Monday, February 23, 2015

South Carolina Clay Conference

Attention all SC potters and pottery lovers!  The City of Newberry PRT is offering a first "ever" Clay Conference, taking place at the Newberry Arts Center in Newberry, SC at the end of February 2015.  I will be speaking to the group on Sunday March 1 on the topic of Building An Art Presence.  Please plan to join us.

For more information and registration details, contact: Marquerite Palmer, Art Program Coordinator, at 803/321- 1015 or e-mail to (

Thank you for stopping
by Studio 24-7!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Putting Down Roots

Tom is pictured putting finishing touches on my studio cabinets.

As you know Tom and I moved just before Thanksgiving.  We are still trying to get things fixed the way we want and need them to be but we are finding out that it takes time to do that.  We moved a number of times when we were first married but at that time we had few worldly possessions and 45 years less of art work!

We are turning the double car garage into a shared studio and Tom is doing the work.  Thank you love.  Besides all the rooms in houses we have used as studio space, Tom has build us 2 studios and is now repurposing the garage as a studio.  In addition to this space we each have small areas inside the house for studio.  All of this is going to be very nice when completed and we are double ready for it to be done.

Tom's cabinets are just in view behind all the still to be stored studio necessities.

While the general process of learning to live in a new home has been moving along nicely we still haven't hung any art and that's getting old.  I'm accustomed to being surrounded by art and this house has some very large walls that need attention.  There is a long hallway with great wall space as well as large walls in the living room.  There are many smaller spots calling for art also....we have our work along with the work of many other artists to select from so it will be a treat to curate this "show".

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Studio 24-7!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Self Critique - Learning to Evaluate Your Own Work - Part 6 - The List

It has been a pleasure for me to share my thoughts and the thoughts of my art friends during the past few weeks regarding how to evaluate your own work or perform what I call Self Critique.  Feeling good about what we do is really great but living in a state of delusion is unfortunate so we have to learn how to find what might be changed and celebrate what is perfect as it is.

Here is a list of ideas on how to help you hone your skill at looking at your work with a sharper eye.

  • There are many answers for any issue in art whether technical or conceptual.  Be willing to take a chance on your ideas.  Be brave and give yourself credit where it is warranted while remaining open to hearing the opinions of others.

  • Work with intention and then evaluate whether or not the finished work fulfilled your intention.

  • Be willing to occasionally suspend judgment and allow your intuition to lead the way.

  • When you view your finished work ask yourself if you would be engaged by this work if it weren't your own?

  • Compare your work to someone's work you admire.  What are the qualities in that work that you admire?  Can you find those qualities in your work?

  • If you attend workshops, look at your work and see if your work still carries too much influence from exercises you may have done.  Have you processed what you learned in a workshop or class in a personal way or does the work still carry the stamp of a workshop project?

  • Does the work have presence or soul?  Can you see or sense the "something special" factor?  

  • Consider how your work fits into today's world.  Does it look fresh or tired?

  • If you are unsure about a work, hang the work and study it over time.  Invite ONE respected friend to address specific questions or concerns you may have.  Remember when doing this, you're looking for input but you don't have to agree with all or any of the possible observations.

  • Be willing to put the work away and review again later.

  • Be willing to invest in your work by spending the time required to know yourself and what you want to say.
Thank you for spending time here at
Studio 24-7.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Self Critique - Learning to Evaluate Your Own Work - Part 5

The name of this series "Self Critique - Learning to Evaluate Your Own Work" but hopefully there comes a time when you are ready to cut your work free and let it go into the world thus allowing other people to view and make their evaluations of your work.  This coming out could likely be in the form of a juried show.  This is a new way to explore your work and evaluate what you have done in relation to what a specific show prospectus states as their mission.  If the show is interested in geometric abstraction and your work is floral you will want to save your money and keep looking for a better match for your work.  If you do work with geometric abstraction then you might want to check out who is doing the jurying.  Informing yourself about the juror does not insure that they will accept your work but I believe it makes the experience of allowing another person or persons to make a judgement on your work more personal and hopefully more meaningful.

The thing you must work hard to avoid is allowing either a positive or negative outcome to a show entry to influence what how you feel about your work.  I just received a rejection notice for a show I entered.  I was disappointed but I know that there are only so many spaces for any given show and the jurors must make their best choices to fill those spaces with a cohesive and lively representation of what was entered.  I don't think jurors can say they are not swayed by their own prejudices about work they are judging but then that's in some ways what they are hired to do.  

