Is my art good?
As a famous Latin proverb says, ‘There’s no accounting for taste.’ So how can you tell if your art is good? Every artist, apparently even back to the days of Rome, has asked themselves if their artwork was any good.
Art IS subjective, however, there are some basic characteristics that nearly all great art has in common. I want to share with you the five fundamental criteria that I use to judge and improve my own art:
# 1 Originality
All art is influenced and inspired by things that came before, but good art has an aspect of novelty that certainly adds value to the work. Emulating the work of other artists can help you learn techniques that you can incorporate as you work to develop your own artistic style.
#2 Principals of Design
There are 7 key principals of design; balance, rhythm, pattern, emphasis, contrast, unity, and movement. As humans, our brains like to find patterns and organization in the information we receive. Incorporating the fundamental principals of design in your art will help to bring order to your composition, which will be pleasing to the eye.
#3 Quality Materials
Good quality materials help you get the most out of your technical skills. For example, a higher quality paint will have a richer colour, will be easier to blend, and will spread further on your canvas.
That’s not to say that doing art has to be expensive; when you’re starting out, use whatever you have on hand! Flexing your creative muscles is the best first step to creating beautiful art. Just remember, once you’re ready, using high quality products can elevate your work to professional standards.
Good quality products also help your work to last longer. All art will deteriorate over time but using good quality products can help your art last much longer. If you’ve made something that you’re proud of, of course you want it to be around as long as possible, that’s why you should also consider using products that will protect and preserve your art.
If you're interested in exploring some high-quality products, here’s a short list of some of my favourite brands that have helped me take my work to the next level:
- Golden acrylic paint
- ArtResin epoxy resin
- Windsor and Newton brushes
- Gotrick-Apollon wooden painting panels.
Marcel Duchamp and his 1917 piece 'Fountain'
When you are working on your own art, you might have a story to tell, or a point to make. You can use these ideas to focus the themes of your piece, and to add meaning to your work beyond the art itself. Not only does this make your art mean more to you, it also helps to connect you with your viewer.
That being said, sometimes great art doesn’t have any kind of message or meaning beyond its aesthetic value. The meaning, or lack of meaning, is up to you! If you’re feeling stuck, sometimes the message behind your art piece can create a deeper understanding and appreciation of your work.
Blob Art by Mike Hammer 2017
Finding and establishing your own style is another aspect of creating ‘good art.’ The style of your art is the context that your viewer will use when looking at your work.
No style is intrinsically more valuable than another, but within the framework of each style there is a criterion of excellence. That’s why its important to figure out your own style and commit to it.
Jackson Pollock 1950
Whether you’re inspired by impressionism or abstraction, lean into it, learn the principles that guide the style, and use them to refine your own work. The rest is up to taste!
"Little Dancer," 24 x 36 Acrylic and ArtResin on wooden panel, Rebecca Zak 2020
At the end of the day, good art is art that makes YOU feel good. Keeping these fundamentals in mind can help you improve your art and get the most out of your creative experience.
What is good art to you? Let us know in the comments!