I get asked many times each week if I can take a look at someone’s portfolio, project, drawings, or paintings and give them a critique. I love teaching. I love giving critiques because it’s a way I can help others and feel connected. I love being able to share what I’ve learned because I get such a high from working on a piece that’s working. Probably the best thing about helping someone else with their art is watching them make new discoveries and epiphanies. (yes I had to look that word up)
The problem is that I just don’t have time to help everyone who asks. The internet has blessed me with more connections than I can possibly handle. I have my regular freelance workload and I often don’t blog about them due to confidentiality agreements. I am usually working on a picture book – two right now and then there’s my personal story writing/illustrating that I try to find time for and of course Folioacademy.com requires a lot of time and effort. I’m also teaching both online and at the University and then there’s blogging and my family that often gets left out. I’ve been blessed with a wife who supports my daily sanity hikes (we call the outdoors our boardroom) to get away and clear my head and talk shop with my partner Wayne Andreason, but that leaves little extra time to help those of you who have reached out and asked for help.
So I have to say no to everyone to be fair. Please know that it’s not because I don’t want to – I love talking art and sharing my thoughts on your work but most nights I don’t go to bed until 1:00-2:00 am as it is. I have set aside time to help people through my new online SVS class because I wanted to be able to present material in a logical way and then work through a project.
Some have said, “Well I just need a few pointers so it won’t take long.” I’ve known people to make life altering decisions based on a few remarks. I take each critique seriously and realize that a few careless words could have a long lasting impact – so giving critiques when I’m pressed for time is a recipe for disaster. I want to feel really good about what I think are the two or three things that will really make a difference in the artist’s portfolio – which comes with careful contemplation.
I also get asked to give paid critiques. Again, I don’t have time but beyond that I really like the idea of presenting material through a class because many of the questions are answered through the material and then the critiques are better received and have more meaning.
I hope I have not offended anyone with this message and please know that I love getting your emails, letters, and comments! There just isn’t enough time in the day for me to do everything I want to do.