How to Appreciate Paintings #89: A new milestone in 2021

2020 has been a terrible year for us. We lost a loved one, and like many around the world, we lost many freedoms that we had taken granted for.

But we humans are stronger than we think. And the passing of time helps. Or perhaps we are just simply accepting what we cannot change.

We are slowly adjusting to life without him, and we are surely getting used to a new world of masks and social distancing.

Yes, life goes on. But in 2021, we don’t want to just go on with life. We want to live life. Live with all the ferocity after the long pause in 2020.

Because 2020 has showed us that life is unpredictable. We do not know when and what will happen to turn our lives upside down again. Because 2020 has showed us that doing nothing does not change anything. It does not make us happier or lighter.

2021 will be a fantastic year for us. We do not know how it will turn out of course, but no matter what the outcome is, it will be an amazing year for us because we will live it with all our might.

How to Appreciate Paintings #88: The title of a painting (Part 9)

The title of a painting is a little “short cut” in the journey of appreciating a painting.  By telling us what the painting is, the title of the painting allows us to understand the painting faster.  

Knowing the title and knowing what the painting is, we do not have to grope about in the dark trying to figure out what is happening.  We can go straight into the significant details that show what the painting is.  We can directly proceed to think about how we feel about the painting.

We will still engage with the painting with this “short cut”, although there will a little less wondering and imagining.  For example, there will be no two stage experiencing (How to Appreciate Paintings #86).

The process of appreciating paintings becomes a bit more “efficient”, with lesser “guessing”, as the title provides clues to shorten the effort and time needed to make out what the painting is.  

This short cut is especially useful for those of us who are new to paintings, giving a much needed helping hand and a boost to their confidence when looking at paintings.  

But for those of us who are more experienced, try to rely a little lesser on the title, to enjoy a lot more of the painting. There is no need to strive for efficiency when appreciating paintings. 

How to appreciate paintings?  The title of a painting is a useful short cut to understanding the painting.  But if you rely a little lesser on the title, you will enjoy a lot more of the painting. 

How to Appreciate Paintings #87: The title of a painting (Part 8)

If we look at the painting before we look at the title, we will see the painting for what it is, with no preconceived expectations. Our minds are free to explore and imagine the painting.  We will form our own conclusions of the painting.  When we look at the title eventually, our minds will again ponder, whether to resolve the conflict or harmonize the agreement, between we had thought the painting to be and what the title had said the painting is.

Looking at the painting first before looking at the title of the painting allows us to engage with the painting twice, enhancing our experience and appreciation of the painting. 

Hence we should take our time to look at the painting and not be in a hurry to look at the title.  But most of us simply give a quick glance at the painting, read the title, and look at the painting again.  

While we do look at the painting first before we look at the title in this case, we did not give ourselves sufficient time to absorb into the painting before we look at the title.  We miss the opportunity to engage with the painting twice. 

Do not rush to look at the title.  Look at the painting and spend some time really looking at it.  Let your mind wonder, connect with your inner self, develop your own story of the painting. Do not shorten this engaging process, which is what appreciating paintings is all about.  

After reading the title, look at the painting again and spend some more time with it.  Let your mind wonder farther, connect more deeply with your inner self, form your own opinions of the painting.  Do not hasten this stimulating process, which is what appreciating paintings is all about. 

How to appreciate paintings?  Do not rush to look at the title of the painting.  Spend time looking at the painting first before looking at the title.