Uncommon Handbound Books by Cindy Leaders

Art Journal Page: Your Inner Critic Part 1

Monday, April 12, 2010

Continuing through "Journal Spilling," the next few exercises involve "Taming the Critic." It's an old cliche that we are often our worst critic. We analyze our work in excruciating detail and stamp it "Not Good Enough" compared with some vague and indeterminate vision that we alone possess of what it "should" be. While we'd never dream of judging someone else's work by that same ethereal standard, we discount our own without prejudice.

Since I am a great lover of words, I did a little study of "criticism" and related words. We generally think of the first meaning: judging harshly or finding fault. But it also has an evaluative meaning as in simply making an assessment. A critic evaluates and issues criticism, which can be negative or positive, as in "critical acclaim." Another interesting word from the same Greek root is "criterion" which is the standard by which something is judged. When a critic evaluates, he is measuring against criteria, broad or narrow, specific or general, for success.

It's really not possible to "silence the inner critic" as some suggest. We will always evaluate our own efforts, and we should! Without reflection on our work, we will never have the insights needed to learn and grow.

What we can change is the criteria against which our inner critic judges. If my standard for success is to create, learn and enjoy the process, then I only fail if I don't create, don't learn or don't enjoy.


freebird April 12, 2010 at 8:37 PM  

That's right! So my goal is to play and learn. It isn't always easy as signing up for too many classes or groups can turn the play into work and then that critic is right to nail me but oh, it still hurts and I want to do it all. To be honest, I want to do it all and do it all well on the first try. That is indeed giving any critic much less myself, the upper hand. Love your page and your post.

Cynthia April 13, 2010 at 8:29 AM  

Beautifully said and so true about criteria for critiquing one's own work. Love your blog and your willingness to share your process/progress with the 'Journal Spilling'. Also love the bird photos and the idea of a Wordless Wednesday. Thanks for the inspiration.

Anonymous,  April 13, 2010 at 8:58 AM  

I am so glad I found your blog (well, I saw your post on Blissful). Amazing books ... I like making books, but to see it done masterfully, well, makes me happy. Now to look over even more of your blog! Also I have Journal Spilling also and would love to work through it with someone - it is fun to see how you are doing!

Ramona Davidson April 13, 2010 at 5:11 PM  

Thanks for sharing this- your subject and journal. Both are wonderful.

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