So, we artists can bemoan and discuss the trepidation and vulnerability we feel at people judging our work when we ‘put it out there’. Not surprisingly, it’s a difficult thing to hang, or post, or produce what you feel is the best work you can do at the time and know the eye of the public is upon it. Judgement inevitably follows. Indeed, a wide range of responses results, from the overwhelmingly positive to the don’t say anything to the outright negative.
But we judge our own work too, possibly more harshly than anyone else. Judgement and a constructive ‘inner critic’ are, in the works of Mark McGuinness, what separate us from the league of amateurs. From tiny judgements about the shape of a mark to the big judgements about the quality of a finished work, the process is ongoing and vital.
But, it is a hard habit to break. I have recently undertaken to paint a large number of sketchbook-sized, meaningless, abstract experiments. The two rules? Just play and NO judgement; move through the process applying paint as the mood dictates and accepting the pieces that may be ugly, mistakes, stupid, embarrassing, too much like someone else’s, or just plain awful without attaching any of those labels. It is nearly impossible and takes great discipline or, perhaps more importantly, detachment. Just accept each one and carry on. It’s difficult and perhaps significantly against the grain.
I suppose judgement, in its purest form, is what guides us. It’s a word that has quite harsh connotations in our current age when directed towards others but, in essence and at its best, it keeps us safe, living our best lives and aiming for better.
Blogs, like artwork, can be judged too. Just putting it out there.