The Importance of Artist Critiques

I can be pretty stubborn minded sometimes, and my mother knows this well.  Which is why she says she doesn’t give me much advice.

When I first started my Etsy shop I had wanted to create nursery art for boys because the art I found wasn’t what I wanted.  I wanted something more bold and bright in his room.  So, I made my own art – an owl family portrait.

About a year later, I read an article about what book publishers are looking for in an illustrator.  I asked my mom to read it and critique my work based on the article.  (I should mention my mom is a lot of amazing things.  She’s a salesperson, an artist, and an excellent guitar player, singer and teacher.  She goes for walks or does another form of exercise daily and makes most of her meals from scratch, a rarity these days.  My mom is also very well read.)  After she read the article she said that my work seemed too dark.

I, of course, was thinking stubborn and incredulous thoughts.  Really?  I thought it was cute.  This was supposed to be nursery art.  My son likes it.  I thanked her for the advice and then spent a while looking at it with her eyes.  Hmmm… it was pretty dark, and I could see how the owls’ expressions might not seem very warm.  So, when I did my new owl portraits, I made sure they were colorful, yet not too dark, and the expressions and gestures were peaceful and soft.  See the owl family portrait illustrations from 2013 and 2015.

gender neutral owl family of three with deep blue background
Owl Family, 2013
illustration of sleeping owl family on a branch with stars.jpg
Owl Family of Four, 2015

The lesson I learned is that even as a professional artist, it is still important to have someone else look at your work and give a critique.  Since then I have been consulting friends, and my husband, who has given me very helpful suggestions.  I am very grateful for all the help and advice I have received.  Thank you, Mom!  Happy Mother’s Day to the smartest, prettiest, musical mom I know.  I am very lucky to have you as a mom and grandmother for my son.  Love you!

Linda, Oil on Board, 2001
Linda, Oil on Board, 2001

Here is an oil painting I did of my mom in 2001 when I thought I had to be a serious and ultra weird artist.  Please excuse the dust.  She actually has it framed and hanging in her house.  See?  I told you she is an awesome mom!

*If you would like a custom owl family portrait, please contact me.  If you would like to buy an owl family print for your baby’s owl themed nursery, please click here to visit my Etsy shop.

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