I've been tuning in to quite a bit of artists chat recently, where artists have been asking themselves this question. So naturally, it got me thinking. What does this even mean and who gets to decide?
It too is a question I ask myself almost constantly during my making process and with extra time allowed to consider it when I feel I'm at the point I'm ready to declare a piece finished.
I don't think it matters whether you're a beginner or a more experienced artist, at some stage in the process of making a painting, it's natural to find yourself asking if your work is any good.
There are no definitive rules around what makes art good or not. Different people like different artworks for different reasons, and that's just the way it is. I know I'll never make a painting that is seen as 'good' by every single man and his dog on this planet. There will be people who think it's good and people who think it's not. How do you weigh up who has the more valid opinion? I'd say it's pretty impossible to listen objectively to one more than the other, as appreciating art is such a subjective thing and the reasons for their opinions will likely vary greatly, and may or may not include knowledge and experience of art.
So who should I listen to?
Who gets to decide if my painting is good or not?
The answer is, me, because I alone know the intentions behind it, what I am capable of achieving with the skills and knowledge and experience that I have at that point in time.
I just have to trust my own judgement, use my own criteria and make this call for myself.
Now I know that I'm making the decision, it brings me to the 'how'.
How do I decide if my art is any good?
I ask myself more questions of course!
Will this painting stop people in their tracks, so that they will want to take time to stand and engage with it at it?
Does this painting have elements that are visually intriguing which will captivate people enough so that they want to ask me about how/why I made it?
Will this painting make people want to both stand back to take it in, but also come up very close to investigate the details?
Will this painting induce an emotional response in people who see it?
Do I feel this piece has reached it's full potential?
Will this painting provoke a real, genuine (and hopefully positive) reaction in those who look at it?
Will people say things like, 'now that's interesting' or 'oh I love that!'?
Do I think someone will find enough to love about this painting that they will buy it and hang it on their wall?
Do I have the 'story' of this painting straight in my mind and can I articulate it?
Am I sure that I have resolved whatever that story is?
Do I feel ready to share this painting and it's story with the world 'Out There'.
Have people been showing an interest in what I'm doing with this work via social media and my personal and/or local artists networks?
Would I be prepared to approach a gallery with this work or submit it to a juried art prize?
If I can answer 'yes' to most, if not all of these questions, then I trust that my painting is good enough, in my mind, to be shared with the world 'Out There'.
So then it's just a question of finding the confidence to get on and do it.
But acquiring that confidence is another story!