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Possible new category?

From time to time somebody posts a painting that they like or make a comment about a particular technique that interests them. Some of those posters don't mind replies that lead to a knock down drag out debate while others don't want that at all, so misunderstandings can occur. Its really hard to tell, so I usually try to go by my mom's adage, "If you don't have anything nice to say don't say anything at all."

As for myself, I wish I had a circle of fellow artists with whom I could sit in a cafe and talk for hours, with the mutual understanding that its ok to really go at it, so long as it stays respectful and doesn't degenerate into insults.

Maybe it would be a good idea to have a category for that purpose. It might not be someplace everybody here wants to frequent, but it would be clear that if you post there, you can expect a debate. For example, the recent thread on hyperrealism - I just don't know whether its appropriate and respectful to the original poster to express strong opinions to the contrary or not.

Just a thought,



  • edited January 2013
    That's a great idea Martin. You can tell that many members are reluctant to be disputatious to any degree. That is understandable for obvious reasons of respecting the feelings of others and maintaining social comfort, but that also stifles the probing of issues for deeper truths and seeing what people sincerely believe. A good debate is less about winning and more about mutual learning. It also crystalizes within ourselves many of the unorganized and vague notions we have floating inside our heads.
  • This can complicate things. I would simply urge everyone not to criticize someone's work unless they ask for it, and to restrict critiques of other people's work to positive feedback and constructive criticism — which, so far, everyone does — and as far as debate on a given topic, as long as people refrain from personal attacks (which we will not tolerate), I feel it is everyone's responsibility not to let other people's comments get under their skin.

    Getting offended because someone has a different opinion than you do, even if you're sure they're wrong and you're right, is both irrational and unacceptable. If someone can't handle commentary on a certain topic, they should refrain from participating in those kinds of discussions. At the same time, if someone else gets upset by something you post, so long as it was nothing personal you were saying… it's not your problem. And if you feel it is your problem? Apologize and walk away.

    I'm not going to babysit and I don't expect anyone else to either. Over time, catering to the overly sensitive creates an atmosphere that is increasingly restrained, and this can limit the usefulness and sincerity of a community. If you (not you specifically, @mnsrc, but the general you) are easily offended — and perhaps you can't help it, that's totally fine and some people are just that way, me included in some cases — but if you are easily offended, and someone posts something that really upsets you, the correct course of action is to walk away and move on to another discussion… or take a break from the forum, if that's what it takes.

    If you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation or you're not sure how to handle confrontation that arises, do not hesitate to email me or send me a private message and we can discuss it.

    In regards to the hyperrealism thread… there is not anything you could say about hyperrealism that could possibly upset me! And I think that should be the case for anyone. Not because I shouldn't have strong feelings about the subject — perhaps I do, perhaps I'm secretly a hyperrealist painter — but because your opinion on the matter, if I have my own and you're unable to change it, is just that: your opinion. And that's it. And that's nothing to get upset about under any circumstances.
  • I love the idea, I really do, at first I thought "let's do it". But then after some thought I think that it may still end up being confusing, some may feel totally free to engage in hardcore criticism in the proposed new category; while others may not really understand the "rules" ... even if we make it very clear. I just know how things go, people will interpret "free criticism" differently etc.

    The best system is simply for the poster to beg a bit for hard criticism at the start of any post. If that person then has their feelings hurt, well tough cookies.

    I give VERY hard criticism to many people, but it is only one on one usually. Very few paintings in this world do not deserve good criticism. But I take the position to praise the good, unless asked.
    [Deleted User]chiaroscuro
  • Sounds good to me - Thanks very much for taking the time to respond.

  • Here is what I think. It's not that what I say matters, but I need to look up from my painting for a minute.

    Push the envelope. Say exactly what you think. If you go too far, you'll probably get a warning first, unlike my parole officer.

    I can't imagine that anyone in this business of trying to improve as a painter would be someone who would deliberately hurt someone's feelings. If you accidentally do it, apologize. But you have to be very sincere when you apologize, and you have to say, "I'm a poopy head."
  • mrkingmrking -
    edited January 2013
    Personally, I'd like to see it happen. To me having people say "great work' or 'love it' when it obviously needs work and improvement is just misleading and does no one any service.

