How to look at art

Graceful By Graceful, 31st Aug 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/1j-ax7ps/
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Art>Exhibitions

You have this big empty wall in your house and you so badly want something unique and valuable to hang on it. Something that will draw attention, make you feel good and make a great topic for conversation. A beautiful photo or painting that will show your personality and your good taste. The problem is, you have no clue on what to buy or even where to buy it. Let's go through some points on how to look at art!

What do you see?

At one of my recent exhibitions I paid attention to a middle aged couple as they entered the gallery. They quickly browsed through all the photos on the wall, about 20 pieces, nodded in my direction and said “Nice photos” before they left the room. The whole sequence took less than two minutes. This would be how I would glance at car parts as I was heading to the dress department. In this case I was surprised that the couple bothered to come to the gallery at all.

But I don’t know anything about art!

I often hear people say “I don’t know anything about art so I don’t know whether it’s a good picture or not, but I think it’s nice.” The real question among the experts is not whether it’s a good piece of art or not, but whether it will sell or not. This is not your problem if you’re looking for something to hang in your living room. The question for you is: “Do you like it enough to pay the price they’re asking?” Will it give you so much pleasure and personal value that you’re willing to pay that price?”
I want to share with you a few tips on how to get the most out of your visit to an art gallery or exhibition. Maybe this will make it easier for you when you wish to purchase art.
So, let’s look at some ways to really look at art. When you answer these questions you can join any art conversation and seem like you know what you’re talking about!

Describe

1. What do you see in the picture? Just describe it, you don’t need to interpret.
2. Describe the use of colors. Are they dark and gloomy or light and happy?
3. Which technique did the artist use? Thick or thin layers of paint? Mixed colors or clean colors? How did the photographer manage depth of field? Is it shallow or deep? Is the background in focus or is it blurry?
4. Describe the lines. Do you see straight lines or curves? How do the lines lead you into the image?

Analyze

1. Are your eyes drawn to a certain point, or do they wander about?
2. Do you see elements that stand out from the rest of the composition?
3. Is the composition well balanced? Is something interfering or missing?
4. Do you sense movement, and if you do, how did the artist convey that?
5. Does the painting or photo look flat, or does it make you think about depth and space?

Interpret – This is the most important part!

1. What kind of atmosphere or feeling to you get from looking at the piece of art in front of you? Does it make you feel good, sad, happy, relaxed or provoked? Does it put you in a certain place?
2. Picture yourself in the painting or photo. What does that feel like?
3. What kind of sounds would you hear?
4. Why do you think the artist chose to paint or shoot this object or style?
5. What part of the artwork do you think was most important to the artist?
6. What do you really like or really dislike?
7. How would you feel if you owned this piece and could look at it every day?

Look! Look! See! The more you look, the more you’ll see! The more you see, the more you’ll discover!


All images used in this article are my own and can be purchased on my website.

Tags

Art, Art Collecting, Art Exhibitions, Artbuying, Artforsale, Artist, Artists, Arts, Artwork, Exhibitions, Galleries, Gallery, Photo, Photograph, Photographer, Photographs, Photography, Photos

Meet the author

author avatar Graceful
I am a photographer hoping my art will give the viewer a moment of escape. I will write about art and also add some photo challenges as well as everyday stories and travels.

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Comments

author avatar Dan Dawson Sr.
31st Aug 2015 (#)

Great piece your Grace! (As usual)
There are so many more peole that really don't know how to select or even appreciate many forms of art.
Most won't admit or mention it, but inside they deeply want to know and also balance their own appreciation against the "Standards" of art appreciation.
I believe this is a simple yet important article to share with the greater populace of people who appreciate art and want to do from a more knowledgeable stand point and also, at the same time, validate their own views & values.
Thank you once again for your insight & contribution.
Only the best,
Dan

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author avatar Graceful
31st Aug 2015 (#)

Thank you, Dan! It's always good to hear from you! Hope you're doing well!

We'll never have too much knowledge. I'm in the learning process myself, and I'm loving it!

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author avatar Carol Roach
3rd Sep 2015 (#)

I have nothing on my walls, but I really don't have any money to buy anything anyhow

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author avatar Graceful
3rd Sep 2015 (#)

Carol, I'm sure there is something you could make yourself and hang on the wall. Let your creative juices flow! :-)

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author avatar Williamsji
10th Jun 2016 (#)

Good photographs and very useful article, thanks for sharing, regards

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author avatar Graceful
10th Jun 2016 (#)

Thank you, Williamsji!

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author avatar Dan Dawson Sr.
20th Sep 2016 (#)

Life's crazy!
Just thought of you....
;)
Only the best,
Dan

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author avatar Graceful
20th Sep 2016 (#)

Life wouldn't be fun without a little craziness! Hope everything is fine! :-)

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