Eeeh, how am I supposed to take critique in this situation?
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Thread: Eeeh, how am I supposed to take critique in this situation?

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    Eeeh, how am I supposed to take critique in this situation?

    Bleh. I'll try to be succinct.

    Basically, I'm in a painting class and my teacher dislikes my work. She says that I don't take enough risks and that I'm not thinking about my decisions or whatever.

    But the issue is that I don't get where she's coming from with all this information, and why she considers it valid feedback.

    My first issue is...How is it that she's assessing that I'm not taking risks when she knows nothing about my work prior to her class? And how can she think this is valid feedback when she can't even describe to me what an adequate risk would entail?

    She also has this issue with me painting on paper- she says that there has to be a reason for me to do this, but for me it's just sort of a default medium. When I work on canvas, she doesn't ask me to justify the decision to do so, which is usually arbitrary, but when I want to work on paper, which means something to me, she says that I'm not thinking about it at all. I feel like she's projecting.

    The last major issue that I have is that she says that I'm not pushing my paintings enough- that they're barely there. I use a lot of washy paint, and I don't like using saturated color palettes because I dislike looking at them. Even when I make a painting where I feel like I put in a good effort, and produced the results that I was after when I started out, she'll say that it isn't good enough. But at the same time, paintings that I see in the class that I consider really lame, ugly or stupid are lauded. Is there anyway to reconcile this?

    I've tried talking to her about this MANY times, but everything she says seems so illogical to me. It's basically me thinking of different ways to explain why I don't understand or have a problem with what she's saying, and her saying the same thing over and over again. Eventually, she'll just tell me to do some reading, she never says what to read specifically, and then say "Why don't you do as much thinking about this subject as you're asking me to do?"- again, implying that I'm not doing something that I actually am, and providing no specific instruction.

    To top it all off, she's department chair, so it's not like I can take this up with her superiors. I have a lot riding on this class, but I feel like I'm not getting anywhere with this teacher, and it's so frustrating. I was considering asking another teacher to mediate, but I feel like it wouldn't be fair to get them involved, or I feel like I'd wind up picking out a teacher that I know would agree with me anyway. If I left the decision to her, I might wind up with more of the same thing.

    ...Can someone please help me figure out what to do?

    And here's my sketchbook. Help me out with some c&c?
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    Well just from reading your post, and not knowing much more about the situation, it sounds to me like she might have a point about you not taking risks. In every situation you describe, it's you being resistant to doing something a different way, because you 'don't like it'. Now, unless this is a Work on your Portfolio class, then it's not entirely up to you what kinds of things you get to do. The best way to understand something is not to talk about it, but to jump in and try it. Further, in every situation it sounds like you have a lot of attitude about the quality of your work, the substandardness of her ideas, and the quality of other peoples' work. Maybe they're getting lauded precisely because they're taking the risks you think you're too advanced for.

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    Can you post any of the work you're doing?

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    RyerOrdStar,

    The situation has nothing to do with me "not liking it" - it has everything to do with her reasoning and critique being illogical to me and/or inconsistent.

    Both she and the course description stated at the head of class that we would be allowed to, essentially, do anything we wanted. I'm not sure what you mean when you say, "work on your portfolio class," as every class has the potential to result in the production of portfolio quality work, but meh.

    I am also wondering how you assessed that I feel that I'm "too advanced" for anything- I wouldn't invest this much effort in trying to understand what she was saying if it was like that. And I certainly can't say that her ideas are substandard if she can't articulate them in a way that would have them make sense. I make no judgments about the objective value of my classmate's work- I just know what I like and what I think is stupid- nor do I think all or even most of my classmates suck, or anything extreme like that. The issue in taste arises with one or two painters in my class, and a plethora of painters outside it.

    Understanding her isn't a matter of "figuring out what to do"- it's a matter of she in I being in different universes completely- I've produced work that she's liked, but I hated the way it looked, and I hated the process of making it, so I could not see the value in continuing to pursue it. Whenever I try to reorder things to my liking, that seems to be when the conflict arises. The issue here isn't with "trying" something so much as it's with valuing it after you do.

