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ART journal

. . . with my creative meanderings

Gallery Tour Step 7: It Just Got PERSONAL

OPINION: A GOOD or a BAD Message?

Now it's time for you to get personal. Here are some brainstorming ideas to help clarify your personal values and preferences:

  • What do you like and dislike about the piece you are studying and why? is it the technique or the message that you like or dislike?

  • Does the message that the artist conveys to coincide or collide with your own core values and beliefs on what is right or wrong?

  • Might there be any value to owning this piece, even if it conflicts with your own beliefs? Why or why not?

  • Can ugly be done in a beautiful way or beauty made in an ugly way?

  • Do you think all good art needs to have a positive theme?

  • Do you think negative images means it is bad art and has no redeeming value?

  • Is portraying nakedness wrong or right? Always? Never? Why or why not?

  • Is a "bad message" showing something you consider as immoral or something you believe is untrue?

  • Might a message be considered "good" if it is "honest" or posing as a warning to society?

  • What makes this piece of art valuable or trash to you?

Now that you have reflected on what good and bad means to you...must choose ONE of these statements below:

1. Well made with a "good message"?

2. Well made with a "bad message"?

3. Poorly made art with a "good message"?

4. Poorly made art with a "bad message"?

NOTE: always support your decisions with back up arguments,

answering "because why?" (to quote a wise toddler I once knew)


  • I started out not liking Picasso's "Girl Before a Mirror" but after I studied it, decided I liked it because of its honest and open expression, its challenging message to see and value different perspectives and to empathize with both the beauty and the brokenness of our world.

  • I also like the style, although I wouldn't want it in my living room since I find his harsh portrayal of the girl has angry overtones (thick, jagged lines and odd, creepy clown like characteristics). This is not in keeping with the direction I want to be going in life -- not to mention that the colours don't go with my decor!

  • In conclusion, I believe the piece is well executed (it has a strong composition and flow and the artist is fairly clear in his intention). Based on my previous observations and conclusions and my personal beliefs (Steps 1-6), except for the implication that perception is as important as reality (equal sized reflection and figure), I would say it is a good piece of art (method) with a good message (meaning).

YOUR conclusions may vary regarding message (since our core values can vary greatly) but ought not vary much regarding technique (since we agreed earlier on a standard of beauty), regardless of your liking or not (these being your personal preferences). I hope you can find some meaning in any art that you study, be it encouraging or challenging, always causing reflection and even healing.

Humans were meant to be surrounded by handiwork – not just for utilitarian purposes but to evoke joy and empathy with mankind, and indeed, all of creation. If you are not artist, all the more reason to commune with creativity! I hope you grab the next piece of original art that grabs you (giving you a sense of peace, excitement or satisfaction) -- but only if its for sale! Can you imagine where a specific piece might fit perfectly into your home, office or cottage? If it is a gift for someone, is it generic enough a message or specific enough a meaning to be appreciated by a group or loved as a personal gift?

Happy gallery-hopping. AH...the gallery life! Enjoy as much as these people do in the“Gallery of the Louvre”* by Morse, circa 1883. Thanks for joining me on on this tour. To catch more helpful hints and creative meanderings, follow my blog by SUBSCRIBING by email at the very BOTTOM of this post.

Morse "Gallery of the Louvre" 1883

Note: These writings are loosely based on writings by art critique philosophers, Ernst Feldman and Hans Rookmaaker and my experience.

*Public Domain


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