Criticism – The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly


The Artisan

The word “artist” here applies to anyone who creates. They may use any format, any medium, any creative talent and will produce something original. Written words, musical sounds, lyrics, paintings, photography, movies, videos, sculpture, crafting, dancing, acting, style, design, digital, chemical, architectural, physical – any inventive application of our imagination.

“Imagination is more important than knowledge … For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” – Albert Einstein.



To me ”Constructive Criticism” is refined. An effective type of critical feedback. The reader/viewer/listener will tell you what they find ”good” about your creative endeavors and share what “they believe” can be improved upon. So far so good. When you ask a person to “critique” your work pick someone you know to be skilled in the area of your artistry. They will give you an informed perspective with their opinion. Most artistry comes with learning the “tools of the trade”. This is important. The person who is offering critical feedback should be knowledgeable in this manner. If you don’t personally know someone like this, ask a fellow artist who they may know.



The Critics

There are many out there in the online world wide web of everything that profess to being “experts”! Many are well qualified but some are not. So do your research! Find out more about those you would ask for advice. Be very careful with those you approach for critical appraisal.


The world is in a flux of change. Some of the tried and true “rules” of what and how you should create (in any given medium) is evolving. There is a wellspring of innovative talent from around the world merging with one another right now. This means experimentation with creative new styles and methods.


You’re the Artist of your work ~ not anyone else.


Don’t let “experts” rain on your parade and tell you what’s wrong with your art just because it is perceived as different from the “norm”. Those who are tied to the past sometimes cannot easily see the essence of the future springing from your words, your art, your style of acting, your music, your photography, your videos, your technology, and so on. Be you! Create from the heart.


“The artist is still a little like the old court jester. He’s supposed to speak his vicious paradoxes with some sense in them, but he isn’t part of whatever the fabric is that makes a nation.” ~ William Faulkner


Thanks for stopping by. Have a wonderful day and remember to always take care of you.

With affection,

~ Penny

15 thoughts on “Criticism – The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

  1. I love people to give me constructive criticism. With my photography, I have had people give me advice on how to take better photographs. Destructive criticism can be very disheartening and may cause some people to give up on their art which is a shame, as everybody starts as a beginner. Nobody begins an art as an ace.

    I am always happy to receive advice. Especially when persons talk me on words I could best use.

  2. Some years ago I submitted this poem to a poetry magazine. The man who published the magazine returned it, His only comment was to say that in the first stanza “to their hearing” should have been “with their hearing”. As you can tell I still remember this. and he was wrong. I did not change it and it remains one of my personal favourites.



    I would say the secrets of my soul
    Yet trust no one to their hearing
    Some keep silence, some keep talking
    When they find they have nothing to say
    And the fulfilled don’t write

    Lame excuses and sprung steel alibis
    Meshed fast in the complexities of pain
    (Only my pleasures are simple)
    Masks of the crustacean
    Designed to reveal what they disguise

    Playing at love like a game of chess
    Not well, not badly, just lazily
    Without due regard to the consequences of my moves
    Reading too many fairy tales
    And kissing far too many frogs

    The generous truth is a beggar to find
    Buried deep among the unsuspected cruelties of the small print
    (When God finished the world
    He saw that it was perfect
    … And then of course He began wondering what to do next … )

    Security in a pound note, safety in a pin
    The tired old trumpeting of Church and State
    Magic is afoot but the world’s gone metric
    (Electric) and Securicor scares
    The light fades, the air is flat and stale

    The rain beats against the glass
    Nights and days an endless tapeloop
    Of supermarket muzak
    Brush its teeth and put it to bed
    The well-oiled programs run

    Asleep within the fractured eye of my attention
    Life, well-travelled, opens and closes around me
    Here and there embroidered with a flower
    The footsteps I follow through the blizzard of my memories
    Are my own

  3. Each piece of work needs to be approached without any preconceptions and then judged on its merits. Having established boundaries and having an idea of ‘what’s right’ will always stunt any critique and should be avoided, makes the world a lot richer and art more malleable.

    Criticism can be a challenge to write but as long as it is constructive and focussed on the work in hand the it is a powerful tool. Incisive post as always my friend. xxx

  4. Ah, more wise words from my favourite sage.
    I still recall with undying gratitude your words of wisdom that helped me through difficult times.
    And your knowledge and skill in the creative arts illuminates your advice here.

  5. I do agree. I have been looking for someone who is experienced in the art industry. With those who can’t draw, they feel that I’m good. However, I feel short of the industry standard when I meet other artists. I thank God to lead me to the one who has been in the industry for long. He is also a boss and a teacher. So he can help me how to improve.

      • Thanks Penny 🙂 please pray for the creative job (character design position) in his studio and the patience to guide me. I don’t know whether I should tell him about my autism diagnosis. I feel so embarrassed to tell that.

        • I will, Yoshiko. Also sending you much support and love. My advice to you. Take deep breaths, and then just be the best “you”, you can. Which I think is pretty awesome, my friend.

          • Thank you, Penny for your much support and love. I’ll remember your advice to take deep breaths and be the best “me”. 😊 I still remember your support during the starting point of my blogging phase.

  6. Such wonderful advice. I find that blogging a poetry site does not bring out the critique in people. Even poor grammar is not pointed out . Before blogging I moderated and participated in workshop poetry /writing sites where they can’ be pretty. Blunt. Your suggestions are excellent and follow the guidelines for good critique. Thank you Penny.

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