Resource - Guide For Critically Evaluating (critiquing) Paintings

When artists discuss a painting, many times you hear them say, "It works" or "It doesn't work". Generally this is a short hand for a positive or negative critique based on a detailed evaluation or they haven't taken the time to really look and evaluate the art on a serious level, it is the latter that I would like you to avoid. You want to be more specific when reviewing paintings to increase your understanding of yours or other artist's paintings.

The following is to be use as a guide and tool for assisting you in critically evaluating paintings, your own or others. More than one word and phrase may be applicable in each category. The listings of categories are not in any special order and the descriptive words and phrases should be ignored if they are not applicable to the work being evaluated. Put a check mark next to only the words that are applicable. When a word or phrase is generally considered negative such as "Clumsy" and it is appropriate however in a positive way mark it with a "+" sign.

You are encouraged to add descriptive "words" and "phrases" in each category as well as entering a new category when you think it is appropriate.

To begin the process thoughtfully of evaluating art you will need to download the PDF version of the evaluation guide by clicking the link below. You can print this form out and use multiple copies of it, one for each artwork you are evaluating.

Download PDF Guide for Critically Evaluating Paintings

Below you will find some master artist paintings to begin the evaluating using the guide. Once you have tried evaluating / critiquing these works of art than try applying the same type of critique to your own work.

Go Go Gold Oil / Canvas 62� x 72� by Robert Kaupelis

Go Go Gold Oil / Canvas 62" x 72" by Robert Kaupelis

Music, Oil / Canvas 25.5� x 32� by Jean-Honore Fragonard

Music, Oil / Canvas 25.5" x 32" by Jean-Honore Fragonard

Black Ground (deep light), Ink / acrylic / canvas, 96 x 72� by  Julie Mehretu

Black Ground (deep light), Ink / acrylic / canvas, 96 x 72" by Julie Mehretu

Still Life with a Curtain, Oil / Canvas,  29.3� X 21.7� Paul Cézanne

Still Life with a Curtain, Oil / Canvas, 29.3" X 21.7" Paul Cézanne