As would be my tradition, I placed my painting on the easel in my lower studio and sat at the top of the stairs. This gives me a chance to see my painting from a new perspective and provides me the distance I need for assessment for the finished work. On this particular day, Molly came and sat with me at the top of the stairs. She sits right beside me, looks at the painting, looks at me, looks at the painting, looks at me. I ask, “What do you think?” she just silently looks without comment. I think “Oh my goodness! Is it that bad or is it so good she is speechless?” I look at all the elements and principles of design and discover a few elements that could be changed. Maybe a little more value and shape in that area, maybe a little more definition in the curvature. Then to my astonishment she leaves only to return with her blanket. She must instinctively know we are camping out for a while to make more decisions. She still just looks at the painting then at me, again not saying a thing; just showing support by silently being there. Some time has passed, when she senses I have finished with my decisions, she quietly takes her blanket and leaves. I appreciated her silent support allowing me the process and think through all the “next steps” without comment as would be her tradition. After all, sometimes silence is the perfect response; words can get in the way of the critique process.
Many of you who have been to classes in my studio know Molly is just a black lab (she has no idea she is a dog). Or should I say not just a black lab but a very important art critic and support. Molly did not give me a “thumbs up” but then she doesn’t have thumbs so I figure she agreed with my assessments. If she didn’t she certainly would have said something, right??? I would know for certain the painting was complete had she rung the bell. So I say, after a few changes, “I must have a masterpiece!” But for now I plan to just stay with Molly’s critique and not ask anyone else what they think and enjoy my day in painting bliss. Happy painting and if you need a critique, Molly may be able to help you!
Linda is an artist and instructor who lives in Star and teaches in her studio. She also teaches in other locations in Idaho, Oregon and Washington. You can visit her website at http://www.amanarts.com/ or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
This was published in WSO, WOW, and IWS Newsletters 2011