Meditate #ds106 and be enlightened


Ruminating and watching and rethinking a work of art, making notes, or draw sketches is a slow and thoughtful process. It takes time to look carefully and make a copy of a (part of a ) work of art.I need to focus my attention to the work.

How to enjoy music other than listening again and again, or to try to play yourself the music over and over?
Part of the joy is to live the emotional power of the work, and it is the careful observation of it.

Maybe meditation is like  enjoying art in a slow and attentive way? I know the feeling of ‘enlightenment’ (or is it joy?) after playing a piece of music.

About “Art as Therapy” Allan de Botton: “This book proposes that art is a therapeutic medium that can help guide, exhort and console its viewer, enabling them to become better versions of themselves.”

Stone of unknown artist in Padborg (Danemark)

Critique and the right and left hemispheres of the brain

A blogpost of Jenny Mackness about the the right and left hemispheres of the brain made me think about my hesitations to use a very analytic way of art critique. Of course we can talk about art and about a picture. But the eye sees more than the analytic verbal part of the brain. Sometimes I feel inspired to make art as a response to a work of art and do not feel the need to write a critique.

(@Titchener commented that Jenny or Iain McGilchrist does apply the right-left hemisphere difference and at same time tells us the difference is discredited. )

Artists mostly do not like to talk about their work of art in an analytic way. They say ” If you want to know the meaning of my work you have to look very well. Because it means what it means.”

We could try to comment on technical solutions in the work. Could write about composition and color and form.  But should we draw triangles in the work to show the composition?
We could tell about our interpretation of the work.

There is more to say about critique …

Here is a short and informative description of art critique.





Offense and feedback

zonAbout offensiveness:

Think about a happy person sitting in a fine quiet place, sunny, peaceful. You are happy.
Think again, same place, some minutes later. This person is feeling miserable.
What happened?
The only difference is: The person had some painful thoughts.

It is your own thinking, your own thoughts, that made you feel unhappy. (read Albert Ellis about this).

If you want to offer feedback be not too careful, because the student is not predictable.

  1. The student/artist will have to learn to accept feedback.
  2. One student will be offended by your careful feedback, the other will thank you kindly for the same feedback.
  3. Do make a difference between work of art and artist.(student or homework) Feedback should be given on the work.
  4. Do make clear your feedback is your (valuable) opinion.


Talking about art, some dimensions and keywords.

duimenWhat aspects of art could we use in giving feedback? In education teachers do use these words when assessing art work of students.  Talita Groenendijk et all. did a study and collected these (and other) aspects.

Talking about Originality  and creativity we could use some of these words:
Creativity; divergent thinking; flexible thinking; flexibility; identification of distant associations; to what extent are ideas original, inventive, ingenious, non-standard in concept and form; inventiveness; originality; taking risks; playfulness; implementation; fluency; fluency of ideas; preference for novelty.

We could write a comment like
In your photo I see the elements A, B and C. I see a playful and associative use of these elements in your photo.

 Roy Williams postete vor kurzem auf Twitter, dass es für die erfolgreiche Etablierung einer Online-Gruppe “comfort, fun, trust, engagement” braucht. In online feedback comfort, fun, trust, engagement  are very important for online learning. Make your comments fun and comfortable.

Talking about the Picture:
Composition; contour fusion; detail; aesthetic organization; use of composition; how effective is the use of distance, nearby shapes and overlap?; The unity of the  composition, the manner in which the main part is placed ?;  color, shape and composition; lines; use of space ; organization (overall composition); flat or spatial representation; realistic placement of elements; representation; atmosphere;  use of details ; relations that correspond with reality; differentiation in shapes.

We could write: I see a  composition of the elements X, Y, and B and C that has a unity in color and a variety in shapes.

Concept / idea 
combining concepts and rearrange parts; complexity of visual or conceptual ideas; clear intention; How suitable are the elements for the expressed ideas? do the elements express the intended meaning?; communication of personal ideas, intentions, experiences, information and opinions in visual and other forms; application of abstract relationships to generate a new concept; imagination; vision; visibility of intent.

I see a rich variety of colors. But I did not link your title and the content of the photo.

Remaining concepts
awareness of  missing parts; elegant solution; impact of the product; inspiration; knowledge and understanding; multiple intelligence skills; productivity; clean and tidy; sensitivity; strategies and skills; synthesis; ability to transform things; ability to abstract and to go to parts of the whole; preference for cognitive complexity

source: (Talita Groenendijk & Folkert Haanstra)  (my translation)


Feedback for improvement. About feedback or critique on art.

water lily

About feedback or critique on art.
The artists of the DS106 dailycreate do add comments (on Flickr) to art of fellow dailycreate’ers. Some of the comments are:

  • “nicely done”
  • “very nice comp and detail.”
  • “I love it”

This kind of comment is nice, but something more constructive is missing.
The DS106 Shrink wrote about feedback on art work. She starts a project for better feedback on DS106 dailycreate and other art.
Rules for constructive way of feedback or comments: feedback [pdf]:

  • 1. If you can’t think of a constructive purpose for giving feedback, don’t give it at all.
  • 2. Focus on description rather than judgement.
  • 3. Focus on observation rather than inference.

You are not a teacher, nor the angry art critique from a magazine, so be kind. Negative comments are for trolls. “I love it”, or “interesting” is kind, but not constructive.
The constructive power of just writing down what you see is great. Description may seem foolish, but it is a powerful tool to improve your skills.  And the artist involved will be grateful, because you gave time and attention to the work and you did respect the work as it is.

Critique, feedback and comments that work


We cannot know what feedback and which comments make the student work in the right direction.
But experience learns (but she is not infallible) positive feedback often is better than no critique or negative remarks.
Here is a cultural difference in giving positive comments. Some people do use strong words in their positive remarks. (love it, and great, amazing) We like that very much. Some people are less exaltic. We need to know who says what to know this.
Some feedback does show much attention and interest for the work “The leaves and berries make for a nice composition, with great colours.”

It is difficult to give positive comments and make someone’s work of art better.
“this would be still better if you did that..” That takes courage. (Mvdfunes and johnjohnston on ds106radio 12oct2014, I do not know an archive of that, do you know that archive?)

I like the idea of remixing as a way of critique. One could just remix her art, and give  critique totally non-verbally. Anna Cow did some remixing  to try this idea. She did remix Sandy Browns tds1002 letterhead  into a letterhead of her own. Critique and feedback are closely connected to trust.