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Carol Haggerty
Art Teacher, Millis High School

Art Class Portfolio Critique

Clara Lieu, RISD Adjunct Professor

Clara Lieu
Art Prof & Partner

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Video Transcript

“First of all, we really want to thank you for participating in our September Art Dare and congratulations for being the class that won the art teacher’s prize! Myself and the art prof staff were really excited to see all of your different drawings, incredible range of different expressions, and charcoal techniques that you guys showed we thought was really impressive. So, great job on the art dare!

What we are going to do now, is I am going to go through and critique each of your individual submissions for your class critique, and I am hoping that you guys are going to get a different point of view and perspective on some of your work.

What I first noticed about this drawing, is how strong and solid the telephone booth appears. I think you have done such a great job of really observing some of the architectural elements of that structure, and it really comes across convincingly. The other thing that I really like about this piece is that it really seems like you were able to create very much an environment, for the telephone booth to exist within.

For example, you have the tree on the left hand side, and it is actually really nice contrast next to the telephone booth, because the tree is sort of organic, and natural. On the other hand you also have the small staircase in the upper right hand corner, and I really like that as an element in the environment, because what that does, is it makes the telephone booth look very large, so the telephone booth looks like it is in the foreground, and because the staircase in the upper right is so tiny, it really feels like it is very far away.

I think in between the tree and the telephone booth, and the staircase in the upper right hand corner, you have really conveyed a really convincing sense of spacial depth throughout the piece. So I think that this is very successful. I like the fact that the telephone booth has a lot a little bit of color into it because I think first of all, that gives the phone booth a lot of emphasis, and it is the first thing that you notice.

I do think it would be good idea to maybe have another couple areas on the work that have a little hint of colour. The colour does not necessarily need to be as highly saturated, or as concentrated as the telephone booth, because obviously you do not want to take away too much attention from that area.

But, I think maybe a little touch of brown, a little bit of green maybe at the bottom, and I might rethink some of the kind of splotchy ink areas all over it- perhaps that was put in to show a little bit of texture in the piece, but at least right now, it feels like a little bit more of a mistake. Maybe another way to do that would be to fill larger areas with watercolour, so those big areas of space would not feel so empty.

Another thing I would maybe think about too, is just cropping the lower area of the piece, because really the vast majority of this image is concentrated in the middle. I don’t think you would lose a lot if you just cropped the bottom area. I think this is a very sophisticated piece, I think you have a lot of different elements going on, and you did a good job of balancing them together.

I think what is really great about this painting is the way you full embraced colour. What I see a lot with students who don’t have a lot of experience working with colour, is that a lot of students are afraid of colour and they are afraid to use really bold, really saturated intense colours. So what I see a lot, is people will make a black and white image, and they will add a little touch of colour and that is it.

What I love about your piece, is that the colour is really this incredible, kind of dynamic explosion. I think especially in the sky, that is the area that I am really attracted to because not only do you have such a wonderful area of colour in that area- but I also think the way you have done the brushwork, the way it is really bold and has a lot of energy to it- is exceptionally well done.

I think the area of the painting that I might reconsider is the way that you have articulated the houses. I think that the houses are really important in terms of showing scale, because without the houses we really don’t have a sense of how large that landscape is. I think the problem that I have with the houses is that you have this very super bold, sort of thick black outline, that is put around all of the houses and that doesn’t really exist anywhere else in the painting.”

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6 responses on "High School Art Class Critique: Carol Haggerty"

  1. I would love to be notified about comments on this amazing critique 😉
    And my login worked just fine – thank you!

    • Hi Carol! To be notified of future comments, just check the box at the bottom of this page that says “Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.” Glad to hear the login worked out, and thanks again for participating!

  2. I LOVE the idea of a collaboration between students, there is something wonderful about seeing so many different point of views in response to the same prompt, imagining what they might come up with in pairs like Lauryn said would be amazing. The other opportunity when so many artists come together, is learning from one another’s successes, hardships, and various techniques. Comments from one individual piece may very well be applicable to many! There is a lot of diversity between works which I respond to immediately. Keep working and learning from one another!! Such a fabulous group of responses!!

  3. I would love to see some kind of collaboration between students. I love seeing the links between subject matter translated so differently, like the dog collage vs the dog drawing and painting. What would happen if a portrait were done with the square brush strokes seen in the lighthouse painting? Or the pointillist leaves accenting the trees around the truck? Food for thought!

  4. Whether it’s high school work, college settings, or groups of artist in private crit groups,I love seeing the variation of different styles! It’s beautiful to see work that is more sculptural, more painterly, more illustrative, all coming from one group.
    A really wonderful sense of character is coming out here – from the quiet serenity of the leaves, (done with a really nice patient pointillism!) to the soft washes of atmosphere fading into the distance of the truck, to that wonderful and organic hands study! What’s really interesting to see is how each student can learn from each other – as I said before, the different styles is lending itself to different skill sets! This group could come up with some amazing ideas in a brainstorming session, I bet! Wonderful stuff.

  5. Some really lovely work! I appreciate the way the artist has handled all of the different surfaces in that landscape painting with the lighthouse – primarily the different brush strokes used in the sky, water and land. Very effective! I’m finding the flower painting very surprising and compelling, as well, and the portraits (human and dog, alike) also quite strong, technically.

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