How to Look at Art
It’s all too common for people to make sweeping generalizations about art. For some, art may seem to be a privilege reserved for the select few while others may feel that art is too unapproachable and difficult to understand. A lot of the time the reason people don’t enjoy art is that they haven’t had the chance to really find art that they connect with. We believe that art is for everyone and that anyone, with a little help, can enjoy the rewards of an artful eye.
Here are four basic ways to embark on your journey to looking at art and experiencing all that it has to offer:
Take time to look at the work of art. Let the image wash over you. Art isn't meant to be understood at a glance. Look closely at the way the materials work together. Is the image smooth and refined or raw and spontaneous? Take in the size of the work. Is it of monumental scale or small and thereby more intimate? All of these observations ignite different emotions within you. By letting your eyes pull as much information and sensation as they can, you will begin to more readily interpret and understand what it is you're looking at.
Talk about what you see in the work of art. Think about the colors and shapes. Do they create identifiable figures or does the composition remain abstract? How does the work make you feel? Is the image subtle and comforting or intense and explosive? Does it make you happy or sad? Interested or indifferent?
Interpret and assign meaning to the work of art. What does the painting mean to you? Are you relating memories and emotions to what you see? Does the painting remind you of something? When we view art, not only are we experiencing first hand what the artist had intended us to but, we also bring to the work our own personal history, memories and experiences. That's what makes art so compelling; it doesn't have a fixed meaning. The possibilities are limitless.
Relate what you see to your own life, or to other works of art or images you have seen in the past. This is where things get interesting and why no two interpretations are ever the same. You may pick up on something in the artwork that the person standing next to you isn't even aware of. That's where the uniqueness in art comes from, you and how you give meaning to things you see. The more you're able to pull from your own life and relate to what you're seeing, the deeper your connection will be to the work and the more you'll understand about it.
You Got This
Keep in mind, art means something different to each of us. It is said that, "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder" and never has this been more true than in art. One's unique experience depends on what is seen and felt. The more you learn to look at and understand art the more enjoyment and fulfillment you'll ultimately experience with it.
With a little practice and patience you will begin to open your mind to the possibilities of art and what it can do for you, spiritually and emotionally. Keep on looking and learning...a lifetime of fulfillment awaits you.