    Ninjerk,

    Eeh, anything's possible. But I'm not trying to make this a critique about my work so much as I'm attempting to figure out how to approach this teacher, and how to think about this class. I'm confident that posting artwork would derail the living crap out of those efforts.

    And here's my sketchbook. Help me out with some c&c?
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    Quote Originally Posted by eclectic rhapsody View Post
    But I'm not trying to make this a critique about my work so much as I'm attempting to figure out how to approach this teacher, and how to think about this class. I'm confident that posting artwork would derail the living crap out of those efforts.
    We've really got no way of judging where your teacher's coming from without seeing what she's critiquing. What she's saying sounds like what a lot of my own teachers have told me in the past, and they're valid points that helped a lot. Whether it's valid in your case depends on what your work looks like right now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sidharth Chaturvedi View Post
    We've really got no way of judging where your teacher's coming from without seeing what she's critiquing. What she's saying sounds like what a lot of my own teachers have told me in the past, and they're valid points that helped a lot. Whether it's valid in your case depends on what your work looks like right now.
    quoted for truth.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eclectic rhapsody View Post
    Bleh. I'll try to be succinct.

    Basically, I'm in a painting class and my teacher dislikes my work. She says that I don't take enough risks and that I'm not thinking about my decisions or whatever.

    But the issue is that I don't get where she's coming from with all this information, and why she considers it valid feedback.

    My first issue is...How is it that she's assessing that I'm not taking risks when she knows nothing about my work prior to her class? And how can she think this is valid feedback when she can't even describe to me what an adequate risk would entail?

    She also has this issue with me painting on paper- she says that there has to be a reason for me to do this, but for me it's just sort of a default medium. When I work on canvas, she doesn't ask me to justify the decision to do so, which is usually arbitrary, but when I want to work on paper, which means something to me, she says that I'm not thinking about it at all. I feel like she's projecting.

    The last major issue that I have is that she says that I'm not pushing my paintings enough- that they're barely there. I use a lot of washy paint, and I don't like using saturated color palettes because I dislike looking at them. Even when I make a painting where I feel like I put in a good effort, and produced the results that I was after when I started out, she'll say that it isn't good enough. But at the same time, paintings that I see in the class that I consider really lame, ugly or stupid are lauded. Is there anyway to reconcile this?

    I've tried talking to her about this MANY times, but everything she says seems so illogical to me. It's basically me thinking of different ways to explain why I don't understand or have a problem with what she's saying, and her saying the same thing over and over again. Eventually, she'll just tell me to do some reading, she never says what to read specifically, and then say "Why don't you do as much thinking about this subject as you're asking me to do?"- again, implying that I'm not doing something that I actually am, and providing no specific instruction.

    To top it all off, she's department chair, so it's not like I can take this up with her superiors. I have a lot riding on this class, but I feel like I'm not getting anywhere with this teacher, and it's so frustrating. I was considering asking another teacher to mediate, but I feel like it wouldn't be fair to get them involved, or I feel like I'd wind up picking out a teacher that I know would agree with me anyway. If I left the decision to her, I might wind up with more of the same thing.

    ...Can someone please help me figure out what to do?
    Here is what I feel you might want to do:

    - You're gonna go see her and ask her to point out to you various artist that either embodies the risk and stuff she'd like to see in your painting OR just artist that she really likes generally. Maybe this gives you an idea of what her tastes are, something she had trouble explaining with word.

    However:

    "Why don't you do as much thinking about this subject as you're asking me to do?"
    I don't know exactly what this teacher think her job description his, but wow. You should frame that quote.

    Here's the question: a teacher should not have to think as hard as student do anyway because, in their quality of teacher, they should already have most of the stuff figured out for themselves, especially their own artistic inclination.

    But yeah just ask her to show you stuff she likes.