I asked the artist I worked with on this survey if they entered juried shows and how much importance they give to acceptance or rejection.  Here's a sample of their responses.

Jane Allen Nodine:  Yes I do, and I have for over 30 years.  I have been fortunate to be selected for quite a few major national and international competitions, which gets my work out and away from my region.  I don't however give too much weight to competitions because I know the judging process is subjective.

Judy Langille:  Depending on the exhibition and how much I want to be in a show establishes how much importance I put on acceptance or rejection.  The first time I was in Quilt National I had to keep pinching myself in order to believe it.  I actually missed my oldest sons graduation from Law School in order to be there for the festivities.

Leslie Avon Miller:  It always feels better to be accepted than rejected.  Other than the emotional component though, I doubt it means much of anything once you have reached a certain level of expertise.  I think it's more about the judges and the specific show than it is about the quality of the work.

Leslie Riley:  I am pleased and honored when accepted into an exhibition and disappointed when rejected.  I am well aware of the subjective nature of a juried exhibition so I do not take the results personally.  Rejection does not devalue my art.  Shows are an opportunity for exposure and recognition.


I hope you have been enjoying this series.  Next week I will be wrapping it up with my list of points to keep in mind relating to Self Critique.

Thank you for stopping by
Studio 24-7!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Self Critique - Learning to Evaluate Your Own Work - Part 4

Have you ever had the experience of having an amazing day in your studio where you feel you are on a cloud and can do no wrong then have a spouse, friend or the delivery man show up, see what you are doing and with one off-hand remark bring your world crashing down?  If so, you are not alone.  I have listened to more than one conversation where a person describes that they really like to work with with abstract compositions but their spouse doesn't understand them and prefers more pictorial work so that's what they do.  What!!!!  Who's the artist here?  If this is where you are in your art life you have a long way to go to fulfill your personal vision and make your best work.

We are all tender about our work.  At least in the beginning when we haven't established a direction or build our art muscles but off-hand remarks or disparaging remarks by people we love and or respect (such as workshop teachers or other artist friends) can be painful and potentially damaging.  We can shrink back from our inspirations and discoveries to safer ground never to venture to these ideas again.  So I asked the artists involved in this project: Do you allow other people to critique your work?  If so, who?  How do you decide who has this priviledge?

Jeanne Raffer Beck responded regarding serious, invited critiques and says, "Each person who has given me input on my work has provided a clue or key to some question that I have had. I realize that artists vary in their aesthetics, focus and ability to communicate ideas, so I do temper their critiques with the understanding that I am the creator and need to make my own choices."

Several people mentioned critique groups or groups of artists to which they belong as being sources of feedback.  Judy Langille says, " I belong to two critique groups.  Some of the people are very good at this and others are not that helpful.  I have been in one group for many years so I have a lot of trust in them.  One of my sons is a painter and he is probably my most thoughtful and helpful critic.  He has taken the time to understand my processes and is very helpful to me in evaluating my work.  I sometimes wait to see him before I continue on a piece."

Another participant, Christine Mauersberger, had a slightly different response.  She felt it was important to have people who know her area and are aligned to textiles or contemporary art.  She further stated that she did not want to waste her time with people who are not actively involved in some form of formal art critique in their own lives.  She explained that she waits for people she respects and seeks opportunities to have private conversations.

Another question I posted was, "How Affected are you by criticism of other people especially if it is coming from someone you respect?"  I want to remind you that all of the artists responding are professional and have been working for many years in their chosen fields.

Jane Nodine said, " I'm an observer and I always take things into consideration.  Most of that material is filed away in mind, and then it percolates to the surface in the work process.  Criticism by others is not something of emphasis for me because I have my own critical standards and I'm my hardest critic."

Leslie Avon Miller responded, "I can be blown off course by mean spirited or misguided criticism, so I don't invite just any old person to comment on my art.  I learned long ago not to expect my family to get it.  I try to be curious, very curious.  Why do they think that I wonder? But that only comes a few days later."

Others mentioned connecting with other artists on Facebook, blogs and people they have known for years and whose opinions they trust.

The most important thing is to hold your ideas and creations close until you feel strong enough to understand and trust your own feelings of the worth of your creativity.

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Studio 24-7.