the artist's notebook










the creative life

creative issues

learn to paint

inspirational artists




what art language do you speak

What is art? Most definitions say that it is a creative process or the product of creativity. I think this is missing the mark.

All forms of art are communication. For any communication to happen, there must be a “speaker” and a “listener.” Within the visual arts, the speaker is the artist who creates the work. The listener is the viewer who responds to the work.

But, what if one person responds to a piece and another doesn’t? Does that mean that the art has failed, or that one viewer is flawed? Neither. It is simply that the second person does not recognize the language of that work.

Exactly what any art communicates can only be answered by the person experiencing the art. That communication is influenced by cultural differences, by exposure to varied art forms, and by individual preferences. It is very personal. We like what we know. We understand what we have been exposed to.

This is why so many great artists have not been recognized while they were alive. Van Gogh and Renoir were ridiculed by the people of their time, but are much loved now. It took time for us, the “listeners,” to learn the languages of their art.

So, how do you go about choosing just that right piece of art for your home, one you can live with and enjoy year after year? It's easy. Find one makes you go “Oh, yes!!!” That’s the piece that is speaking your language.