Thursday, November 10, 2011

Review and Peer Review

You remember way back in the olden days, when you were in school and expecting a test and you sweated all night and came huffing and puffing into class only to find that Fate had been exceptionally kind and the instructor had suffered a little stroke and decided to hold a review? You remember that?

What a relief! You escaped to drink beer and eat pizza on more night. And the review itself may have done some good and certainly did no harm.

That’s still true. Review is one of the most helpful things any creative person can do. You can do it one your own, with no one there to cloud your judgment of how grand you are. But be forewarned, it is harder than hell to do it for yourself.

Writers have known this for ages. When you read what you have written, you read it the way it should be as opposed to the way you wrote it. (Listen up Apple, instead of wasting so much time on smart phones why not design a keyboard which types what I want instead of what I type?) It really is better if you have another set of eyes doing the looking cause they will see the time you wrote te instead of the.

I don’t know about art, it is pretty subjective and each person will see it differently, but having many eyes look at your work can’t be even a little bad.

And if you are lucky and have some of the best artists in the area as pals maybe they’ll look over your piece and see the things a potential juror will see and let you know in time to change a realistic piece for a more abstract piece cause the juror who is a pal of one of your pals doesn’t like realism and would only down-grade your piece but the time you were working on the huge canvas and left it for just a second to answer the phone/door/feed the cat or anything else and the dog/cat/kids ran through the studio and knocked the canvas on the floor while it was still wet and it picked up all of the patterns of the run along with whatever the dog tracked in and kids spilled and the spouse dropped and changed you lovely floral into some phantasmagorical scene of chaos.

If you have pals like that please use them. Maybe they’d like you to do the same for their work. If you don’t man up and do the job yourself.

But when you do don’t do it like a teenage girl buying a new pair of jeans. When you look at the piece don’t focus on what is wrong, try to find what you did right.

So lets take a look at an example and the saga of looking at it right and not like a grumpy DOT guy issuing new license plates.

This is a sketch, (You do recall that I am trying to relearn how to draw?) of Gina Gershon. Right, it doesn’t look a thing like her to me either in fact it looks a lot more like one of the apostles or a renaissance dandy than it does like a talented and most attractive actress.

But in going back over my files, as I do from time to time, I started looking at this piece and it slowly changed form completely wrong to something not at all bad and probably useful..

So off to the photo-editor, (Nope not PhotoShop, I’m still opposed to shelling out the scheckles for the high-priced spread.), and this is what came out. I pushed it around for a while and I got to where I liked what I saw. Then I tried again and came up with another view which for me worked almost as well.

So now from a bad sketch of a very handsome lady I have two abstracts which I rather like and may well use at some point in the future. Review your work.

And if you have friends get them to review it too.

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