Sea Blue Lens

…But I Know What I Like


Is It a Message?

When it comes to art, I know what I like — and I also know what I don’t like. Maybe. Lesson 7 in Find Your Eye: Journey of Inspiration asks us to consider why we have negative reactions to some works of art.

I’ve really been blocked on this assignment. Though I’ve touched on this topic previously, here and here, I’m a person who is very uncomfortable pronouncing judgements. One of the overriding principles of my life is to never say or do anything that will hurt or offend anyone. I know that’s not a realistic goal or even necessarily a good one, but it’s who I am.

Living on the Edge

I realize that art appreciation is very subjective. Something I love may leave others cold, and vice versa. But I have to admit that there have been many times when I have visited an art gallery or museum and have asked myself, “What makes that ‘art’? Why is that [whatever] considered worthy of hanging in a museum?” Sometimes I just don’t get it.

I remember once seeing in a museum a canvas painted entirely white. There were not even any brush strokes visible. It could have been a blank wall, except a wall would have had more texture. The narrative next to the painting went into great detail about the significance of this master work, all of which sounded like gibberish to me. All I could think of was the Emperor’s new clothes.


I don’t like art that makes no sense, or makes me feel stupid. Drips and blobs of ugly colors don’t speak to my soul, no matter what they are titled or how the critics rave over them or how much they sell for at auction.

For a work of art to be significant to me, it needs to touch me in some way. I need something I can respond or relate to, whether it’s color, design, pattern, or story. I prefer beauty to ugliness, though again, I realize that the perception of beauty is also very subjective. I prefer art to lift me up, stir my imagination, pique my curiosity, or make me think, or feel, or marvel over the skill and vision of the artist.


On the other hand . . .

I don’t like it when others assume I won’t like something, based on their perception of me. I don’t like being put into a box. I don’t like being told, “You don’t want to see that – you wouldn’t like it.” Sometimes they are right, but often they are not. In any case, I want to decide for myself. I want to keep my heart and mind open to new experiences. I want always to continue learning and growing.


8 thoughts on “…But I Know What I Like

  1. Lee,
    We share so many of the same feelings about art – from the feelings of “not getting it” to the desire for art to be beautiful – art to “lift me up, stir my imagination, pique my curiosity, or make me think, or feel, or marvel over the skill and vision of the artist.” That sentence sums it up for me – so well-said.

    And your photos definitely meet that beautiful criteria. “Solitude” is simply gorgeous – the silhouetted tree against that colored sky – the definition of art.

  2. Kudos to you for wanting to decide for yourself, for wanting to keep your heart and mind open to new experiences. I enjoyed reading your post as you described a lot of what I think of concerning art. The photo of the sea shore just draws me in.. I’d like to be there!

  3. I can see your values for “art” in your work Lee. I love that you are keeping your heart and mind open to new experiences. Working through your block on this exercise is a wonderful step in that direction. I identified with so much of what you wrote about not understanding why something is considered art at times. A negative reaction can keep us in the box, but you are stepping out and allowing yourself to see things in a new way. Well done.

  4. Nice set of images 🙂

    IMHO, art is anything made by anyone that took some effort of creativity on their part; and remember, one of the best things about being an artist is that you never have to explain yourself 🙂

    Those that feel the need to explain, I feel tend to let their ego get in the way of others forming an objective option on it.

  5. I agree with A. Barlow above, mostly because that is almost the best name ever.

    Oh, and also your pictures are lovely. Yes. I too know what I like. 🙂

  6. I couldn’t agree more! This is so well written and super photos also!

  7. Beautifully and thoughtfully written!! I agree, that art needs to touch us; beautiful art touches me! Your images are a wonderful example of the art that touches me! They each have a different feel, excitement in a special find, breathtaking beauty, the peace that comes with hope, and the calmness of solitude! Truely beautiful art!!

  8. Thank you so much, everyone, for your wonderful comments. Each one means a great deal to me. You have no idea how much you all lift me up!

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