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    I don't think there is anything wrong with telling a student to push themselves and think about the materials they are using and why they are using them. She sounds like she is encouraging you to make conscious choices in the direction of your art. I mean, why can't you just explain why you like painting on paper?

    She doesn't sound unreasonable. :/ Nothing bad can come of taking risks, pushing your paintings a bit more, or understanding why you use the materials you do.

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    I've been to vineyards with less whine than this.

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    Sidarth,

    I am thinking...that determining whether her critique is valid or not is kind of irrelevant. She thinks it is, and she's the one assigning me my grade- I already have no choice but to abide by it.

    Chef,

    Sounds like a plan...Though I've already seen some of the work that she likes and has produced herself.

    JJacks,

    I don't think there's anything wrong with asking a student to think about the materials they're using either. But- when I think about the materials that I'm using, she asserts that I'm not before even asking me about my thought processes. When I was mindlessly painting on canvas in oil, just because it was there, my choices were never brought up.

    So, she's saying one thing, and then contradicting herself. She is saying that I should think about my materials, and she's judging me on whether or not she thinks that I have- but only when I don't paint on canvas. What is it about painting on canvas without thought that is acceptable, and what is it about painting on paper with thought that isn't? I ask her this and don't receive any explanation.

    Baron,

    That's nice- Is there something you'd like me to do with that information?

    This is topic concerns my grievances- of course it's going to be loaded with negativity. If it weren't for these complaints, I wouldn't have bothered posting this in the first place. The issue wouldn't exist.

    And here's my sketchbook. Help me out with some c&c?
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    Is this the same teacher from this thread? If so, my advice still stands.
    Where did you end up going to school again?


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    That's the one.

    I guess I could paint what she likes until I like it too or something.

    The school is Tyler.

    And here's my sketchbook. Help me out with some c&c?
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    my situation is like the opposite ! I love taking risks and trying new things and pushing myself even if I fail miserably but my drawing and painting teachers only allow me to do stuff THEIR WAY (the safe way, the "boring" way). That's why I'm going to start taking classes outside of school too, so I can experiment as much as I want! =) That's because I appreciate them and I think that they have their reasons to teach in the way they do. I might not agree with them all the time but I don't wanna complain (at first I did, realized its pointless) and thanks to them, I have done things that I wouldn't have done on my own.

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    I don't understand why you just didn't drop the class. Was it too late?

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    Lumisade,

    I don't think I dislike taking risks, I just keep the "figuring things out part" for the scraps. Maybe she wants to see those in class. :p

    I don't think I'm as trusting of them as you seem to be. How are you able to take it at their word?

    JJacks,

    I had only been in the class for a short-ish while when I made that thread. I thought that dropping out then may have been too...reactionary? I was having a hard time, but I suspected that by sticking around, I would eventually get some answers, and come to some kind of understanding about what she was saying. That hasn't happened yet...though I'm hoping there is a chance that it will.

    And here's my sketchbook. Help me out with some c&c?
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    Quote Originally Posted by eclectic rhapsody View Post
    The school is Tyler.
    In that case, I stand by what I said here. And situations like this are precisely why.


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    Ok, I see that you had a problem with a teacher where Elwell gave some good advice from the first thread. You decided to go against it and didn't drop the class. Now you want us to solve your problem. Elwell is right.

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    Elwell,

    I had forgotten about that topic.

    Nei,

    How am I going against Elwell's advice when his advice was:

    "If you're not getting what you think you need from a class, drop the class. If you can't (credits/no alternative/etc), tough it out and try to get what you can out of it."

    I wasn't confident that I wasn't getting/going to get what I needed for the class, so it seemed worth it to stick around. It was impossible to add a new course at that time; leaving would have set me behind in credits.

    And even if Elwell had said to absolutely drop the class, there were still others who said that I should try giving it a chance.

