Jessica Russo Scherr

Art Education

Choose to write it in full sentences or fill in this Critique Grid.pdf or create your own grid.



This critique should be typed, double spaced and include a picture of the artwork. Label the different sections!

Upload to Google Classroom



DESCRIBE (What do you see?)

This stage is like taking inventory.


  • BASIC INFORMATION: Name of artist, title of work, medium, year, and gallery or location of artwork.
  • LIST EVERYTHING YOU SEE Stick to the facts. For Example: It is a still life of apples on a white cloth in front of a window.
  • NOTE FIRST IMPRESSION What grabs your attention in the work? By the end of the critique you may understand your first impression better or you may even change you mind. There are no wrong answers.





ANALYZE (What do you know?)

Try to figure out what the artist has done to achieve certain effects.

  • VOCABULARY: Use the vocabulary you learned in class. For example, if looking at a black and white image and you learned about the value scale, you can talk about the shades of light and dark or areas of chiaroscuro. (Click here for Art Vocabulary)
  • ELEMENTS/PRINCIPLES: How are the elements of art (color, shape, line, texture, space, form, value) and the principles of design (balance, contrast, emphasis, movement/rhythm, unity, variety) used in this artwork? For example: The colors are monochromatic and create a sense of balance between the objects in the background and foreground.
  • MEDIA/MATERIALS: For example: The artist used thick paint strokes.





INTERPRET (What can you interpret?)

Try to figure out what the artwork is about. Your own perspectives, associations and experiences meet with THE ANALYSIS of the work of art. All art works are about something. Some art works are about color, their subject matter, and social or cultural issues. Some art works are very accessible — that is, relatively easy for the viewer to understand what the artist was doing. Other works are highly intellectual, and might not be as easy for us to readily know what the artist was thinking about.


  • THEME: What is the theme or subject of the work? What mood or emotions does the artwork communicate?
  • MEANING: What is the work about; what do you think it means?
  • WHY: Why do you think that artist created this work?
  • ARTIST'S VIEW: What do you think the artist's view of the world is?





EVALUATE (What does this mean to you?)

This is a culminating and reflecting activity. You need to come to some conclusions about the artwork based on all the information you have gathered and on your interpretations.


  • BACK TO YOUR FIRST IMPRESSION: Have your thoughts or feelings about the artwork changed since your first impression? If so, how? What made you change your mind? If not, can you now explain your first reaction to the work?
  • LEARN: What have you seen or learned from this work that you might apply to your own art work or your own thinking? For example: I realized by using warm colors I can create a sense of energy in my own work. The warm colors are active.

Art Critique

Just about every example is from a former student of mine.  Many thanks to them for all of their time and dedication.

How to earn a good grade on your homework

Follow the criteria presented in class and on the website.

Homework  assignments will take between 1 and 3 hours to complete.

All homework should be completed in your journal unless specified otherwise (not printer paper).

Fill the A4 Page of your journal.

Include a background when applicable.

Shade using a full range of values using a drawing pencil unless specified otherwise.

©2018 Jessica Russo Scherr text and photographs. All rights reserved. Any reprinting or republishing of the content of this web site requires permission from the author.