How to Appreciate Paintings #31: Ask yourself questions of what you see in the painting

When you look at a painting, ask yourself questions of what you see in the painting.  
 
Who is this young lady dancing?  Why is the sky red instead of blue?  When did this take place?  What does the sunflower symbolize?  Where is this pond full of lotus flowers?  How does this relate to me? 
 
Asking yourself questions about what you see in the painting makes you think deeper about the painting.  You may start to realize new possibilities from the painting, you may start to create your own story about the painting, you may start to acquire new knowledge from the painting. 
 
The more questions you ask of the painting, the more you will think about it.  The more you think about it, the more you gain from the painting. 

How to appreciate paintings?  Ask yourself questions of what you see in the painting. 

How to Appreciate Paintings #27: Discovering yourself through paintings

In the previous post, we talked about how your memories, your experiences, your preferences, your emotional state and your knowledge of art shape your response to a painting. 
 
When you look at a painting and become engaged with it, you are searching through yourself to come up with a reaction to the painting.  It may be a spilt second unconscious search or it may be a long search with a deep realization.  The outcome of the search, ie what you feel about the painting, is not the key.    
 
What is illuminating is the search within yourself to derive at a response; the very personal self review that you go through while thinking about the painting enables you to understand more about yourself. This self review is a process that we hardly undergo in our hectic lives, but which we sorely need to explain the emptiness in us. 
 
Looking at paintings help us to discover ourselves. When we say “this painting has connected with me”, it really means that this painting has helped me to connect with myself. 

How to appreciate paintings? When we are appreciating paintings, we are learning valuable lessons from paintings too. 

How to Appreciate Paintings #25: Why you like or dislike a painting is because of who you are

In the previous posts, we talked about the simple reasons for liking and disliking a painting. 
 
“I like this painting because green is my favourite colour.”  “I dislike this painting because I don’t like green.”
 
“I like this painting because it reminds me of my honeymoon to Bali.”  “I dislike this painting because it reminds me of my sad breakup in Bali.”
 
“I like this painting because I like boats.”  “I dislike this painting because I have a phobia of boats.”
 
Why you like or dislike a painting is because of who you are. 
 
Your memories, your experiences, your preferences, your emotional state, your knowledge of art – they shape your response to a painting. 
 
The painting actually does nothing.  It simply presents itself.  When you look at the painting and become engaged with it, you are searching through yourself – the experiences and emotions that you have accumulated thus far that forms you – to come up with a reaction to the painting. 
 
The reaction is an answer that is unique to you. Hold tight to this precious answer from yourself, as it tells you more about yourself than the painting. 
 
If you feel the need to share your answer with others, do it confidently.  Do not be cowered by the opinion of others. Give their views a thought and compare it with your answer; it may lead to further discovery of you.  

How to appreciate paintings?  Realize that why you like or dislike a painting is because of who you are.