How to Appreciate Paintings #88: The title of a painting (Part 9)


Art exhibition in Singapore. ARTualize is the only art gallery in Singapore that lets you rent paintings for your home. The artist Low Hai Hong is pointing to a painting on the hall.  It is an oil painting of a port in Jambi Indonesia.  The sky and the sea are blended together in a beautiful blue and white scene.


The title of a painting is a little “short cut” in the journey of appreciating a painting.  By telling us what the painting is, the title of the painting allows us to understand the painting faster. 
Knowing the title and knowing what the painting is, we do not have to grope about in the dark trying to figure out what is happening.  We can go straight into the significant details that show what the painting is.  We can directly proceed to think about how we feel about the painting.
We will still engage with the painting with this “short cut”, although there will a little less wondering and imagining.  For example, there will be no two stage experiencing (How to Appreciate Paintings #86).
The process of appreciating paintings becomes a bit more “efficient”, with lesser “guessing”, as the title provides clues to shorten the effort and time needed to make out what the painting is. 
This short cut is especially useful for those of us who are new to paintings, giving a much needed helping hand and a boost to their confidence when looking at paintings.  
But for those of us who are more experienced, try to rely a little lesser on the title, to enjoy a lot more of the painting. There is no need to strive for efficiency when appreciating paintings.
How to appreciate paintings?  The title of a painting is a useful short cut to understanding the painting.  But if you rely a little lesser on the title, you will enjoy a lot more of the painting.

 Learn more about how to appreciate paintings at

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