I like to think that when I come into someone's studio that I am able to give them info that they want. Sometimes it is hard to see what an artists wants though, as I am learning more from my own experience. I think about critiques that have really helped me and what about them were helpful. In my undergrad we often teased my ceramic mentor about his crit style. He would really in a sense bring you down and rip you apart, but before you realized it he was bringing you back up and appraising you. You left the crit thinking wow he really likes my work, but then after some thought you realized the whirlwind that just happened. The most important part was that it made you really think. Having crits that are hard I find helpful, but they should be to help the artist continue and strengthen their work. They should not break down someone into not wanting to work at all.
I think graduate school is a funny place. It is strange to have people in your studio to crit ideas that are fresh and maybe have not even really culminated to much yet. I have really thought about what was said in our last meeting about the fact that so many great ideas have probably occurred but have been pushed aside mostly because of the situation that we are in. We are in training for our thesis year and are striving to have a successful cohesive culmination of 3 years. I think that it would be really interesting if we could put in every idea we never did!
I have gotten away from the my crit philosophy... I say the best crits are ones that have a lot of energy and can make us think. Having people that are supportive is key and pushing us to really challenge ourselves is important as we are young ones trying to find our way. If you are the one critiqueing you should be open and come into the studio with fresh ideas about the work. It is also helpful to ask the artist if there questions that they are asking themselves about the work. This can help direct the crit in the direction that would be most helpful to the artist.