    Maybe make a second category called "I don't want to really improve my work or improve as an artists, I just want you to tell me how great I am". This is where people can post that take critiques to personally. :D

    I'd also like to see it mandatory for people to upload a photo as well if asking for critique. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to help people when there is no reference to what they actual need. eg. How do I fix shadows? Sure, you can generalize, but it does no good.

    Just my two cents.
  • Taking a break from painting my walls cause my arms hurt -it sucks getting old! And I'm really getting bored doing this type of painting. My three week home update is now in it's third month!

    To Martin, I think your idea is a good one. Although this forum is about a method or the craft side of painting I think it's beneficial to any artist to explore the other aspect - the creative side of painting which does involve various theories.

    I honestly believe it takes more than a class lecture, reading a book or some article on the internet for any subject in this genre to honestly make a difference in the artists life. Anyone can take most ideas on how to do something and with some perseverance blindly follow it and achieve a degree of success.

    But there comes a time when most people ask why am I doing this? How can I make it better? What is the purpose and that's when you get into the more dicey areas of discussion.

    Articles are great but they do not engage the artist. In a discussion/debate it forces you into a deeper realm of understanding the subject either as stronger truth to your own creative approach. Many times it leads me to even a greater application of how to apply it to my own creativity. And then again, there have been many times I've totally dismissed something I completely held as a truth and when challenged it starts to fall apart and that leads me down a different road. And looking back it is the road I was meant to travel.

    That is when I grow as an artist when I am challenged on my own points of view. The view either strengthens and leads me into more reasearch and I am really able to apply it in a way I was unable to before, or was it leads me off that road and onto a different path that I need to explore.

    My own thinking is - how could I possibly believe that someone viewing my art would be engaged if I myself am not fully engaged in what I am doing while creating it on a more intellectual level?

    It would be great if we could do this and I feel make it a place to really stretch ourselves as artists. I understand David and Mark's hesitance as well. But sometimes I do want to do more than just go to a link someone posted or tell someone what I think they did great in a painting. That's why I come and go on this forum.

    Anyway I need to paint walls today! You all have a wonderful day :)

  • David and Mark's posts are full of good advice for people wanting criticism or for ones giving criticism.

    Quite often we can get 'too close' to a painting and miss something that a fresh eye will spot straight-a-way.
    One good reason for posting it on this Forum.

  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] admin
    edited January 2013
    @mrking I've seen plenty of constructive criticism here — more than I expected, honestly. When you post your work, you can ask for a thorough, brutal critique if you want, and I'm sure you'll get lots of helpful unfiltered feedback. As far as the critiques other people are receiving, don't worry about them. They're free to ask for criticism as well, but they don't have to. You don't need a special category for this. And I wouldn't assume all the "great work" and "love it" comments are insincere. We all have different tastes and ways of looking at things.

    We're also not making it mandatory to post a certain way. If you find it frustrating trying to help people who don't provide enough information or reference photos, let other people deal with it instead. We have as few rules as possible and don't try to control anybody. Everyone is responsible for themselves and getting what they want out of the forum. If what you want out of the forum is just lots of artwork to publicly analyze and critique, then I understand your dilemma, but we're catering to artists first and foremost, not critics.

    @tjs I don't understand what's stopping you from having these debates on the board as is. As long as you don't make personal attacks you can say whatever you want. The exception — and it's a request, not a rule — is that when someone posts their work in the Post Your Paintings category, don't assume they want their painting torn apart unless they ask for it. But any other topic is fair game.
  • @tjs I am having a hard time imagining you painting walls after seeing your paintings.
  • Very well put, tjs! I'm going to do as David suggests and make it clear in my posts when I'm asking for more frank exchanges on a topic, whether its an individual painting or a broader issue.

    [Deleted User]cynthiagwilson
  • tjstjs -
    edited January 2013

    @tjs I don't understand what's stopping you from having these debates on the board as is. As long as you don't make personal attacks you can say whatever you want.

    What stops me is the fact this forum is a reflection on Mark's business. And I don't want him to loose a potential student? :) The times I have discussed topics other than method, I regret it cause I am so afraid of posting something someone is going to freak out about. Artist can be very touchy :( :) It's probably what makes us artists. So I keep it to kudos or hey I found this interesting sort of thing.

