Questions to Help you Find Your True View
The following tips come from David Perkins' excellent book
Intelligent Eye," (p. 52-53) If you are interested, you can read
Chapter One, "Art and the Art of Intelligence".
Note: The linked works go to a dictionary definition.
Specifically, you might try these questions suggested by Perkins:
- Ask "What's going on here?"
- If there's an event of story you haven't figured out, do so.
- Look for surprises.
- Is there a startling color, an odd object, an unexpected
relationship? Where and how does the work surprise you, in big
ways or little ways?
- Look for mood and personality.
- What mood or personality does the work project? Never mind if
it doesn't show a person or animal. Strong moods or personalities
often shine through abstract works, landscapes, or still lifes.
- Look for
- Does the artist have a message? What might it be?
- Look for motion.
- Many works depict motion directly and vividly - running
horses, a bird in flight. Others do not represent action, but the
lines, the texture, the
form, carry a message of motion [or
- Look for capturing a time or place.
- Many works engulf the viewer in a very specific
for example, Paris in the fog, 1890.
- Look for cultural or historic connections.
- Something like, "the car as central to the American way of
- Look for space and negative space.
- Sculpture and many works of art on a two-dimensional surface
represent bodies in space. Look for the shapes of the bodies, and
the shape of the space itself, including the space around the
objects, often called the "negative space."
- Look for specific "technical" dimensions.
- Ask yourself to notice colors and how they relate; the major
shapes and how they balance or unbalance one another; the use of
line, jagged, smooth, quick, careful. (These refer to the
"Elements of Design" displayed
in the "Eyes on Art" Visual Glossary.)
- Shift your scale.
- Look for the big things, the small things, overall structure,
- Look for
- What features of the work appear really hard to do? What
features appear easy but might actually be hard?