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The Subject of Art 2: What a Painting Is All About

Tim is a freelance writer, poet, artist and storyteller. He always tries to find and include lessons for everyone in his writing.

The Meaning of Art

The great thing about art is the the interpretation of any painting is in the eye of the beholder. Everyone who looks at a piece of art uses their own filters to help them understand what the painting is about. What I see in a painting may not be what you see in the painting.

I have chosen some more of my favorite paintings by artists I use for inspiration for my own work. I've tried to explain what I see in each one of the paintings.

Convergence by Jackson Pollock

Convergence by Jackson Pollock

Convergence by Jackson Pollock

First of all I think this is a cool painting. Yet when I look at I ask one question Why? Why is this painting worth so much money? Why is this painting special? In the end I put a lot thought in to answering all the whys.

This painting is special because a lot of thought went into the creation of the splatter pattern which makes the painting stand out from other splatter paintings. However the thing that makes this painting so special is taste. Every person has a certain taste they like in art and style of art.

Some people fail to see the beauty in Pollacks paintings because all they feel art is supposed to have certain form and function. What I like to call painting inside the line. Pollock however went outside the line. Kind of a like a child at play.

“Painting is self-discovery. Every good artist paints what he is.”

— Jackson Pollock

Silent Scream - Edward Munich

Silent Scream - Edward Munich

Silent Scream - Edward Munich

This is one of the most recognizable paintings in the world. When I see it I have to wonder what Edward Munich was thinking about when he created the painting. I mean the painting to me has the look of someone who is out for a pleasurable stroll and has one of those "O Crap" I forgot to do something moments.

We've all been there. The moment you open your mouth wide, throw you hands to the side of your head and say, "O crap." Men in a relationship will have more of these moments. Think about what happens when you forget your wife's birthday.

Guernica - Picasso

Guernica - Picasso

Guernica - Picasso

When I look at a painting a couple of things come to mind. The first is how much imagination and inspiration it took create the work of art. The second is what in the world is this painting all about.

In all honesty when I first looked at Guernica by Picasso I had to scratch my head. I looked up the painting and found out the background for the painting is Picasso's anti war stance. Once I learned the background of the painting I understood why he created it the way he did. War is a jumbled mess.

Cherubs - Raphael

Cherubs - Raphael

Cherubs by Raphael

Cherubs by Raphael is located on the ceiling of the Sisteen Chapel. When you first look at this painting you think what cute little children/angels Raphael painted. Then your mind starts to wander.

Why did he choose chubby children to be angels? The other part of the painting which makes me wonder is what are the little cherubs thinking about while they are staring off into nowhere?

Maybe wondering about God"s creation of man. Or they could just be contemplating what they're going to be doing over the next millennia or two. Who knows. It is still an interesting painting.

Painting is self discovery. Every good artist paints what he/she is.

— Jackson Pollock

the-subject-of-art-2-what-a-painting-is-all-about

The Corn Poppy - Kees von Dongen

If you're someone who likes a portrait to an exact likeness of someone then von Dongen's portraits are not for you. His portraits are not an exact likeness of his subjects instead they capture the essence of the person he is painting without all the hindrances of trying to render an exact likeness.

His paintings bring a colorful exuberance to an art gallery. Still there are those who think his painting look like something a child created. Well as they say, "art is in the eye of the beholder."

the-subject-of-art-2-what-a-painting-is-all-about

Girl With A Pearl Earring - Johannes Vermeer

I like the look on the girls face in this picture. Whoever she is she has the same look on her that my children did as teenagers when you try to get them to let you take their picture. “Really dad, “my daughter would say. “No more pictures.”

The reality is the girl in the painting had to hold the pose for quite a long time. I’m sure the girl had a few choice words for Vermeer when she was done for making her sit there that long.


the-subject-of-art-2-what-a-painting-is-all-about

The Persistence of Memory - Dali

I am a fan of Dali's work especially his abstract paintings like the Persistence of Memory. The main reason I like this painting is the surrealism. The landscape looks like you’d see in some Twilight Zone episode.

The melted timepieces as If melted from some unseen heat source draw you to the foreground . Then the eeriness of the background draws your eye deeper the painting. You have to wonder about where the inspiration for the picture came from. I mean it a certain mindset to create what is not reality and make it real.

Final Thoughts

There you have seven more of my favorite paintings and my thoughts about them. I hope you enjoyed this small look into what art is all about. If you enjoy art and love to visit art galleries or look through books of art take the time to really look at each. Form your own thoughts and ideas about what the artist was trying to express through his or her work. Every artist has a story learn them and it will enrich your art appreciation.

© 2020 Timothy Whitt