Artists and authors are the recipients of critiques by viewers and readers. Sadly in our modern era of speed and technology we seem to be in such a hurry that we react to something and do not allow ourselves the slow time to ponder why and to examine the meaning of the reaction. The Waldorf method of education emphasizes the creative arts. A student I knew was an excellent poet. She told me that they were also learning a separate class on critique and that was a third of their final grade. In the lightning quick reactions with technology we are not only losing literacy and competence as tool users of our languages, we are forgetting how to think. Because that is what critique is for. It teaches you how to think. Don t we want our children to grow up able to think their ways through tough situations?  To make informed choices and decisions? Then there are the critics who simply want to be mean and cause pain. Unfortunate as that is we can still learn from these experiences. A literary colleague was chagrined when a reviewer posted a negative review. Book was so awful the reader put it down. Then picked it up, read some more and then put it down in public disgust again. Then did this a few more times till the book was finished. The author had this very mature response to share: ” I m keeping that Review. This reader disliked my book SO MUCH, they had to finish it.. So, made ya read!” 

At the risk of sounding like a Pollyanna, this was a true way to “turn a frown upside down. “So the reviewer didnt like it. What do authors want? We want readers to read our books. It applies to art , too. My first art show, the first person who approached my table picked up a photo composition I had done in an old cemetery of a crumbling headstone of a little boy. I draped the stone with an antique baby gown and tipped a small Tonka truck over in front. I developed it in sepia tones.  The viewer picked it up, stared into it intently, set it down as she muttered under her breath, ” Oh, I hate this. It is so sad.” So as artist and viewer we did make an emotional connection after all. I didn t sell that piece but I still show it sometimes.


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One Response to “Critique”

  1. clover58 Says:

    We need to remember that reviews and critiques are people’s opinions. If we view as learning experiences, not as blows to our egos, we might learn something, too. Very good examples!

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