I have always used art to engage the viewer in a more comprehensive dialog than the purely visual. I use the image to draw the person into an inner discussion with the painting. Some of the comments I have heard offer surprising insight of my work and the viewers inner thoughts about it.
I believe that people enjoy this engagement and quickly move past the realistic vehicle to the that inherent content it carries.
When ever possible, I have quietly listened as viewers discussed what I meant to express. Sometimes they express the idea I had in mind but more often, it’s a story unique to them and inevitably, just as relevant to the work.
As artists, I believe every major work in art history achieved that status by using the image as a vehicle to express an intellectual, emotional or moral human value or idea. This is the imperative of all great art weather realistic or pure abstraction. (All art is abstract as it is paint on a two dimensional surface.)
I was taught how to use my talent and the tools of design, color and the act of marking. Learning to accept my need to include messaging within the image was always present. A successful work for me, is one in which the image causes one to stop and ask; What is it saying?
That is the goal of a successful work. That is the true mission of an artist.