that feels resolved and complete. At different stages, I can feel confident about where I am in the project.  I know when I’ve got a long way to go, and I can clearly see the finish line slowly emerging as I approach. That was certainly the case with my last body of work, Falling, which I worked on for four years. When I was working on the mezzotint prints, I knew the project would be over when the prints were finished.

Final state     Final State

Other projects can be incredibly rocky, chaotic, with a million unpredictable factors that are up in the air.  I can’t see the finish line at all. I have the choice to keep running, with the frightening thought that the finish line I’m looking for might never materialize.  Or, I can stop while I’m still ahead, with the possibility of either 1) feeling regret later or 2) feeling relieved that I didn’t waste time on a project that was going nowhere.

Sometimes I get so fed up to the point that I force a finish line by stopping and drawing it myself. This time, I’m going to keep running.  I’m going to wait for a finish line to emerge on it’s own time, no matter how long I have to run.


ART PROF is a free, online educational platform for visual arts for people of all ages and means. artprof.org features video courses, art critiques, an encyclopedia of art supplies, and more.

FB    Youtube    Pinterest     Instagram    Twitter    email    etsy


PORTFOLIO VIDEO CRITIQUES
Prof Lieu offers video critiques on portfolios for students applying to art school and working artists. More info.


ART DARES
Every month, we assign a topic for you to respond to with an artwork. We give out prizes in several categories!  More info.


ASK THE ART PROF was a written column in the Huffington Post from about art related topics. Visit our Pro Development page.