    ...Lastly, I'm not sure how asking for advice is trying to get someone to solve my problems for me- It's not like I'm going to have you all call my school and talk to my teacher. No, any steps I take toward resolving this will have to be taken on my own initiative, but since I'm out of ideas, part of that initiative currently includes asking other people for their ideas. I don't think it's unreasonable to look for other plans of action when you've exhausted the ones that you've already come up with.

    And here's my sketchbook. Help me out with some c&c?
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    I'm not trying to make you feel bad or ganged up on. Some people just aren't a good fit with some teachers. At this point, since you're stuck in the class for the rest of the semester, what you have to do is ride it out and get a decent grade, because that's probably all you can hope to get out of it. So, do your best to give her what you think she wants. Smile and nod and be non-confrontational, do whatever she says in class, and completely disregard it as soon as you leave. Make sure you don't have to take any more classes with her, and try to get teachers who are a better fit for you in the future.


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    I guess I'm not reading the same topic.

    Same teacher...the advice was art education is too expensive to be wishy washy if a teacher is not good, and to drop the class...or option b tough it out.

    You decided not to do A which was against the advice given to you and decided to tough it out. It's not toughing it out if you're still complaining about it.

    Please tell me what big piece of advice I missed here that somehow you decided to

    1. Go to the school - which he said don't
    2. Didn't drop the class
    3. Still complaining about it?

    Your whole topic is about "how am I supposed to take critiques in this situation?" I dunno about you but my "average joe" senses tells me you're looking for advice.

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    The reason for my initial brief comment was this: What possible advice could you hope for? Beyond what you've already been advised and forgotten about in the space of three weeks, what advice is there? Do it or don't do it. Stick with it or don't. You've listed what your teacher has said and even accounting for the inevitable one-sided nature of such a story, there's nothing there that is bizarre or in any way contrary to common sense. What else is there to say? Are you waiting for someone to say your teacher is wrong and should not even be in the profession and you are right and deserving of a far higher quality of tutorship? Forget saying well, you're just asking for feedback, not all of us were born yesterday. If you want to rant at least be up-front about it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Baron Impossible View Post
    Are you waiting for someone to say your teacher is wrong and should not even be in the profession and you are right and deserving of a far higher quality of tutorship?
    The thing is, eclectic rhapsody, if any of us WERE to say that your teacher is wrong etc. etc. what good would it do you now?

    I agree with Arshes. You've decided not to drop the class. Fine. It's not "toughing it out" if you spend the whole semester complaining.

    You're in the class. You decided not to drop it. The teacher is the teacher. Get whatever you can from the class while you're there, and move on. That's all there is to it.

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    Wow, there's a lot to address here, but-

    The issue seems to be some basic misunderstanding as to what I am saying- the issues that I'm talking about here are in no way the same issues that I had when I made the thread before this one. Before, I complained about her being biased toward abstract art. So I changed the way I worked. That was then. The issues that I have now are with the seemingly illogical nature of her comments, and how she is reaching her conclusions. These are issues that one might have with a teacher even if they HATED abstract art, and are in no way are they exclusively linked to or the same as the prior issues addressed.

    I do have issues with the class, but I never wanted to leave, and it doesn't make sense to run away every time I'm in a class with a teacher and I dislike what they say- I think I would run out of teachers quickly if I did that. I don't want to be unteachable but I don't want to pretend that I understand things when I really don't.

    I could have not gone to the school altogether, but from the information that I gathered about it (which included Elwell's and every other person I talked to's advice), along with the financial costs of choosing one over the other- it seemed like the overall best choice. It's not like I'm taking shots in the dark when I do the things that I do. As I touched on before- lots of people tell me to do lots of different and often mutually exclusive things. If I hadn't gone to the school, and if I had dropped the class, and had gone on to have problems with those decisions, I would probably be getting the same feedback- "Why didn't you listen?"

