There’s no skill to art appreciation.
You like what you like.
If you want to sound fancy, you can toss out words like trompe-l’œil, juxtaposition, anthropomorphic, and (my favorite) chiaroscuro. But the only thing that matters is how you feel.
That said, the most valuable thing I learned in art school is to look at a piece from multiple perspectives.
How do you feel when the artwork first comes into view across a crowded room?
Take that first impression and put it in your pocket. Now walk around the art, even if it’s two-dimensional.
Crouch down and look up. Close your eyes and open them up again.
Get so close the guard trains their gaze on you. Zone out all external stimuli until it’s just you and the art. How’s that feel? My wife Dawn, pictured above, loves to get all up in there at museums.
You might leave with something similar to your first impression (check your pocket). Or you could have an entirely different outlook. Either way, you’ll be more informed and confident about what you feel.
Now apply this technique to everything — a work assignment, a personal challenge, a roadblock or an opportunity. Before you dive in and solve it,
walk around it. Let multiple perspectives guide your approach.
Bask in the chiaroscuro of it all.