I'm often asked what do I do about inspiration and people are often surprised that I don't sit around and wait for it. .The answer is that my job as a professional artist is to be working consistently in my studio. This means every day. I'm not playing or waiting for inspiration though there may be times when I experiment. I'm working towards a goal, whether it's a commission, or to build a body of work, to promote or just be a better artist. I don't just paint when the spirit moves me or have the time but I work in the studio because that is what I do. I am an artist and artists make art consistently. I do spend time thinking and planning but production is the most important. If I don't actually make art, I have nothing except a bunch of good ideas or worse, no ideas because I'm not focused on the work. It doesn't mean that inspiration doesn't exist or that some work is not more inspired than others, it merely means that I must work each day regardless of whether I feel like it or not. It's the process of working that gives rise to new ideas. With luck and steady application, I can expect inspired patches from time to time. As the American contemporary realist Chuck Close said 'Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and got to work.'
I’ve been asked to be a jury member for Konst i Roslagen (Art in Roslagen) in March. Being on an jury for art is always interesting partly because it encourages me to step outside my subjective point of view and consider other aspects of a piece of work. As anybody who knows me can attest, I have strong feelings about what constitutes art and it’s good for me to re evaluate my opinions from time to time.
Certainly judgement should not be a haphazard view based on what a jury likes or doesn’t like or on what’s trendy. I don’t know if all section juries follow them there are specific guidelines for critiquing artwork which was one of the first things I was taught in my university fine art program. It is ‘DAIJ’ which stands for Description, Analysis, Interpretation, Judgement. Here are the steps briefly outlined
Description Just as it says, first you describe the facts, including the name of the work, artist, medium, etc. What does the art look like, the first impression, what is it made of, what objects do you see in it. What textures, shapes, or colors are there. Are the colors vivid and bright, or subdued etc. are straight No opinions are added yet.
Analysis The art criticism evolved from the technical description to an in-depth examination of how the technical elements were utilized by the artist to create the overall impression conveyed by the work. Some of the technical elements analyzed when critiquing work include:
Shapes, forms and lines.
Light and shadow.
Then an evaluation is made on how each technical element contributes to the mood, meaning and aesthetic sensation of the work.
Interpretation The art critique now becomes more subjective. A supposition of the artist's intended purpose for the work is formed using the technical analysis of the work as a basis. . Elements to consider are :
What does the piece means to you, and why.
What do you feel is the artist's intended purpose for creating that particular work of art.
Why did the artist made the choices in technique, materials and subject matter and how they relate to the intended purpose.
An identification of symbols in the artwork and a description of how they relate to the artist's technical choices and contribute to the artist's execution of the intended purpose.
What do you think the artist is trying to say through the work of art and by what means.
In short: Basically, how does the painting make you feel? What does it make you think of? What do you think the artist is trying to communicate to you as a viewer?
Judgment The evaluation of the work. This is a summation of the art criticism process leading up to this point. The analysis and interpretation is used to draw conclusions and reach judgments about the artwork and include:
A statement of the work's perceived value. For example, its value may be to evoke nostalgia, to incite anger or to impart beauty. Why do you feel this way.
A description of the work's relevance to the art community and to people as a whole.
An explanation of where you feel the work has strong value and where you think it falls short. Is it a success or failure in your opinion, is it original or not etc. Here’s the place for all the gut feelings that you had when you first looked at the work.