Learn How to Analyze Your Work

Looking and your own work can be scary at first but learning to analyze your work is an important part of artistic growth. Joining a critique group can help you begin to see your own work in a new way. It is important that the group is supportive and encouraging with out being saccharine and overly nice.  The best thing the group can do to help the artist answer is to begin asking questions about the work. Lead the artist to explore the work with a new eye. Help supply answers to questions about which the artist is unsure.   Begin by looking at the piece and asking the artist to answer some of the following questions:  

* What was the inspiration for your work? 
* What proportion are your colors used in? Was that planned? Which colors are dominate, secondary and accent colors?  
*How have you used tonal value in your design? 
* Is line a strong element of your design? What qualities are typical of the lines used: thin, thick, broken, continuous etc? 
* What shapes have you used? Are they geometric, symmetric, asymmetric etc?  
* How are your shapes laid out: randomly, on a grid, evenly spaced etc? Are your shapes overlapping? Why did you choose this arrangement? 
* What are the edges of your shapes like: sharp, blurred, curved etc? Why? 

* Are the shapes all one scale or various scales? Why? 
* Have you made the best use of both positive and negative space? 
* Does your design have volume and depth? How was this achieved? 
* What is the mood of your design? How is this achieved? 
* What textures have you used in your design? Why? 
* What is the emphasis of your design? Does your design have a focal point? How was this achieved?  
* Is the overall design symmetrical or asymmetrical? If it is asymmetrical, have you used contrasts in visual weight to counterbalance any objects in your design? 
* Is your design static or dynamic? Why? 

* Did you control the contrasts of value, hue, scale, intensity, space and texture successfully? 
* Is your design a pleasing arrangement of line, shape, and form?
* Is the quilting an important element of the design. Why or why not?  
* Do the techniques used and sewing skill demonstrated improve the design or detract from it? 
* Most importantly, do YOU like your design?! 

Help the artist discuss each element of the work, discussing what works well and what needs improving.  As the group begins to meet more often, begin to help the artists find the connections between their various works. Have each artist write an artist statement and read it aloud. Discuss areas of growth in terms of style and technique

3 Responses to “Learn How to Analyze Your Work”


    I teach studio courses at a community college in Chicago, I find your ‘Notion on Art,’ articles that I have just came across for the first time, extremely informative and well written and outlined. I would like to make copies to distribute to some of my students interested in making art their career.

    Could you be kind enough to grant me permission to do so? -Thanks.

  2. Kim Says:

    sorry this just came to me, yes you may if you still want to

  3. Orit Reuben Says:

    Very good blog and advice. I’m an emerging artist and have already done my resume, bio and website. I’ve also photographed my work (or had it photographed.) I am now sending out letters and proposals to galleries. Your exhibition proposal section has helped me a lot and the self critique portion. I will follow your advice and join a critique group.

    Thank you,

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