What makes a “good” painting good?
How many of us have looked at the juror’s selections in a show and scratched our heads and said “what was he or she thinking.” Yeah, me too. In the end, it all comes down to the personal likes and dislikes of one individual at a certain point in time. The key is what criteria the juror uses to make selections. Sometime it’s as simple as “I like bright colors” or “I hate barn paintings”. I’ve heard both as jurors criteria. But neither is very satisfying.
Here’s a more objective way of approaching the subject. There are four major areas that should be considered.
- -Technical ability – How well does the artist handle the medium?
- -Originality-Is the subject matter and treatment outside of the ordinary?
- -Impact-Does the painting have an emotional impact or is it just a “pretty oicture”?
- -Design- How well has the artist designed the painting so that it captures and keeps the viewers interest?
I believe the relative importance of the factors in producing a successful painting are in reverse order from the list above. If the artists mastery of the medium is not up to par, but the design is right, the result can be a very powerful painting with strong emotional impact. Conversely, if the design is poor, no amount of technical expertise can save the painting.
We will take a look at some of the design considerations and how they can be used to strengthen our paintings, and we will do a critique of COWS members paintings with respect to the above criteria with emphasis on strengths and if appropriate , how improvements might be made.
Please bring a painting or two for discussion, perhaps one that you are not satisfied with, or one that you’d just like to have reviewed.