    I'm not "still" complaining about it- I "complained" about one issue in the class, resolved it, and then a new issue, the current issue, arose. "Still" implies the continuation of an action, which this isn't- these are two different complaints happening in the context of the same class. This is my effort to resolve these new complaints on my end. As I stated before, I'm looking for a different way to interpret what she's saying and to value it. I can change my work, but I'd also like to be able to change my opinions. If I hadn't made this thread, I'd still be mulling over these issues internally, thinking the same things and not getting anywhere- I thought it better to gather external input rather than keep myself stuck in the same cycle.

    "Are you waiting for someone to say your teacher is wrong and should not even be in the profession and you are right and deserving of a far higher quality of tutorship?"

    Nice loaded guess, but I'm afraid not. Knowing what a bunch of random strangers over the internet thought I was deserving of wouldn't resolve anything- I'm in THIS class with THIS teacher, trying to resolve THIS issue, you know?

    "Get whatever you can from the class while you're there"

    That's what I'm trying to do. That's the part that I'm asking for help with.

    And here's my sketchbook. Help me out with some c&c?
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    .... ......

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    My advice is to try painting as if it was spackling. Find the right color and bash it in the right place. Then find the next right color and bash that in. If the transition between one bash in and another is to abrupt, take a brush and pull a little bit of the spackling from one glob of paint into the next in such a way that it describes what you are seeing better.

    It really can't hurt to loosen up in the this way. Its really a matter of thinking of the general tones first, and then the details.

    Give it a go.

    At least Icarus tried!


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    If you already tried speaking with your teacher many times and it hasn't worked, why don't you just try cooperating and listen to your teacher for now? Since you are going against her suggestions. If you try out her suggestions, perhaps through that you can understand what your teacher is trying to say about your work/wants from you.

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    Nei,

    So I take it that your previous misinterpretation of what I was asking for has simply left you speechless? ;p

    But seriously, I can't know what you want to say if you don't say it.

    Kev,

    Thank you for the suggestion- I'll give it a shot on the next one. :>

    cretsya,

    I am listening, but it seems that I'm hearing the wrong thing, if that makes sense.

    And here's my sketchbook. Help me out with some c&c?
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    Elwell is offline Sticks Like Grim Death Level 17 Gladiator: Spartacus' Dimachaeri
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    Quote Originally Posted by kev ferrara View Post
    My advice is to try painting as if it was spackling. Find the right color and bash it in the right place. Then find the next right color and bash that in. If the transition between one bash in and another is to abrupt, take a brush and pull a little bit of the spackling from one glob of paint into the next in such a way that it describes what you are seeing better.

    It really can't hurt to loosen up in the this way. Its really a matter of thinking of the general tones first, and then the details.

    Give it a go.
    This^

    So, she wants you to push yourself, then push yourself. Give yourself permission to do paintings that you don't think you'll like. If you usually paint thin and washy, paint thick and gloppy. If you usually paint small, paint big (or vice-versa). If you don't like lots of saturated color, use lots of saturated color. You have nothing to lose, since you've already written off the class. The luxury you have being in school is the chance to experiment in a relatively consequence-free environment.

    Last edited by Elwell; November 3rd, 2010 at 02:32 PM.

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  37. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell View Post
    This^

    So, she want's you to push yourself, then push yourself. Give yourself permission to do paintings that you don't think you'll like. If you usually paint thin and washy, paint thick and gloppy. If you usually paint small, paint big (or vice-versa). If you don't like lots of saturated color, use lots of saturated color. You have nothing to lose, since you've already written off the class. The luxury you have being in school is the chance to experiment in a relatively consequence-free environment.
    THIS. I would quote this 100x but that would piss everyone off.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eclectic rhapsody View Post
    Nei,

    So I take it that your previous misinterpretation of what I was asking for has simply left you speechless? ;p


    I am listening, but it seems that I'm hearing the wrong thing, if that makes sense.
    Sometimes, the problem just isn't the teacher....

    Quote Originally Posted by KarylGilbertson View Post
    THIS. I would quote this 100x but that would piss everyone off.
    Haha it could be spammy but the problem is, would this be listened to?

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