How to Appreciate Paintings #73: How to appreciate paintings

Appreciating paintings can be as simple as looking at the paintings closely and listening to ourselves carefully.  We want to experience the process of discovering our thoughts and feelings through our reaction to the paintings.  It may be an enjoyable, nostalgic, sad, horrific, emotionless, intellectual, experience, but most importantly it is an experience that is entirely our own.  No one can judge or determine our experience.  From this experience, we hope to become more aware of ourselves, to realize more about ourselves, to know more about ourselves. 

Appreciating paintings can also be as sophisticated as attending art classes, networking with artists and collectors and dealers, participating in art fairs. While we continue to seek our connection with paintings through these means, we also want to achieve other personal objectives with these activities: art as a hobby, art as an investment, art for socializing.

How much we want to do, know or learn in the spectrum of art appreciation is up to us.  We can move continuously forward on the spectrum or stand still on the spot that we are comfortable with.  We can put in minimal effort or invest lots of time.  We can be an onlooker, a lover of art who enjoys paintings, or a participant, a collector of paintings. 

There is no goal in art appreciation; there is nothing to achieve.  Art appreciation is for us to enjoy and have fun while we learn and know more about ourselves.  

Each of us will find our own path in art appreciation.  Stand confidently in your path, there is no need to heed anyone else. 

How to appreciate paintings?  Appreciate paintings at your own pace, in your own way. 

How to Appreciate Paintings #59: Nobody cares about what you know about paintings

The biggest barrier to appreciating paintings is worrying about what others think.

We are afraid to let others find out that we have little knowledge of art.  We are afraid that people will judge us for being ignorant.  We are afraid that we will say the “wrong” things.  Because of these fears, we are reluctant to look at paintings, we are hesitant to talk about paintings.  We try to distant ourselves from paintings so that we can avoid such uncomfortable situations.

Which is a pity because we will not be able to experience the paintings that could have connected with us.    

As all of us are aware by now, people care mostly about themselves.  So frankly, nobody cares about what you think or say about the paintings!  Realize this, and accept this, and we will no longer be bounded by such unnecessary fears.  We will have the confidence to look at more paintings, we will be free to think and feel about the paintings, we will be able to enjoy the paintings purely for what they are, without being worried about being judged by others. 

How to appreciate paintings?  Once you realize that nobody cares about what you know about paintings, about what you think about paintings, about what you say about paintings, you will not be shackled by fears of judgement, and you will finally be able to explore and enjoy paintings. 

How to Appreciate Paintings #57: Every painting has a story

Every painting has a story.  Finding out the painting’s story helps us to appreciate the painting.  Knowing the painting’s story helps us to understand the painting better.
The painting’s story can come from many ways.  Most of the time, the painting itself is a story.  The painting’s story could be a lesson – a warning of the climate crisis, or a narrative of a scene – tea time at a café. 
Sometimes the painting itself has no story, it is merely a capturing of light or beauty or whatsoever that inspired the artist to paint it.  In this case, the painting’s story is the story of its creation; what made the artist paint it and how it was painted. 
There are times where a painting has multiple stories: the story of the artist who painted it, the story of how the painting was made available for us to see, the story of the previous owner of the painting, the story of how the painting inspired another artist or someone. 
Every painting has a story, whether hidden in the background or openly shown to us.  Find out the painting’s story by asking the artist or gallery, reading up materials or looking at the painting with what you know.  Learning the painting’s story will help us to appreciate the painting.  
How to appreciate paintings?  Find out the painting’s story. It will help you to appreciate the painting.