Yesterday I had the chance to attend a lecture at the Hotel Pattee given by Lynette Pohlman. It was a great lecture, and I learned a lot about Visual Learning in relation to paintings. Today, I thought I would share some of that knowledge with you, so that when the Gary Ernest Smith Exhibition comes in August, you too can use Visual Learning to interpret his paintings!
Last night I learned that there are three steps when it comes to Visual Learning: Describe, Interpret, and Evaluate. The first step, describe, is actually a little harder than it may appear at first glance. In this step, you have to describe what you see in the painting. However, you can only describe things that you can say for certain are fact. For instance, in “Red Barn With Workman” next to this post, you can say that there is a red barn, as that is a fact. However, ignoring the title of the work, you cannot say that the man must be a farmer, because from the painting there is nothing that indicates as a fact that the man is a farmer. That would be an interpretation, which we will get to next. So, for the first stop you must look at the work of art and describe it using only things that are facts that you can see.
The next step in Visual Learning is interpretation. As you can see above, interpretation takes into consideration what you think the painting is about. Using the “Red Barn With Workman”, we can interpret that the man in front of the barn is probably the farmer. Maybe he is taking a break from his duties? Asking questions is another big part of interpretation. As we learned, being in a group helps a lot with interpretation, because you can ask each other questions. Each person will have their own ideas, and everyone can bounce ideas of each other to develop their knowledge of the work of art.
The final step in Visual Learning is evaluation. In this step, you make your final evaluation of the work in front of you, and decide if you like it or not. Do not worry about liking every painting, as Lynette said last night there will always be things we like and things we don’t like. Also, don’t worry if the work gave you more questions than answers. Lynette said this was a good thing, as it would bring people back to see the painting again and again to try and learn more about it.
If you want to learn more and Visual Learning, tell us! We can arrange another lecture or show the footage that Hometown Heritage recorded of the first lecture.