    That's why I think Martin's idea is a good one. Have a seperate area that is just for this type of exchange with guidelines. I don't know, maybe have something there stating "these views expressed here are not necessarily the opinion of the owners of this forum."

    Kind of like they do in TV shows..."the opinions expressed in this show are not blah blah blah" :))

    Seems like most of the shows I watch have this! Oh dear :)

    Anyway I truly appreciate this forum and all the work involved. Thanks again for doing this!
  • @tjs The concern is appreciated, but you're overthinking things. If someone "freaks out" they can either take a chill pill or leave, so don't worry about it. Our business will be fine as long as we're fair and provide good support, which I think we do. Think of this as an open forum, not a corporate one. I guess what I'm trying to say is… Martin's idea is to have a section of the forum where people can speak their mind, and I'm saying "how about everyone just speaks their mind all over the forum, we're all adults here for crying out loud!".

    What if a debate pops up in the drawing section? Should I move it to the "everyone in this category is here to argue" section? What about people browsing the drawing section that might have wanted to see that topic? Should we have a "heated debate" version of every category? You see where I'm going with this… we're not going to compromise the simplicity and structure of the forum for people who can't handle adult discourse. Those who can't deal with it can leave.

    In any case, we're not budging on this one. Just be you, it will be okay! I'm confident you can speak your mind and keep things civil simultaneously. If not I might send you a PM about it, but no big deal.
  • I love the discussions this forum has been dishing out lately. Disagree or agree, its been worth reading each post. Priceless learning.
    I can understand why another category is needed, just for 'Art Talks and Critcs'. It's helpful . I've learned so much about hyper-realism, to why another theory may or may not stand it weights in today's art work (so to speak). Food for thought.

    Tjs - I don't think you should stop saying what makes it happen for you when it comes to art. I find your passion and views insightful. I don't have to agree, but you keep me thinking. So don't stop posting and sharing your thoughts. You and everyone here offer great value.

    I also agree why there shouldn't be another category. I've been on other forums where a view of a simple topic turns into something awful. Not to say it would have happen here. But, I can see why that door should be closed unto further notice.

    Just my 2 cents.
  • edited January 2013

    In any case, we're not budging on this one. Just be you, it will be okay! I'm confident you can speak your mind and keep things civil simultaneously.

    I believe the above sentence is the ethos of this Forum.
  • Should be a paragraph between big deal. and Above edited.

    No chance to edit post ?
  • @chiaroscuro I made the edits for you, but you can edit your posts by hovering over them, then clicking the little gear icon in the top right.
  • The great thing about spirited debate on a forum that you don't find palatable,,,either hit next or close.
    sue_deutscher[Deleted User]
  • Gotta put in my 2 cents worth/just keeping things simple.......

    what about stating that whenever a photo of our paintings are posted on this forum...that each commenter tells us 2 things.....

    1. What they like about the painting?

    2. What they think can be improved or what they dislike?

    For myself...I find it hard to critique my own work (and maybe others do to) this would be great leverage to see what others really think about it...their likes and dislikes...and allow us to grow and learn with the help of other artists suggestions.

    I don't think this approach should cause any hard feelings...if you can't handle constructive criticism...then merely DON'T post your photos...I mean whats the purpose..."just for others to say how wonderful, beautiful, your painting is and to boost ones ego??

    What do you think?

    PERFECT EXAMPLE: I painted this painting 5 years ago...before TCM...and thought it was a nice painting...24x30....however....the THING just won't sell....
    Since I live in the Southwest...I thought it would sell quickly...NOT
    Last year I had it in 4 shows....I was determined to sell it (I'm sick of looking at it) I dropped the price ridiculously low...$125 including frame...still NOTHING!

    I would LOVE for other artists to tell me their likes and dislikes...suggestions..

    I'm going to post it now....under "post your paintings" Title...the painting that won't sell"...I'm at your mercy...

    ^:)^ ^:)^ ^:)^
  • I totally see your point David. That would be a lot of work but I still like Martin's idea. A debate on debates!!!

