• newton4art

What is the Point of art and How to understand a picture


Firstly: What is the point of art?


Art is a symbol of expression for the art maker. Images are based on their imagination, which relate to or interfere with the artist’s life such as, surroundings or daily events. But wherever the stimulus has come from, it allows the art maker to connect to the topic from which they want to make a statement about.

The art of words, on the other hand are sequences, each of which have a predefined meaning, but its one dimension relies on the reader to interpreted the combination of words, in order to visualise what the writer intended.


Visual Art in its variety of forms, whether it is painted and based on true to life scenes, symbolic abstract brush strokes to represent a scenario or constructed into a 3 dimensional interpretation – all of which form the visual voice of communication.



How does the brain perceive art?


Rather than just thinking art is beautiful, we want to place ourselves into the artwork. This placement occurs through a process known as embodied cognition, in which mirror neurons in the brain turn things like action, movement, and energy you see in art into actual emotions you can feel. A painting of a person is not a person, however our brains recognises that it’s nothing more than paint on a canvas, representing a human being.


In fact, our brains can interpret face representations in almost everything even two dots and a dash *-* . But why is this? It turns out that the brain is remarkably adept at discerning familiarity and meaning from patterns, abstract forms, and incomplete information. Each time you look at a piece of art, your brain is working to make sense of the visual information it's receiving. From highly lifelike portraits to abstract collections of rectangles, looking at art stimulates the brain and puts our innate knack for organising patterns and making sense of shapes to use.


Our brain's reaction to art stimuli is the first part of a multi-step process. Learning how to look at art increases the experience.



Tips: How to learn to understand art


Here’s a simple three-step guide to understanding art, whether it’s abstract or classical and teach yourself how to understand what art can mean, whether it’s abstract or classical.

1) Describe

2) See

3) Think

Describe what you see in the picture, and what is missing.

Seeing Take time to get in the zone and use your eyes to connect with the picture

Think about what the artist might be saying within the picture.


Describe: put words to what you see

Take a small pad and make notes describing what is in the picture, allow yourself to be consumed by the details, the colours and the subject. Write either in narrative or bullet points. This exercise will help you get into the ‘zone’ and away from distractions to concentrate on the picture and get closer to where the artist intends to take you.


Seeing is about applying meaning to the picture


When we concentrate on a single thing we see things better- with greater focus. This gets us closer to understanding something such as a brush stroke that symbolises something like a house on a hill. The mark is merely a representation for something and we need to decode that message in order to, interpret what’s in front of us.


Thinking takes the process of interpretation one step further.

It’s not a science. It’s not about finding the “right answers”, but about thinking creatively about the most plausible understandings of a work and how deeply it connects with you, your emotions or life history.


The outcome of these steps to help you understand the meaning of art can also help with improving your analytical problem solving abilities, as well as giving you more pleasure from a work of art.





Understanding perceptions of art

Perceptual learning results in changes in the pickup of information as a result of practice or experience. Perception and action are a cycle: People act in order to learn about their surroundings, and they use what they learn to guide their actions.


First, unskillful perceiving requires much concentrated attention, whereas skilful perceiving requires less attention and is more easily combined with other tasks. Second, unskillful perceiving involves noticing both the relevant and irrelevant features of sensory stimulation without understanding their meaning or relevance to one's goals, whereas skilful perceiving involves narrowing one's focus to relevant features and understanding the situations they specify. And third, unskillful perceiving often involves attention to the proximal stimulus (that is, the patterns of light or acoustic or pressure information on the retinas, cochleae, and skin, respectively), whereas skilful perceiving involves attention to the distal event that is specified by the proximal stimulus. - JOHN J. RIESER


Enjoy and have fun – let me know how you get on.

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