How to Properly Appreciate Art

The appreciation of art is a fine discipline that requires concentration, time and patience. A true appreciation of art is something that develops over a period of time. Many wish to take on this endeavor, and these are some steps an art lover can take to truly gain an appreciation of arts.

Art History Courses

Part of appreciating art is having an understanding of the field’s history. Many great artists, whether they are from ancient days gone by or are still living, have painted their way across canvasses and made sculptures that capture the eye’s attention. Learning about all of the artists will not only make people realize the contributions that have been made in the field but will also teach them about the artistic periods and techniques. From Modernism to Cubism, artists have made various imprints upon the face of art history. When a person looks at a piece of art, he or she can see influences from both specific artists and art movements detailed in its design. Once they learn about all that is out there, these budding art aficionados will also be able to tell when an artist is trying out a technique that is entirely new.

Practical Art Classes

To truly understand how an artist thinks, it’s important to actually take some hands-on art classes. If parents want their children to develop a love of art early on, then they can enroll them in some painting, drawing or ceramics classes while they are still young. Of course, such classes are not limited to children. Many local art shops, ceramic stores and colleges offer classes for adults who wish to learn how to make paintings or build sculptures out of clay. Not only will students be able to dabble in a variety of techniques, but they will see how much work goes into creation.

Those who are looking in from the outside may assume that creating a piece of art is something that takes only a few hours or a day. However, artists toil over their works for days, weeks, months or even years on end. Just like a piece of writing, they are constantly going back to make revisions. They may even need to start over if a mistake has been made. By going through the actual process of making art, individuals will see the hard work and dedication that is put into making a perfect piece.

Visiting Museums

A crucial part of learning to appreciate the arts is going to local art museums. Whether it’s a tribute to people in the community who have made beautiful works or the Metropolitan Museum of Art or the Museum of Modern Art, the appreciation will be further developed. Individuals should stop to read the notecards that accompany all of the works to get a better sense of the artist and why he or she chose a particular subject or technique.

When people go to local events displaying the works of artists in the community, they might be able to meet and greet with some of these people. This presents yet another opportunity in which people can get inside the head of some of these artists. They’ll be able to ask questions about inspiration, motivation, techniques and other components of the art making process.

Expanding Horizons

Art need not be confined to only the topics that are taught in standard high school art classes. In fact, art encompasses a wide range of fields from dancing to writing. Learning to appreciate those arts is an avenue to success for individuals who may not be as interested in paintings, drawings and other items typically labeled as arts. For people who want to learn more about theatrical arts, for example, they can follow the same paths as individuals who want to learn more about drawing and painting. They can take a class to learn about the greats in the field, or they can take an Introduction to Theatre class at the local college to understand some of the techniques used.

Interested parties can also study the ways in which arts come together. In the creation of children’s books, both drawers and writers bring their sets of skills to the table. When a theatrical performance is about to take place, dangers, singers and crews painting the scene all work to bring extra touches of magic to the stage. Getting involved in some local projects can show individuals how all of the arts work together to make beauty.

Learning to properly appreciate art involves a variety of components. First of all, viewers want the pieces of art to be appealing to the eye. Of course, it goes so much deeper than that though. They also want to understand the techniques that were used and why the artist chose to work with a particular subject and medium.

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Different Styles, Different Types of Art

Peter Max has been described as being an artist with an “iconic” style of art (Wikipedia, 2011), as well as an “expressionistic style,” and creating a “signature style of cosmic characters.” Mr. Max addresses that pop culture, with his graphical expressions of Love, his American patriotism with the Statues of Liberty, his peacock on the NBC logo, and so much more. It is easy to see, with just a couple of examples how he is attributed with the label of creating “iconic” art, as well as his effect on the current culture, and, hence the aspect of “pop”ular culture.

There are different types and styles of art and just when I think that I have figured out the list, I realize that I still have so much to learn!

Another style of art is the art of husband and wife team, Shaefer and Miles, called “neo-impressionistic” art. Park West describes their work as exuding a warmth and “ever-present light.” While that is not necessarily a description of a style, the inclusion of the light does conjure up similar, yet unique art by famous Thomas Kinkade.

There are so many other styles of art, not to mention types of art. When I say, “styles,” I am referring to styles, as described above (even though the talent and expression is beyond description!) and when I say, “types,” I am referring to the inclusion of sculptures, unique use of materials (See also, info on the “Material Worlds” exhibit for examples), and anything that can be considered a creative expression of art. Again, the sky is the limit!

Recently, I have really come to enjoy abstract art, yet another style…. Just as in beauty, the love of art is in the eye (and heart) of the beholder and we all have the freedom to love (or not love) what we see before us.

So, looking at the art, above, which one speaks to you?

Deborah E

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