Open To Criticism

In my desire to more fully engage as an artist I have joined an artists  alliance that is affiliated with a local museum here in Southern California. Apparently, once a quarter, its members gather with one piece of their work and a group critique ensues.

Strikes terror in my heart frankly.

Nonetheless I have decided to attend. I have a fair number of paintings to choose from but most tend to be rather large.  Fortunately I have been working on three smaller paintings, one of which is 95% complete, it is called Peregrino de la Rosa- Pilgrim of the Rose.


Peregrino de la Rosa

oil on canvas

24 by 30 inches

The painting started out, as I posted on the following link, as a small sketch cobbled together after being inspired by my dear friend Rosa’ s nocturnal wanderings-spiritual development and a trinity of owls being major themes, the link provides more detail. But as I painted and explored I better understood the personal significance , hence my pilgrim is no longer a woman but instead one of my idealized
Poussin inspired heroes.

I have come to see this image as a moment of  decision at a crossroads, one in which I find myself. Our pilgrim has encountered a shaman like figure and is offered two paths, the more obvious one and  the more furtive one, which will he take? I find myself still struggling with this persistent question : steeling my nerves and going forward with formal training or staying on the familiar and frankly often frustrating path of self discovery. This group critique is an opportunity for me to poke my head out of the hermitage and perhaps explore options.

IMG_4079 2Detail of my peregrino

On an aesthetic level I’m happy with the tone and coloring of this painting. The underpainting was done in a very warm monochrome, essentially Indian Yellow. I’m pleased the painting retained the warmth.

IMG_3971Initial underpainting.

As I mentioned the painting is very close to completion, some noodling about with finicky details and further shadows and light but essentially finished. The critique is early this evening and I want the painting to be at least tacky dry  for transport so I will hold off fussing until tomorrow.

Wish me well and until next time, take care,


Author: babylonbaroque

I am a painter and printmaker working towards creating a body of work that reflects my own developing aesthetic. New work ,first link. The second link is an on-line portfolio.

10 thoughts on “Open To Criticism”

  1. Good luck with the critique, Leonard. I can see what a leap of faith signing up for such an event might be, and so I hope that you get a lot out of it. Look forward to hearing what the responses are.

    C x

    1. Hello Clive,
      Thanks, I admit I’m more than a little nervous but I haven’t really met mean-spirited artists very often. I suspect this will more of an introduction sort of thing as a means of building a community. This is Southern California after all, they tend to be pretty laid back bunch. Will keep you posted.

    2. Good morning Clive, i just wanted to update you a per the critique.I think it went well although it did seem they, the group assembled, didn’t for the most part know how to judge what I had painted. It was mostly an older crowd, 80’s plus it seemed, many long time SoCalifornians with either a loyalty towards AbEx or CA Impressionism-clearly I do not fall into either category. For the most part there was silence, but a few observations were made, some helpful as they confirmed my instincts.
      So all and all a positive experience, it will be less nerve-wracking in the future. What I do need to develop is a way of speaking about my work, I’m pretty shy and speaking about myself is excruciating for me-this blog has helped, but I am safe, snug and rather anonymous in my little sanctuary.
      So once again the path continues, thankfully. Thank you for your sweet encouragement, it means so much particularly as I love and admire your work (and you!).

  2. I find with critiques, being open is key. Even if someone doesn’t seem to understand you, or your work, be open to understanding them and what drives their misunderstanding.

    1. Hello Richard,
      Thanks for the advice, good to remember that this is a dialogue, empathy towards another experience is key-so thanks.

    1. I think it did, I’m happy i did it for no other reason than to mingle with other folks with similar concerns. Nice, in a perverse way, to see others struggling with doubt, compositions, material failure, etc. I look forward to the next.

  3. the colors in this one are beautiful, i am fascinated by the landscape, especially the eye in the tree. you are certainly brave to have gone to that group! i won’t even tell anyone who actually knows my physical person that i paint! 😀

    1. So far you have only shown your work online?
      Risking being bossy-pants but it helps to show it around a bit. I understand the hesitation believe me, but it is beneficial even if it isn’t the response you would have liked. This painting and its reception is a good example of that fact, but onward.
      Although happy for the fact we are moving back to LA-hoorah (alas Portland is on hold for a bit),the move entails shutting down the studio for a week or two. But eager to start afresh in a happy new sunny Los Angeles studio-let us see what comes of it!

      1. i didn’t know you’d changed your plans! never mind, la is full of interesting things, you lived there before, right? something exciting draws you back?
        oh! i am re-reading that carrington book, after you mentioned it i was drawn back in, and also i’m reading about the villa air-bel where she and also chagall, amongst many others, were awaiting a method of escape from the nazis, fascinating..
        logically, i’m certain you’re right, it’s good to expose yourself a bit, even to have a community, but what can i say, i stay inside a lot, haha.

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