So much of our lives revolve around stories. We tell stories to children. We ask people to tell us the story of how their day went. Significant milestones in our lives become stories we tell over and over again. Pictures are also common to our everyday lives. And pictures can tell stories themselves. A painting is a picture that someone has created to tell a particular story. In writing, authors are trying to help the readers form an image in their minds. Artists are much the opposite, they are giving you the image and trying to help the audience find the story within it.
I find this to be a fascinating and wonderful concept. There are so many different ways to interpret paintings and other art, but the artist generally has a particular story that they are trying to tell. The artist is expressing himself or herself, showing the world a story or a concept. There are many different ways to do that, from the obvious and straightforward to the abstract and obscure. But, no matter how they do it, they are trying to say something. They are trying to show others how they feel or how they see a subject. Each time I see a new piece of art, I try to find that story. I’m sure that sometimes I see what they are trying to portray and that sometimes I don’t. But the journey of examining the painting, exploring it makes me feel like there is a connection between me and the creator, the artist.
And, that’s what stories are about, isn’t it? Creating connections. We tell stories to our children to teach them and help them understand the world. We ask someone about their day to connect with them and understand more about their life. We tell the stories of our major achievements and successes in life so that people can share in those achievements with us. Some people choose to tell those stories in the form of artwork.
Stories connect people. They help us develop community. They give us an understanding of other people’s point of view. So, go look at a painting. Take the time to try and find the story in it. Try to see the world through the artist’s eyes and see what they are saying. Connect with them. Seek that connection with the people around you.