Featured Post

Important note about post dates and the archive

June 23, 2022

Questions for writing about art

 There are many questions I could ask. I am going to focus on questions that feel relevant to the particular artwork I’m looking at. 


  • What does this artwork mean to me? Why is it important to me?

  • What is the story behind this artwork?

  • What was the first thing I noticed about this artwork?

  • How does the artwork make me feel?

  • Does the artwork remind me of anything?

  • Was my initial reaction different from my current reaction?

  • What message is the artwork sending?

  • Is it effective in sending that message?

  • Do I agree or disagree with the message?

  • What makes the artwork look so [adjective], and how?

  • What makes the artwork so [adjective] outside the immediate context of the piece?

  • What was my main takeaway from this piece?

  • How would I describe this artwork from memory; what would remain?

  • Think of at least 3 to 5 questions specific to the art piece.

What do I like about this?

  • What about this originally appealed to me?

  • What inspired me?

  • What sets this apart from similar artwork?

  • What does the artwork do differently that I haven’t seen before?

  • What do I want to remember about this artwork?

What could I borrow from this?

  • What would I borrow from the artwork?

  • How would I borrow it?

  • What ideas of mine could incorporate elements borrowed from this artwork?

  • What other things demonstrate similar elements to this artwork?

What do I dislike about this?

  • What would I have done differently?

  • What could have been done better?

  • What would I add or remove?

  • Are there any artworks that demonstrate it better?

  • What do I want to forget about this artwork?

About the artist

  • What do I know about the artist?

  • How did life circumstances shape the artist’s work?

  • What is the artist’s creative lineage - i.e. who/what inspired them?

  • How did the artist become famous?

  • What is the artist most known for?

  • Is this piece similar or different to their overall body of work?

  • Was the artist conventional or controversial?

  • Interesting stories about the artist’s life

  • What does this artwork tell us about the artist?

  • What kind of questions would I ask the artist?

  • Where could I see this artist’s work in person?


  • What kind of title would I give this artwork?

  • How big is the artwork?

  • How does the artwork’s size shape the context of the piece?

  • How would the context change if the scale was changed? 

  • What kind of person would like this artwork and why?

  • What kind of person would dislike this artwork and why?

  • What other things does this art remind me of?

  • What kind of ideas and opinions does this reinforce?

  • What was the artwork’s function?

Silly questions

  • What if this artwork had sound effects?

  • What would this artwork smell like?

  • What would the temperature be like?

  • What tags would this artwork use on social media?

Art style

  • What do I find appealing about the art style?

  • What makes the art style distinct?

  • What are the artist’s signature techniques?

  • How would I describe the art style?

  • Is it realistic or stylized?

  • How does the art style relate to the work?

  • What kind of creative liberties were taken?

  • How does the art style reflect ideas of the time?

  • What genre does the art style fall under?

  • What do I dislike about the art style, and how would I change it?


  • What does the subject’s scale say about its importance?

  • Is it a bust, full body, etc. What message does it send by its chosen framing?

  • What attitude is displayed towards the subject?

  • How would you feel if you were put in the subject’s place?


  • Digital or traditional?

  • What medium was used?

  • How does the medium affect the style?

  • How do you think the artist made the work?

  • What medium-specific techniques were employed?

  • How does the artwork make use of its chosen medium?

  • What does this medium offer that others cannot?

  • What would change if the artwork was done in a different medium?

  • What techniques could be translated across different mediums?


  • How would I describe the piece to someone who has never seen it before?

  • What is the focal point?

  • How does the composition direct your attention?

  • How does the color choice affect the composition?

  • How is the artwork organized?

  • Is the composition conventional or clever?

  • What message does the artwork send with its composition?

  • Do you agree or relate with the message?

  • What do you think happened before or after what’s shown in the piece?

  • How is perspective used?

  • Does it look 2D or 3D?

  • Is there a hierarchy, or is it symmetrical?

  • What kind of details did it take longer to notice?

  • What kind of juxtaposed relationships did you notice? 


  • Describe the color palette used

  • What is the most dominant color?

  • How does the color and lighting impact the mood?

  • Muted or vibrant?

  • Warm or cool?

  • Where is the light source?

  • How is the light source used?

  • What is the function of shadow?

  • Are colors flat or shaded?


  • Variety, or repetition?

  • Is it geometric or organic?

  • Ornamentation

  • Describe the shape

  • Describe the texture

  • Describe the form

Line and brushstroke

  • Are contours used?

  • How are edges handled?

  • Describe the weight of the lines.

  • Is it painterly and free, or tight and detailed?

  • How do the brushstrokes impact the mood/nature of the artwork?

  • What techniques emphasize the message of the piece?


No comments:

Post a Comment