VineArts Boise

The scariest word for artists

By on April 19, 2010

Critique, of course. How do you handle it? Do you welcome it? Dread it? Avoid it? Get defensive? What if you’re slammed by feedback that’s not given in fairness or love? Have you been crushed by a cruel remark?

Tomorrow night we’ll talk about this, along with artistic jealousy. It’s easy to resent another artist for their talent or position. When you feel jealous, how does it affect your thoughts about yourself? Know an antidote? Rory does. Join our book study on Heart of the Artist by Rory Noland, 1st & 3rd Monday nights in the studio. Or join our discussion online. We’d love to hear from you.

Posted in: The Palate


  1. Jessie Nilo
    April 24, 2010

    This week at the Palate, Lisa led the discussion about critique and jealousy. She asked us to spread out around the room at the tables, and using pastels/charcoal, to draw rough sketches on newsprint (we could draw stick figures, non-representational images, etc)… representing:

    1) the moment we received our WORST artistic critique or discouraging comment from somebody,

    2) the moment we received our BEST artistic critique or encouraging comment from somebody.

    After 20 minutes of thinking, drawing, and feeling, we partnered with one other person and took turns sharing our two drawings and accompanying stories.

    My story involved my 8th grade art teacher who had us design a “logo” (whatever that was) using the initials of our name. Of course he never explained anything about graphic design. Confused and frustrated, I couldn’t muster up something good. My art teacher told me I should never go into commercial art because I obviously didn’t have the creativity for it.
    So although I’d always been an exceptional draftsman in “drawing what I see,” in that moment I knew I didn’t have creativity, originality, or anything fresh to say with my art.
    I didn’t question his verdict from 1983 all the way to 2004 when I founded VineArts. I was finally starting to realize that God made EVERYONE creative, not just some people, and that included me. I chose to believe that truth long before I started feeling the evidence of creativity in my heart.
    Only in the past year have I started to truly KNOW without a doubt that I am creative after all.
    My second drawing depicted how I felt when accomplished artist Dean Estes affirmed a painting I had created. On my sketch at the Palate, I simply wrote: “You SEE me.”

  2. Lisa Marten
    April 24, 2010

    Jessie, that’s an awesome explanation of the bit of “art therapy” that we did that night. Thank you for sharing your stories with us. Wow! I like the “you SEE me” that you were able to recognize.

    It’s so easy to remember the negative criticism and critique that has wounded us over the years, but to rememeber the positive and encouraging feedback we’ve received too…that’s where we all needed help. As one member of the group said…for some reason we do tend to only remember the bad stuff. And we can tend to “live” in that negativity without even realizing it. So this is why it was important, after we shared our stories with the person we were partnered with, that we had a chance to reaffirm eachother and pray for each other regarding the painful critiques.

    I’m really enjoying this book study as a chance to get real with my own heart about how I view myself as an artist…and it’s encouraging when I get to see other creative hearts experience the same.

  3. April Robbins-Hughes
    April 24, 2010

    Although I haven’t been able to come to Wednesday nights because I am in the Theophostic prayer class next door on those nights; I have really enjoyed being kept in the loop.

    I remember in college a teacher tellling me that I was a complete waste of her time. I didn’t draw for years. Somehow, though, your inner creativity leaks out in doodlings, etc, when you’re not thinking about it.

    I find it hard to remember the good comments because I think once you’ve received a lie; anything that doesn’t match that seems to just roll off.

    I do remember; however, what I think was probably the best comment ever. It was after I was married and had a child. My friend’s son is a professional artist—actually makes a living at it. He saw some of my drawings and told me he could only hope to draw as well as I did, that he just doesn’t see this quality of work around. I felt uncomfortable receiving such a compliment.

    I have to admit, it’s easier to remember the bad stuff. What changes everything for me is that I now know the LORD and paint for Him. Sometimes He tells me to loosen up, that I’m trying to be too perfect and He just wants me to have fun. The funny thing is, when I let myself do that it seems like those are the paintings people gravitate towards. Ironically, they are usually the paintings I look at and am critical of–I could have blended more, made it more realistic, etc, etc.
    What I love about the LORD is His ways are higher than ours and He heals us as we yield to Him.

  4. Sheila Hudson
    April 24, 2010

    (Gotta say, I left my web address here but it’s woefully out of date! Still, there is an awesome essay there written by Holly Hudson as well as other stuff. I just had to let you know since I feel funny leaving my website address these days.)

    Now, to the book study: I enjoyed Monday night’s group experience and although I did remember a horrible remark a teacher made to me in 3rd grade, overall I would have to say that I have had overwhelming support for my art over the years and I praise God for that. I am excited too because there is so much still to explore. Alas, for more hours in each day and more energy for the extra hours!
    Also, I am loving developing new relationships through Vinearts, thanks so much!

  5. Simon B
    April 25, 2010

    Hi Guys

    It’s great to here how you are sharing and exposing your vulnerability – scary stuff for creative people.

    I have often found ‘indifference’ to my work seems to affect me the most. This is when my mind fills in the blanks and self doubt creeps in.

    Criticism of my work enables me , when I sit and think about it to grow because it is a comment I can respond to and work on. How I work on it is often where I have to apply myself. But when I get my head on straight and let God in, often and some time later, that work or a renewed version has been used in some small way as God turns what is in my hand to His purpose.

    Thanks for the blog

  6. Rena Lute
    April 26, 2010

    I’ve tried to “soften” others critisism by thinking they feel so insecure themselves… but then I turn around and “live” in that negativity, it’s true! how easy that is. It’s time to sing those songs of Psalms to each other!! Thank you for praying with me, Lisa, and singing the first verse 🙂 Thank you both for the ministry of the Vinearts, a place to fit, and blending all ages….. I feel old, don’t like it the thought, and love your youth and energy!

  7. revelatorart
    May 7, 2010

    Hey there, thanks for posting comments. Sorry for the delay in getting them up for you to see. Please have patience with us, we’re still a bit new with this site. I’m touched that you guys have been challenged and inspired by the book study and I want to encourage you to keep diving deep. We’re finishing up our Heart of the Artist book study on Monday May 17. Thank you all for participating (whether in the group or via internet). Do continue to post and dialogue if you want. We’re trying to offer various ways that artists can learn, grow, and connect with each other.

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