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. 

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