A Crit group is a group of artists taking turns to show their work, while the other members of the group offer their opinions on it.Critique based on the word 'criticism', usually has a negative connotation, since to criticize something usually means to point out faults. So it sounds like it could be a scary experience. But eight artists gathered together on Thursday night to start a crit group at Florence Arts Centre.
Hopefully any anxieties of the group were dispensed as introductions were made and members warmly received.
The group comes from such diverse backgrounds as education, science, project management as well as art graduates but all are currently working and identifying as artists.
There were plenty of positive comments about the work presented. Some were finished pieces, other pieces were works in production. But the function of the crit group is more than a supportive ego boost, it is about artistic growth and development.
Art is a subjective thing and some pieces will be more appealing than others. But all of us can make judgements about what we like, and why we like it. We can discuss the colours, the handling of the medium, the technique, the composition, the narrative or intention of the painting and the emotional responses we have to it.
Rachel led the group as she has been involved in an online crit group as a part of her art degree and got the discussion going.
Twiggy asked for clarification on the boundaries
"What can we say?"
"Is there anything we can't say?"
Rachel showed a work in progress. She liked some bits of it, but felt some bits weren't working.
The discussion seemed to flow easily as we discussed the colours, the light, the angles, the focus, the drips and Rachel thanked the group for their suggestions.
Next up Nanette shared a finished piece of work. Her work is strong in narrative and as she described her intention and asked for ideas on development, the group were full of ideas and suggestions.
Jenny recommended looking at artist, Freya Pocklington.
Sue shared a pet portrait she had been working on. Discussion took place around tones and values and the techniques she had used for the background.
Tom's acrylic sky was much admired as he explained that he was now wrestling with the rest of the dark space. Lots of suggestions were proffered on how to tackle the next steps.
Clare's delicate watercolour figures entwined in a landscape prompted lots of ideas for titles; bedrock, living fells, the foothills. The piece had the group mesmerised as it made our eyes work hard to take in the juxtaposition of the landscape and the life drawing.
Twiggy suggested Clare look at the work of Egon Schiele.
Twiggy's sketch was admired for the delicate layering of alcohol markers. Another piece with strong narrative. We all liked his statement "finished not perfect".
Jenny shared her current work, an unfinished piece, a memory, a diary of an experience of Staffa. Blue tones, lights and darks, amazing sea then looser passages and collaged details. Discussion arose around how she should proceed, more collaging? tighter sections?
I had brought a large abstract piece to show. A finished piece with a controversial title. I was heartened by the group's support of the long process and support of the title of the work.
All agreed that the experience had been a good one and want to continue. Whatever level of experience we have, we all have something valuable to contribute. Art in itself is an act of bravery, daring to share and ask for critique takes us to the next level.
There is space for a couple of extra people to join the group. Next meeting is on February 29th at 6.30pm at Florence Arts Centre.
Get in touch if you'd like to be involved.