What makes me like that painting?

Why DO I love that painting?

I recently asked my followers on social media whether they preferred a sketch I’d done in black & white or in colour. It was really interesting to hear how people felt. There was no wrong or right answer. We all like different things.

You might enjoy an espresso, I prefer a Flat White. You like listening to classical piano; I’ll dance round the studio to Abba. Different strokes for different folks as the saying goes. It would be a dull world if we were all carbon copies of each other wouldn’t it?

But WHY do we all like different art? Maybe in just the same way as we prefer different foods, clothes, décor, it’s purely down to personal taste.

Many people are intrigued as to the popularity of say, conceptual art.  I was amused to read that a bag of rubbish that formed part of an exhibit at the Tate was actually thrown away by a cleaner.  Clearly, the cleaner didn’t grasp the deep and profound meaning.


Research has shown that by exposing people to different types of art and testing their reactions it can sometimes occur that people prefer the art they see more often. However, in some cases, the more we see that ‘awful picture’ the more we dislike it and want to run screaming for the hills.


For me, it’s mostly that gut reaction when I see a painting for the first time and I just absolutely fall in love with it.  I was at the National portrait gallery last week and found myself captivated by the portrait of  Rupert Brooke. I loved the painting at first glance. I found myself very moved when I read the story of the young poet, who sadly died of sepsis at just 27 years old. He had an extraordinary life and that made me love the painting even more.


Sometimes it’s good to challenge yourself and find out more about an artist’s journey. I came out of the Hepworth Gallery in Wakefield feeling full of admiration for the artist, whereas previously I’d just thought, “They’re just bits of wood with holes in them”. I know, forgive me. Finding out the artist’s thought process and their journey can really alter your perception of their art.

It’s good to challenge our prejudices and explore what is out there. Maybe we’ll discover new artists whose work we love. Maybe we’ll find work that we can’t believe gets valuable exhibition space. Whatever happens, it’s just really great to take time to view art that isn’t your normal cup of tea… or is that a flat white?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *