How Critiques Improve Your Work

Advance Your Skills by Participating in Art Critiques

Many people feel trepidation with the idea of showing their artwork to others. However, participating in regular critiques is one of the best ways to improve as an artist. Finding a group of artists that are willing to share their work, give and receive feedback is a huge asset to your creative process. It is important to understand the purpose, benefits and ways to participate in a critique so that you get the most out of the experience. If you are ready to be bold and get feedback on your artwork through critiques, then read on!

What is An Art Critique?

An art critique is an exchange of constructive feedback between two or more individuals which focuses on the creative elements and visual principles of artwork. It involves a dialogue between the artist and their peers, in which ideas, opinions, questions and critiques are openly discussed. Art critiques encourage active engagement in the creative process by allowing for honest evaluation of both positive and negative aspects of the artwork in question. Art critiques can be in-person or be held online via Zoom or other meeting platforms.

Why People Hesitate to Participate in Critiques

Showing your artwork is a courageous act that can feel vulnerable. If just the idea of showing your artwork to others produces anxiety, you are not alone! When you show our artwork to others, you may feel as if you are exposing your soul to them. Beginners tend to feel especially nervous about critiques because they might not yet have confidence in their skills.

However, it might help if you can remind yourself that everyone in the room feels nervous about their artwork. In addition, keep in mind the benefits of a critique far outweigh the negatives. Overcoming fear in showing your work will result in you receiving invaluable feedback that will surely improve your paintings and confidence.

The Benefits of an Art Critique

An art critique is an invaluable tool for any artist, as it allows them to receive honest, constructive feedback and identify ways to improve their artwork. In addition, the exchange of opinions in a safe and respectful space can provide emotional support and affirmation from peers. When done correctly, art critiques help an artist to understand how viewers interpret their artwork and can help them gain a better understanding of their own creative journey. Here are four benefits of participating in art critiques:

  1. Development of skills

Art critiques provide artists with constructive feedback that can help them improve their skills. By receiving feedback from others, artists can identify areas where they need to improve. For example, viewers might notice an imbalance of colors or forms that aren’t immediately noticeable to the artist who has been looking at the artwork for days or weeks. Or, they can help point out what is working well in the art piece. Regardless, a critique will help you identify which skills are strong, and which need improvement.

2. Understanding of one’s own work

Art critiques also help artists understand their own work better. By receiving feedback and criticism from others, artists can gain new insights and perspectives on their work, which can help them develop a stronger sense of their artistic vision and style.

In addition, art critiques provide artists with exposure to different perspectives and ideas. By receiving feedback from a diverse group of people, artists can broaden their understanding of art and gain new insights that they may not have considered otherwise.

3. Validation of work

Art critiques can also provide validation for an artist’s work. Positive feedback and constructive criticism can help artists feel more confident in their work and encourage them to continue pursuing their artistic endeavors. The feedback from other people who are also serious about painting is especially useful; more so from friends or family who might not understand how to give helpful feedback.

4. Learn from others’ works

In addition, you will learn how to be a better painter by studying someone else’s work carefully and giving feedback. This process helps you get better at analyzing paintings, including your own. In addition, you will learn from listening to the feedback other artists in the room receive. Each person will bring something different to the analysis of the artwork, and everyone stands to benefit from this thorough process.

Critiquing a Student’s Work in My 3-Day Retreat, Painting Beyond Boundaries

How to Give Good Feedback

Effective art critiques involve thoughtful observation, analysis, and discussion of an artwork. Before beginning a critique, it’s important to take time to look closely at the artwork and analyze its visual elements. Here are some things to look out for when critiquing an artwork:

  1. Is there harmony or tension between colors?
  2. Is there harmony or tension between shapes and lines?
  3. Is the color scheme working well?
  4. How is space used within a composition? Is the composition strong?
  5. Is there a strong focal point that draws the viewer’s eye?
  6. How effective are the techniques used?
  7. Are there themes or narratives presented in the artwork?
  8. Overall, what is working well in the painting?
  9. Overall, what could be improved?

Tips for Benefitting from Art Critiques

Keeping an open mind is key for getting the most out of your art critiques. Often, artists may be too comfortable with their work and thus can be blind to weaknesses or areas for improvement. Go into your critique with a willingness to accept new ideas, as well as a sense of curiosity.

Also, try to be open-minded to constructive feedback and consider it objectively rather than personally. Constructive criticism is an important part of the critique process, and it is important to be able to handle it in order to most effectively benefit from critiques. We do not always like to hear that our art isn’t perfect, but constructive criticism can help us refine our work and grow as artists.

Additionally, see constructive criticism as opportunity for growth— feedback is valuable for furthering artistic development and pushing you further in your practice. With that being said, don’t make changes to your painting unless you whole heartedly agree with the feedback given. Remember that any critique or advice you receive is only intended to provide you with a different perspective— ultimately it is up to you what feedback you wish to integrate into your artwork.

How to Find Critique Groups

Finding other artists serious about painting can be difficult. You might try taking an art class at a local community college or art center to meet other like-minded individuals. Another idea would be to look for Meet Up groups in your area. For online groups, you can try the Art Critique group on Facebook, but I am a bit hesitant to recommend this as the quality of feedback you receive may not be great. I offer critiques monthly for students enrolled in my online course, Abstraction Beyond Boundaries. You might find other online critique options with a google search.

Overall, art critiques are an essential part of the artistic process. They provide artists with valuable feedback, new insights, and exposure to different perspectives that can help them develop their skills and grow as artists. Seek comments from multiple sources whenever possible, so that you can get a variety of perspectives on your artwork and ultimately improve your practice.


I am an artist out of Santa Fe, New Mexico who has been painting for almost 30 years. I love to teach first-timers as well as experienced painters who need a creative reboot. My work has been displayed in several galleries around the country, and I have a Bachelor’s in Art History, a Master’s in Art Education, and had my work in a show juried by Judy Chicago. The idea of getting more people painting makes me light up as I want to inspire more people to express their creative selves and tap into a place of joy and calm.


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