How do we view an image?

It can be said that an oil painting in its frame is like an imaginary window open onto the world.

But we often see more than what there is to view, so how do we see?

We never just look at one thing, we are always looking at the relationship between objects and ourselves.

Our vision is continually active, continually moving, continually hungry.

So, when thinking about visual art and the way we look at paintings, I as an artist I must remember that the viewer is influenced by what they know, believe or have experienced as an individual. For instance, you might struggle to enjoy a forest painting if you suffer from Hylophobia.

When we see a landscape, we situate ourselves in it. If we were to look at the painting of a moonlit lake some of us may see that as peaceful, whereas some people might find a dark landscape unnerving.

If you think about the associations that come to mind when you look at the above image. What is the strongest thought or feeling you associate with it? What word comes to mind? Perhaps you thought of breezy, maybe you have been influenced by a recent trip to the coast?

Although there will be a common thread that means your chosen word is the same as a handful of others, it is the beauty of the human condition that people think differently, and many words will be associated with the same image.

Artists have the power to help steer the viewer. This painting is entitled, ‘Across to Staithes’. Perhaps this title reinforces your initial feeling or perhaps it makes you think again? Certainly, for me titles are a way to give the viewer more information or to enhance a feeling.

Do you own art? It could be an original, print or your child’s finger-painting. You may have very different reasons as to why you have chosen these pictures to fill your home. It could be because they are attractive or on-trend or perhaps you have made an emotional connection to the piece. Now’s the time to revisit them and give them a closer look.