Funny how the list that I keep on my easel to reimind me what I need to be reminded of keeps growing.
texuture (physical and visual)
Paint with your eyes
Think what things might become
Let the brush talk
Be in love with change
Find the elegance
See the big picture
Make it a pattern
Identify the extraordinary
Don't get gauche
Keep it fresh at all costs
Take your time
Compositional integrity. A composition that knows its edges, balances internally and "works" in the "big picture." The superior creative eye often simplifies and is not distracted by minor elements or extraneous detail.
Sound craftsmanship. No sloppy craftsmanship detected. Artist appears to be grounded in accepted means of application, order, and seems to have knowledge of media chemistry. Work looks like it is not liable to fall apart shortly.
Colour sensitivity. Appears to have understanding of colour choices—complementary, analogous, etc. Often shows colour paucity and attention to sophisticated grays. I hate to use the word "taste," but I will.
Creative interest. Subject is creatively different so that it attracts, leads and holds my attention to the artistic and creative elements within the work. I often become aware of a greater creative mind at work.
Design control. Artist appears to have an understanding of how the eye is managed and led by the design, flow and activation of a work—effectively 'seducing' me. I often have the feeling of a masterful eye managing mine.
Gestural momentum. Brushwork or line-work is often expressive and has bravura, bravado, courage and élan. It often shows variety of stroke and is generous in the "hand made" conveyance of visual energy.
Artistic flair. Artist does something beyond blind representation and/or just moving the materials around in some form of lazy play. Work has style and panache and captivates in its artistry. "Wow, that's artistic!"
Expressive intensity. All stops are pulled to enhance the central idea or general motif. It can be a "look," a mannerism or an illusion, but the intensity convinces me of the presence of a non-jaded, passionate, particular author.
Professional touch. Artist avoids amateur methodology and gives a direct, confident, seasoned look to the work. Some people seem to know what they're doing, others do not. Professionals often, but not always, tend to leave their strokes alone.
Surface quality. Up close and personal the surface is intriguing and a joy to cruise. This may be because of the texture, handling of pigment, or the complexity of surface abstraction, gradation, or other quality—anything that makes the surface fascinating.
Intellectual depth. Artist gives me something to think about. There is an enduring resource here—not just a pretty picture but a thoughtful metaphor or other device that has staying power without retreating to sentiment or kitsch.
Visual distinction. The art has a look of uniqueness, either with style, subject matter or handling. It looks different from what I've seen before, or if similar, arrests the eye with a unique feeling or look that denotes "character."
Technical challenge. Artist has chosen something that requires above average skills or technical ability. Not just something that anybody could do. I love to see artists challenge themselves, take the technical risk, and win.
Artistic audacity. Artist is "in your face" with some element that dazzles—skill, idea, technique, or some other in spades of the above mentioned points that makes me sit up and take notice.
Some of these were given to me by artist friends, others are just things from workshops, workbooks or personal observation.
Bottom line, I know my list will keep growing because I'll keep learning and that's exactly what painting is all about.