How to look at paintings in an art exhibition? Every painting deserves three looks.

There are many paintings in an art exhibition. Do we look at all paintings? How long should we look at one painting?

Every painting deserves three looks. Give every painting at the art exhibtion at least three looks before moving on to the next painting. This will make our experience at the art exhibtion a very fulfilling one.

Read: #2: The best way to look at paintings? On the wall.

First Look. Stand away from the painting to have a good overview of the painting. We need to adjust our distance from the painting according to the size of the painting. For a huge painting, we need to step further backwards to get the overview. For a small painting, we need to step forward so that we can still see the painting properly.

The first look allows us get a quick overview of the painting and form our first impression of the painting.

Second Look. Step closer and closer to the painting until the texture of the painting can be seen. Observe how the painting seems to have changed as more details appear.

The second look gives us a more detailed view of the painting and firms up our thoughts of the painting.

Third Look. Read the title of the painting on the wall label besides the painting, then look at the painting again. With new information from the title, we see the painting in a different light. We look at the painting to find answers, we notice things we had not seen earlier.

The third look enables us to form our conclusions of the painting – what we think and feel about the painting.

After the three looks, depending on our conclusions of the painting, we will stay with the painting to look at it longer or leave to move on to the next painting.

Most of us tend to move quickly from one painting to another at an art exhibtion, giving a painting only one look to decide if it deserves more attention. By doing this, we are not doing ourselves justice; we are not allowing ourselves to see the paintings for what they are. We are not giving ourselves a chance to be comforted by a painting, to be shocked by a painting, to be inspired by a painting.

By giving every painting three looks and thus spending a bit more time with every painting, we allow ourselves to experience and enjoy all the paintings in an art exhibition. Sure, we may end up disliking most of the paintings in the art exhibtion, but the engagement and experience we have with every single painting is a fulfilling one.

read: #1: The No 1 rule in art appreciation

How to appreciate paintings? Look at paintings in an art exhibition by giving every painting 3 looks. It will greatly increase your engagement and enjoyment of the art exhibition.

PS: Most of us tend to step only left or right in an art exhibition, to move from one painting to another. We usually maintain the same distance from the wall for all the paintings that we are looking. But the paintings in an art exhibition are not all of the same size. Hence we cannot maintain the same distance from the wall for all paintings.

Read: #3: How to start looking at a painting? From far to near.

We need to step forward or backward from the wall to adjust to the difference sizes of the paintings. We also need to move forward and backward for every painting so that we can have different views of the painting, from overview to close up details.

Painting Image: Abstract IV by Singapore artist Low Hai Hong /

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