    Savannah what I did for my last painting was really helpful to me. I asked "Tell me one thing that you really like about it and one thing that you do not like."

    I had a lot of helpful remarks. People remarked on things they liked some of which, I didn't even notice myself! And what they didn't like surprised me as well. I started a small journal and made notes. Some of it was a photo issue but I need to know that as well.

    My next painting I will keep these things in mind and never again stress over what I did in the last one!
  • Carderites

    I've been following this thread with some interest.

    As most of you know I have been an advocate for a more thorough critical appraisal both here and on the old TCM Forum.

    I have posted appraisal guidelines and a self appraisal checklist along with some detailed appraisals of paintings where members have specifically asked. Several members have sought detailed appraisals by private email.

    Part of the reason I do not post my paintings is that I mostly do studies of other artists work (to help me learn how such effects are achieved and to gain experience in techniques). Posting such work is publication and a breach of copyright.

    In the few cases where I have originated a painting, I take the view that posting it on this Forum would generate a lot of love hearts and smiley faces (you wish Denis). In the end analysis, I would not learn or grow.

    I don't think we need rules or a special playpen. What we need are some house guidelines for appraisals.

  • dencal said:

    I don't think we need rules or a special playpen.

    =)) Denis that is priceless!

    I don't know I like the playpen idea :))
  • edited January 2013
    Maybe I misunderstood the original post by Martin. Wasn't his suggestion geared toward discussions about styles, alternative techniques, controversial issues, the work of famous painters of the past and of today, etc. rather than critiquing members' works?

    I once made a comment on a thread where the topic of nudity emerged. I suggested that there was a need for more clarity about where DMP and the forum members feel the line lies between good and bad taste. In addition, I thought it might be interesting to discuss the work of some big name painters who have straddled that line or gone way over it. Learning the various views of mature people about some of these issues could make an interesting discussion. However, David seemed to want nothing to do with that and his reply to my suggestions made me feel as if I had already trespassed into something offensive, so I erased the comment.

    Maybe others don't have any interest in nudity, but that is one example of the sort of thing that I thought Martin was asking about. Another one is the debate that recently took place on the thread dealing with "Rules of Composition". That one petered out, but I'm sure it will flare up again. Martin mentioned the hyperrealism thread--I got the impression that he harbored some negative views about it, (maybe, maybe not?), but he felt unsure about expressing them. Martin would need to speak for himself, but that is the impression I got.

  • @CharleyBoy That's different. Testing the boundaries of what is or isn't pornography, and more specifically starting a discussion about what one can get away with here, is a different can of worms that I don't want opened at this stage. You had asked that Mark and I make a thread about it and I said no. We're allowed to decline suggestions. You've made lots of good suggestions about the forum in the past, some of which we're planning to implement.

    Generally speaking, as I've said over and over again in this thread, anyone can say whatever they want, anywhere in the forum, so long as it doesn't involve personal attacks. If "say whatever you want" is somehow too restrictive or vague, tough luck. We are not going to make a special category. Want to discuss a controversial issue or get into debate? Go for it, just keep it civil.

    And yes, Martin's original post was not about painting critiques, but it's my job to be thorough when laying guidelines down. And I think at this point I've made myself crystal clear. In short: don't worry about it. If a problem comes up, I will deal with it. You guys don't need to moderate this community and aren't responsible for how other people react to what you post unless it's mean-spirited.
  • edited January 2013
    David, I agree that having a different category is not necessary and understand all the points mentioned in that regard. But by starting this thread, and getting the feedback from you and others, Martin may have achieved what he wanted anyway.

    I'll gladly abide your "can of worms" concerns. I was imagining that clarification on your part might preempt embarrassments or hurt feelings. Your original response was a surprise to me, that's all. I also thought that since nudity is a significant part of fine art and since pornography is a current, in-flux social issue that it is more like the "elephant in the room" that could benefit from discussion. I could certainly be wrong--not the first time.
  • CharleyBoy

    I would certainly draw the line at nude elephants.

  • @chiaroscuro I made the edits for you, but you can edit your posts by hovering over them, then clicking the little gear icon in the top right.

