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‘Discovering an artist’s visual language’ One does a whole painting for one peach and people think just the opposite - that particular peach is but a detail -

Pablo Picasso Ever entered an art exhibition or art gallery and felt a little overwhelmed by the work on display? Or unequipped to analyze these creative expressions on canvas?It doesn’t have to be this way – you don’t have to be a professional painter or have a degree in art history in order to understand or critique a painting. Feeling confident enough to have an opinion and being able to understand the artists’ statement is what matters. Every painting is based on an idea and has a message to convey. However, different people can have different interpretations of what this message is, giving rise to multiple perspectives on a single piece of work. Decoding Art: Some Steps to Follow: Start from the basics. Understand the content and subject matter of the painting. See if it grabs you; if it has a deeper meaning attached to it. It is helpful if you can relate the painting to your life or something you have personally experienced. This would give you a frame of reference to build your appreciation of the piece and lead to a better understanding of the artist’s statement and intent. In the second stage, try to pin down the artist’s mood, feelings and emotions. Imagine the artist’s state of mind while painting the work and if it has anything to do with his personal journey. Every artist aims to make a statement or to convey a message through his/her work. It is important to try and uncover the messageembedded in the work. After gauging the overall sensibility of the work, one can move to the finer details of composition. Keep in mind the basic elements of design like colour, line, shapes, perspective, symbols, and so on. Study the essential elements of colour and colour schemesin a painting and its relation to the theme. Artists also use lines effectively to express ideas and feelings in the painting. Look for the various lines, be it straight, diagonal or vertical and attempt to understand what they convey. Shapes like circles, triangles, and rectangles add energy to the painting. Perspective adds three-dimensional space to a painting. For deeper perspective, an artist may make parallel lines come together and to give the effect of distance, he may make the objects in the background smaller in size or lighter in colour. Knowing these basic elements of design would aid in better visual understanding of the work. Finally, ask yourself if you liked the painting at a gut level; if it surprised or moved you. And remember, when it comes to art, no opinion is right or wrong - having an opinion is what matters. ###

Discovering an artist's visual language - Copal Art