Theory / Art is in the eye of the viewer.



Is this art or not art? I can’t make the call. I’m letting the viewer decide and I’d like my blog to be a no b.s. zone. That means anyone can speak freely without worrying about hurting my feelings or getting into an argument with me. I won’t censor anyone either.IMG_2448


It’s untitled because I don’t want to influence your decision. If I titled it “nonrepresentational” the viewer would look at it as a pure design. I could give it a title that would make the viewer think of some social or political issue. Then I’d be putting some meaning into your mind and it would be abstract.

What if I had some subject in the back of my mind when I did this but I don’t tell you what that idea was? You could take it to mean something of importance to you. Then you should title it and we can call it abstract.

I could give it a funny or catchy title to make people like it but I won’t do that because when I was in art school they told us it’s a sign of a weak painting if the title makes a difference. The painting should speak for itself. If the painting doesn’t speak for itself it’s weak.



If anyone wants to critique it, I don’t care. My total lack of caring makes this kind of post modern. But really, blast it straight to h–l if you want to, or maybe you like it. To me it’s just another step out of thousands. I have no emotional attachment to it.IMG_2450


Did you ever hear an art viewer say, “That’s not art, my 8 year old could do it.” Then the artist or art expert says, “Yes but your 8 year old didn’t do this.”

Doesn’t that sound like a lame argument? What a weak defense of a painting.


37 thoughts on “Theory / Art is in the eye of the viewer.”

  1. when I was in art school they told us it’s a sign of a weak painting if the title makes a difference

    Yeah, and when I was at school I put my hand up and asked if it was possible to have a network operate over radio, and I was told ‘no’. Teachers don’t always have the right answers. To my mind, you’re right in saying that art is very subjective, but I feel that the entire composition (including a title) should be appreciated as a whole.

    By the way, for what it’s worth, I think that your artwork here is very good, but it’s a bit ‘samey’ 😛

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I was suggesting ‘Wi-Fi’, years before it became widespread. The lecturer was adamant that you could only have a network operate with wired connections.

        Yes: (it’s my personal view that) the selection of art you’ve presented here are all too similar to each other. Expanding on what I said before about compositions, I’d say that if you were to present me with just one of those pieces, with a title, I might give it 8/10. But (I feel that) the article, taken as a whole, loses something because the pieces are so similar; it would have made more impact were they more varied.

        Just my subjective tuppence 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

      1. Tamarack Mountain Studio said, to me:

        Where’s your artwork?

        I’m not sure I understand you. I have no ‘artwork’; I’m not a painter. (I do have what I consider to be ‘art’, which is my writing (see my blog for examples), although my failure to communicate well in this thread should probably be scored very low 😉

        If you’re suggesting that one cannot criticize artwork without being an artist, then… I think you’re wrong. As Chris says, it’s all very subjective.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Wow, this thread’s getting confusing…

        Oh, it went down? Oh well. thanks for reading.

        Sorry, that was my fault, I wasn’t clear…

        I was trying to highlight the difference between any one of your pieces, with a title, which (IMO) would deserve an ‘8/10’, with the article as a whole, which as a composition ‘only’ gets ‘6/10’ (again, IMO) because of the lack of variety in the individual pieces of artwork. Had they been more different, the article would have scored more highly. All in my opinion, naturally.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi, personally, I believe that if you ask yourself the question “is it art or not” it probably isn’t. But once you are completely happy with a painting it will be. From my own experience with digital painting, it takes a lot of time and re-working to get what I’m after, and then with luck, I finally think yes that’s it, and yes that’s art! Keep up the good work.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Art is so subjective, Chris. You like what you like. And you can paint what you want to. Personally, I think labeling everything “untitled” is a cop out. I used to hate to receive an exhibit from an artist with twenty paintings labeled “untitled”. Certainly you had something in mind when you created these.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for your thoughts, Kit! I only labeled them untitled to see what people would say.
      And now for the big reveal; I was transferring thin paint onto my canvas with my palette knife and thought it might pass for modern art, but after taking the photos, I spread it out with a brush and made it even and it’s only a gray tint for my next painting! The 4 photos are close ups of one 24x 36 canvas, now tinted gray. No thought process, only putting paint on a white canvas.
      The post is just a way of getting people to talk about art.


  4. I may have it wrong or lopsided but I think that the evaluation of art goes something like this.

    There accidentally made art.
    Art is art if its creator is working in an artistic tradition and presents a creation as art.
    The art of children is accidental – no matter what her/his adoring parents say. Nor do children know about artistic traditions. Children do not make the art of adult artists.

    If an artist does not think that a creation they have made is art, we are in duty bound to accept that it isn’t.

    If an artist presents a creation as art, we can evaluate it using Duchamp’s criteria. Two people are involved in the creative process, he said: the artist and the person viewing the art. S/he completes it and s/he has the last word. That viewer, Duchamp also advised, needs to know something about art.

    Following these criteria, you are not presenting this as art and so I have no comment on it.

    There are also other kinds of art: ritual, decorative and ‘outsider’ art. There may be others. Just wanted to say because they are all art to me even if Duchamp would raise me his eyebrow……

    Also, I’m not sure about the philosophy of naming. There’s Guernica after all. There is the art of so many women. too: named piece after piece so that nobody can say that they did not understand the meaning attributed by the artist to her depiction of her life.

    Duchamp said, Chris, that it is the artist who interested him and not the art. Because the artist’s work is of the first importance in our world.

    I agree with him, Chris. But, or it could be and, I love that swamp and look forward to the Southern magnolia.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the info! That makes sense! Considering that it came from the guy who gave us the urinal fountain (and I was mad at him for years because of that thing), maybe he was actually a philosopher! Sometimes artists think every little thing they do is art and I’m not sure about that. I don’t know where to draw the line and say no, that’s not art. I appreciate the explanation! And thanks about the swamp painting!


  5. Yes…….The urinal fountain but I like the point he made and continues to make.

    I don’t blame him for the carnage which has ensued and I wish he were around to comment further on the ‘art’ of people who think – against what he said – that it is enough to declare themselves artists and to put anything out there even when we cannot see the point of the anything and can’t stand to be abused.

    I go and sit with the Great Glass fairly often and I appreciate what Duchamp said.


    Liked by 1 person

  6. It’s totally art!!! Art is expression and how in the world can anyone, EVER, not express themselves “correctly” through art. I find people’s opinion’s/definitions of art so interesting. I was at an art show recently. SERIOUSLY cool, abstract wax art. LOVED it. The dear friend (not the artist) who had invited me asked me my opinion. I told her I was flipping out in a great way!!! She said, “Ok. Good. I wasn’t sure if it was good or not.” She’s a very strong, smart woman. Not a reflection on her. This is what society teaches us about art. Art either touches our heart/soul or not. That doesn’t define the piece or it’s value. Art doesn’t belong in the land of intellect. It’s a child of another realm altogether. Rock on!!! 🤗❤️🌀

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Art is from the mind of the artist. Viewers are the beholders of the mental feelings about the artwork. That’s why there is such a diversity in the varieties of art. At an art show last year I sold 3 oil paintings that I considered to be at the bottom of my list, including an abstract. My favorite 3 did not even get a minimum bid. There’s something for each person’s appreciation or dislike or neutral reaction to a piece of art. So don’t worry about the general consensus. Create what you want to create. Be brave.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s