    Thank you David

  • This is what I think:
    gfish said:

    Everyone has an opinion so my thoughts are, it does not have to be formal. If someone posts a painting and wants a hard critique then just ask for it. Sometimes folks just want to post and get a hug or support. It would be improper to pounce on each posting with a detailed analysis. That could prove to be a discouragement to a beginner. I remember one of the first paintings I ever did and took it to a local art discussion group. They just made over that thing and I went home with a new inspiration to get the paint out. I look at it now and think how horrible it is. At the the time though, they gave me just what I needed, encouragement. As we grow and want to progress we know there are things to learn and get to the place I believe where a more critical eye is needed. Just ask for it.

  • On Mark's old forum when I joined in 2007, there was only about 5 of us that were even posting. Marianne, Gary from Seattle, Doc and myself had some bad experiences on other forums. We thought instead of doing the usual crits on an artists painting that we'd post at least one good thing we each saw about it in hopes of encouraging the good as opposed to pointing out something that we felt was wrong.

    That worked for a long time. It did over time turn into just various accolades of kudos some of which became rather inventive. The original idea was lost but that was okay with most.

    As the years passed many felt this was not constructive enough. In a way I completely agree. It's nice to get a pat on the back but I honestly believe you should state that one thing so the artist if they see it too, has something to bring to their next painting.

    Although it's not like Denis' guidelines, each person is going to see something that they like and over a thread it does build to many things cause each sees on the most part something different.

    Even so on more than one occasion I was accused of being too saccharine :)) Or I'd get the usual PM from someone who was upset that I only commented on their oranges in a still life and not their bowl!

    Doing an indepth critique is a lot of work. And besides, I honestly don't feel qualified to critique someone else's work. But I do feel that stating something whether it's a technical or something on the more esthetic side is helpful.

    Critical critiques are something I feel each artist needs to learn to do themselves! On the old forum with all the so called 'saccharine' crits 8-> I saw people improve so fast it really blew me away! The more you learn and practice all aspects of fine art, the more your work will improve and the sharper your critical eye will become to critic your own work.

    And if you want an indepth crit - email Denis :(|)
  • Carderites

    A topical course just in time:


    Art Critique Seminar with Betsy Dillard Stroud
    COURSE BEGINS: January 22, 2012
    COURSE LENGTH: 4 weeks
    TUITION AND MATERIALS: $99.99 ($89.00 for VIP)
    INSTRUCTOR: Betsy Dillard Stroud (Bio)
    As you know, producing art is primarily a solitary activity. In many cases, any evaluation is limited to self-critique or the feedback of family & friends. Although there's certainly a place for the encouragement of family and friends, an unbiased art critique is essential to artistic growth. Have you ever asked yourself the question, "what would it be like if a professional artist were to critique my art?" Finding a trusted source to provide such feedback (and provide answers to your art critique questions) can not only help you in the evaluation of your own work, but also provide the direction you need to take your art to the next level.
    This online Art Critique Seminar is here to connect you with that expertise. Now you can get the specific, tailored advice you need to improve your painting and drawing skills. Betsy Dillard Stroud, award-winning artist and North Light Books author, will evaluate your work. After a thorough evaluation of your submissions, you will receive written feedback and recommendations for growth. Your questions will be answered, and Betsy will also provide art critique guidelines and examples that will help you not only learn what is working in your art, but what is not, and - most important - how to fix it.
    The Art Critique Seminar provides a high-level review of your work, pointing out reasons your work may not be getting the recognition you desire.
    This critique covers:
    • An overall evaluation of your artwork's strengths and weaknesses
    • Specific comments on 3 images submitted for the critique
    • Clear guidelines on how to move forward with your art
    • Extensive and personal one-on-one feedback on your work from Betsy Dillard Stroud
    What type of work can I submit?
    The Art Critique Seminar is designed to evaluate paintings and drawings in traditional media. Betsy Dillard Stroud will review two-dimensional works made in acrylic, collage, oil, pastel, watercolor, and dry media (drawing materials). Sorry, no sculpture, ceramics, digital art, or photography.
    • Beginning, intermediate, and advanced artists who wish to have their work critiqued by an award-winning artist and North Light Books author
    Click here to learn more & enroll »

  • Thanks Denis...that could be a great help to some of us.
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