Happy New Year!
A few months ago, I read an article in "Art News" magazine on Beauty and the Brain. In this article, the author cited studies on what types of visual stimuli affect the brain's "beauty" receptors. The scientists found that art that is ambiguous will engage the viewer's brain longer, and the scene will then be considered more engaging, and therefore more beautiful than a piece of art where there is no mystery.
I'm encouraging my students to add a bit of mystery to their paintings, to see if they enjoy bringing the viewer in to solve some puzzles on their own. The portrait that I painted above has the model's head turned a bit away from the viewer, so it isn't obvious what her emotion is. Perhaps this is more intriguing than a full-on portrait with a big smile.
I would also like to introduce you to a blog that I've been enjoying very much lately, named COMPOSE by Dianne Mize. Dianne tackles difficult questions about the theory of art every week, and I look forward to receiving her insights very much. This week's posting is a question that I posed to her a few weeks ago about what makes a piece of art masterful. I think you'll really enjoy reading what she has to say on this, and many other subjects!