How to Appreciate Paintings #24: Why it is “good” to dislike a painting

Art exhibition in Singapore. ARTualize is the only art gallery in Singapore that lets you rent paintings for your home. On the wall are two paintings, one is a pastel painting and one is an oil painting, both are paintings of marketplace in Sumatra.


“I dislike this painting because I don’t like green.”
“I dislike this painting because it reminds me of my sad breakup in Bali.”
“I dislike this painting because I have a phobia of boats.”
The reasons for disliking a painting can be as simple as these.  As simple as the reasons for liking a painting.
When a painting evokes emotions in you, it elicits a response that eventually concludes with a simple like or dislike.  Sometimes a painting can create such mixed feelings that you spend a lot more time thinking and resolving your thoughts/feelings to it before you can come to a conclusion.
When a painting does not arouse any feelings in you, it means there is no reaction.  You simply do not care much about the painting.
Which is why it is “good” to dislike a painting. 
When you dislike a painting, it means that the painting has successfully entered into a conversation with you, even though the conversation has led to an unpleasant argument instead of a heartwarming sharing. If you do not dislike (or like) a painting, it means that you did not enter into a dialogue with the painting, missing the opportunity to connect with your inner self.
So the next time you dislike a painting, appreciate it. Because it means the painting has helped you learned something about yourself.

When we are appreciating paintings, we are learning valuable lessons from paintings too.  

Learn more about how to appreciate paintings at

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