This is one of those questions that I get asked all the time by other artists. They’ll bring a piece for me to critique which always feels a little awkward. The most I could ever do is compliment someone on technique or vision. Sometimes, I really like it a lot and my excitement will shine through and I’ll tell them the piece is awesome, but in all honesty I’m no expert.
There are no experts when it come to determining whether art is good or bad. Art is relative to the person viewing it. I know you’ve heard this statement a bunch of times, it sounds like one of those airy fairy statements that supposed to make you feel good even though someone just said you art sucks.
But it’s true, here’s an example. I totally dig figure paintings, my favorite colors are red, orange, yellow and blue mixed into the background and on the figure. I also love texture and new ways of forming texture that are out of the box. If someone brings me a figure painting with all of those elements, I will decide that the piece is awesome. If the figure looks like someone I love and brings back amazing memories, I will absolutely love the piece. Now add interesting brushstrokes and other unique ways of applying the paint and I am head over heels in love with the piece. If I was judging a competition, that piece would win simply because it touched on everything that I think is in an amazing work of art.
Now, someone who loves a specific technique and really values landscapes, wouldn’t agree with me. In fact if he found figure paintings offensive he would destroy every aspect of the piece in criticism.
The image we all have of an art critic is someone who scrunches their eyes at the work. Their mouth is usually turned down into a sagging jowl and they rub their chin in disapproval. I call this the “Art Critic” face, for some reason, this is how a lot of people think they have to behave when appraising art.
The way I see it… If I like it and think it is valuable, then it’s good. If I don’t like it and think it isn’t of value, then it is bad. Everyone has their own relative point of view of what they like and don’t like. They also have their own measurement of good or bad art.
As long as you know that you are putting valuable, exceptional work out there and putting forth the effort to expand on your talent, then I wouldn’t worry about it.