I still remember when I was first invited to an art gallery by my friends and my instinctive reaction was a feeling of apprehension. It was a strange feeling as I have always loved art especially paintings, so why the anxiety. It dawned on me that I was not worried about experiencing the paintings but how to react to them, what to say and how to converse about them so as to not look like a complete moron to my friends.
This very unusual problem led me to explore and find a simple and down-to-earth approach to art appreciation. The idea is to demystify the process and make it easy to enjoy art. Here are some steps that I came up with to make it an easy learning experience
Tip No. 1 Make it a habit to observe and appreciate art
In order to understand your own specific interests and inclinations in art, develop a habit of observing seriously any art object that you come across be it a painting or a sculpture. We often overlook art objects sitting right in front of us. How many of us honestly take some of the free minutes in our office to look at the paintings on our office walls.
If we spend sometime in observing and appreciating art that we are exposed to in everyday life, we will learn a great deal about what things attract and appeal to us the most and also what are the things that you dislike. In a nutshell you will understand more clearly your likes and dislikes in art
Tip No. 2 Develop your own unique art sense
Once you have spent some time in examining your own preferences in art, you can move towards understanding the forms of visual art that connect with you most. For some it is the lifelike representations in sculpture and for others it is the ability of a painter to depict a memory in vivid colors. To many of us all art forms are a treat for the senses and a tribute to the efforts of the artist
As you organize your own reactions to different forms of art, you will learn to recognize small differences and minor variations of colors and shapes that make a painting likeable or not so appealing to you
Tip No. 3 Research the pieces that you like
Now that you have an understanding of the colors, shapes and styles that interest you the most you should research these further to see if they represent a specific art style or a particular form of art, for example in paintings it could be abstracts, figurative or a combination of colors and theme that represent a definite pattern and style of painting
As you progress further, this research will help you to find more and more distinctively the artists and the media that you like the most. Many a times the styles and colors that appeal to us have a special meaning for us and may originate from a specific region of the world or maybe an art form that we were exposed to early in life and has left a significant impression on us. Sometimes it is the art that you experienced on a great vacation that left great memories and gave you a strong liking for it for life, the reasons for liking some art form are endless some thought to it may give you some clues
Tip No. 4 Refine your art sense
You have already explored and created your own art personality and are equipped with the knowledge of the styles of art that appeal to you the most. Your research has provided you with enough information to feel confidant to give reactions to different styles and also decide what appeals to you in different paintings whether it is the artist’s attempt to express his feelings or the emotions the painting evokes in you.
A very important tool that can help to refine your art sense is to keep an art journal. Before you get put off by this seemingly complex work let me quickly point out that it is the simplest form of keeping a dairy. It is a log of the art pieces that you see and your reactions to each piece, this log can be an important means in refining and enriching your unique art sense. Another important benefit of this art journal is that it can serve as a very effective way of relieving stress. No kidding…keeping an art journal is one of the key activities in art therapy which is a form of therapy that uses creativity and art in the healing process
Tip No. 5 Open up to new experiences in art
The last and most significant tip in the art appreciation process is to keep your mind open and receptive to new art experiences. One of the disadvantages of having developed a definite pattern of likes and dislikes in your art personality is to get trapped in this pattern. Do not cage yourself in this citadel of your own creation but remain open to new and totally different creations and art forms.
The whole purpose of art appreciation is to open your subconscious mind to be receptive to new experiences and creations. You will be amazed when you read your own art log as time passes to see your tastes change over time to different themes and styles. Always remember that the objective of art appreciation is to recognize and understand your own love of art and artistry.