How to Appreciate Paintings #72: After your trip to the art gallery

After our trip to the art gallery, we may be intrigued to find out more about the paintings or the artists we had seen at the gallery.  We may be keen to more know about the artist and her background, curious about paintings by other artists in that particular style of art, or interested in the history of that period of art. 

There are many avenues to seek this information and acquire this knowledge. We can read up on books of art history, we can learn about art styles on the internet, we can enquire about the artist from the art gallery, we can speak to the artist directly, we can talk to others who are also interested in art, we can search for similar groups of artists on social media. 

The enthusiasm in paintings is the best door gift we can receive from our trip to the art gallery – it propels us to find out more about paintings and pushes us to continue to look at more paintings.  

The more we know about paintings, the more we appreciate paintings. 

The more paintings we see, the more we appreciate paintings. 

How to appreciate paintings?  Seize on your interest in paintings after your trip to the art gallery.  Find out more about the artists or the paintings.  Plan your next visit to the art gallery. 

How to Appreciate Paintings #71: At the art gallery (Part 10)

When we watch a movie in the cinema, we sit quietly and look intently at the screen, absorbing what is unfolding in front of us.  We may turn to our companions to share a quick comment (in words or by looks) but we keep mostly to ourselves, engrossed with the movie.  When the movie has ended, we discuss the movie with our companions, about the characters and plot, about our feelings and thoughts. 

When we look at paintings at the art gallery, we should do the same.  We stand silently and look closely at the painting, immersing in what is in front of us.  We may turn to our companions to share a short observation (in words or by looks) but we keep mostly to ourselves, engaged with the painting.  When we have completed our rounds of the exhibtion, we talk about the paintings with our companions, about the colours and theme, about our emotions and opinions. 

When we look at a painting by ourselves, we can connect with the painting more deeply and we can concentrate on forming our own response to the painting.  This process of self discovery is lost if we start to speak with our companions the moment we look at the painting together.  

When we are done looking at the paintings in the art gallery, we can then, and should, discuss the paintings with our companions.  Talking about what we think about the painting and listening to what our companions feel about the painting enriches our appreciation of the painting.  From the sharing, we make new discoveries of the painting we had not seen earlier and realize different view points that we had not considered before.

How to appreciate paintings?  Look at the paintings by ourselves, without conversations with our companions, until we have finished looking at the paintings in the art gallery. 

How to Appreciate Paintings #70: At the art gallery (Part 9)

Let us now look at the paintings at the art gallery. 

There is no right or wrong way to look at paintings but there are of course ways of looking at paintings that increases the appreciation of paintings.  

When we look at a painting hung on a wall, we need to move ourselves in various angles and distances to have a “complete” look of the painting. 

From the standard position (How to Appreciate Paintings #68), we form our first impression of the painting.  We get a sense of what the painting is about by having an overview of the painting with some details.  Next we move ourselves to look at the painting from different angles.

Stepping a few steps to the left or right from the centre of the painting, we can look at the painting from different angles.  Looking at the painting from different angles can give us a different perspective to the painting: we may see what we did not see earlier, we may realize changes to what we had seen earlier.

Simply varying our angles and distances from which we look at the painting can bring about pleasant surprises.  It makes us discover more about the painting and helps us to appreciate the painting.  

From now on, let us not just stand in a fixed position to look at the painting.  Move further from the painting, step nearer to the painting, shift to the left of the painting, walk to the right of the painting.  Looking at the painting from different physical points, and we can see different looks of the painting. 

How to appreciate paintings?  Looking at the painting from different distances and angles allow us to have a complete view of the painting at the art gallery.