These questions are meant to help the viewer to understand and appreciate the quality or workmanship of a painting. The viewer can learn a great deal about composition, color, value, line and shape by being able to answer these questions for each painting that is seen in a museum or gallery.


  1. Where are the soft and hard edges in the painting?
  2. Why do the hard edges define the object in the painting.
  3. How would the subject matter in the painting change if the hard edges became soft and the soft edges in the painting became hard?
  4. Can you identify where the temperature changes occur in the painting.
  5. Why is temperature change critical in the composition?
  6. What colors are used for the shadows?
  7. Is there reflective light or cast shadows in the painting? What would the painting be like without them?
  8. What is the one color that unifies the painting?
  9. If the painting is a landscapes ? what colors are used to represent greens?
  10. What are the warm and cool colors in each painting?
  11. How does the direction of brush strokes impact each painting?
  12. Can you identify what object is in the golden mean?
  13. Do you see repetition of shape? What is the shape and how often is it used?
  14. Can you explain why one composition is better than the other?
  15. Does texture play a part in the painting?
  16. How is texture created? (by color, light, value, stroke, etc.)