Fair and Balanced Reporting....

2:23 PM




Watercolor Journal Pages
5.5 x 7.5 inches

How often have you created a painting and said, "Gee, wish I'd of done this instead of that," but you didn't because you were already committed to current direction of the painting?  And then, no matter how well the painting turned out, when someone complimented you on the piece, you talked about what you wished you would have done rather than just saying, "Thank you"? We've all done it. We'll all probably do it again. 

When I worked in the pharmaceutical industry, we had to abide by something called Fair and Balanced Reporting, and simply worded, it meant you had to provide an accurate perspective on any drug you were marketing. An example would be a drug that could cure ingrown ears, but it would cause you to grow green, smelly, hairy warts on your big toes. To be fair and balanced, you had to report both the effects (you could hear!) and the side effects (you had to wear sandals because of the warts) of the drug. The good and the bad.

And what does that have to do with art, you're asking? Well, I've recently run across several artists tearing their work to shreds, publicly—not so much of a critique, mind you, but more of a litany of every last little detail that's wrong, didn't go right and that what they wanted to change." Hmmm, sound familiar? I know it does to me as I'm quite guilty of this myself!  

What I did NOT see was any mention of what went right, what turned out well, what pleased them and what they are particularly proud of about the given image. Now, I don't know about you, but I have yet to paint a painting, journal a page or create a sketch that there wasn't SOMETHING that I didn't like or want to change or do better! However, in fairness, there was always something I liked, an area that turned out well or that I was particularly pleased with. Did I always say or write that? Hmmmm, no.

My point to this rambling post is to ask artists everywhere to take a deep breathe and check to see if you've indeed practiced Fair and Balanced Reporting BEFORE you punch the "publish" button! Did you balance the good (I have outgrown ears and can hear!) with the not so good (I have warts on my toes and they smell bad!)? Focusing on the facts, removing emotional comments (I just hate that area!), and pointing out both sides, good and bad, go a long ways towards being Fair and Balanced to the piece. Not to mention the artist. 

Critiques are so very important in the growth of an artist and we should strive to do them as well as we strive to create the artwork. To do a Fair and Balanced critique is no easy thing. We all too ready to attack our work and tear it apart before someone else can. Or so that no one thinks we think it's good work. How are we best served? With a Fair and Balanced critique which is much more likely to be an instrument for true and steady growth or a litany of ills (in our eyes) with a given piece of work?  

Yes, the vertical journal page appeared on the blog a couple of days ago. The horizontal version is new to the blog. The pages are from an exercise in the Artful Journaling class where we are studying page design. If you are interested, there are still some spots available in the Explorations class!

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