The Psychology Behind What Art Is. Painting: The Unexpected Face

My latest painting is a bit of an odd one which I find thought provoking in a different way. It makes me wonder what art really is.

I started with a page of white card which I painted black. I then filled the page with random green dots and slightly bigger markings to see where the picture went. It ended up turning into this:

Now, this ugly thing is so bad that a child could have done it, but is it really bad or is it just abstract? More importantly, can it be called art?

Google has a few definitions for art, one of them being “creative activity resulting in the production of paintings, drawings, or sculpture“. Other definitions involve skill or mastery but creativity is the key theme and opinions or perception about appreciation of appearance seem to be what art is all about.

I think the face I painted is ugly but even when painting it I was oddly drawn to it, I could see it or something similar when it was just green dots. My brain could see what my eyes couldn’t.

As a result of this thought process I went on Simplypsychology to an article about perception from which I took that the brain looks for patterns based on past experiences as well as seeing what is really there. The brain uses information given to make sense of the world, to create images from illusions or in my case collections of green dots.

After looking into it I still don’t really know how to define what art is properly but what I have found is that it’s based on appreciation of a piece and if something doesn’t look good in any conventional sense of the word it could still be appreciated or spark thoughts or emotion in a person and is just abstract.

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