Obviously, when you look at a painting, you can see it. But can you feel it? Can you hear it? Are your senses awakened to feelings beyond the visual before your eyes?
When a viewer glances momentarily at a work of art, they may be seeing it, but they may not necessarily be “feeling it.” Their senses have not been aroused enough to have them stop and fully absorb the piece. The inspiration and motivation that went into its creation has not captured their imagination. There’s no love at first sight, no interest in getting to know and understand this work of art.
But when the viewer stops and stays, and really takes the time to get into the piece, they may well be realizing the unique and personal experience every artist hopes their art will project. To look at a scenic painting and hear the rustle of the leaves, smell the morning dew, or to view an abstract and feel exhilaration is connecting with the art, and it is then that the art is brought to life.
So many times I’ve watched as a viewer will stand in front of one of my regatta paintings for an extended period of time, and when engaged in conversation, say they can feel the mist and the freshness of salty air. There is no greater compliment they can pay me with regards to the art. For someone to say this is so much more meaningful and satisfying than simply saying, “nice colors,” “love the texture” or “great technique” – to me, these are all words indicating they see, but they don’t feel the art.
Those purchasing a painting simply because it looks good next to the sofa, or fills a space in the room are buying decor, not necessarily a work of art in their eyes. For some that’s quite okay - most artists are pleased to simply have the sale! But, for someone to really feel the piece or to be captured by the mood and feel of the piece, is the most meaningful reaction in my opinion, and one that pleases me much more than just a sale.