Writing a Reflection essay on a Painting

Painting is the oldest form of human art that has continued to gain interest in the academic sector as its revolution continues especially with digitalization.

A painting can be made with the aim of memorization, instructing, provoking or even to worshiping – communication is the objective of any piece of art and it can be in any aspect of life. Paintings can be made in a diverse of ways based on such as the brush used, the paint used, the surfaces used and the mode of painting. No matter which technique is used to make a painting, the objective remains the same – to communicate.

Reflecting on a painting involves determining the knowledge, ideas, experience and/or emotions gained by examining a piece of painting and its context or culture and connecting that with what you have learnt and other information as presented in the society. Primarily, reflecting on a painting involves seeking to explore the communication the painter was trying to make.

How do you write a reflection essay on a painting?

Writing a reflection essay on a painting or any piece of art is more of an active process – it involves more than looking and writing what you see. You need to be analytical and observant – although this is more on the analytical essay, it is also essential in a reflective essay.

While writing a reflective essay on a painting/ or any art involves considering what is within use and without, what we have learnt, knowledge of the culture and mode of painting during which the painting was made. You are supposed to make connections to all these aspects in order to determine the communication being made through the painting/piece of an art.

Reflecting on painting also involves considering  the tools that were used by the painter, the use of such as colors, lines, symbolism, brushstrokes, size of various objects in the painting and use of space. All these elements contribute to such as adding to the mood and express such as feelings and controversies in the society.

In order to make a good reflection of a painting you need to understand the culture and events at the time when the painting was made – this knowledge will enable you to understand what the painter intended to imply and hence have a better understanding of the painting.

The reflection should be made in an informal but articulate manner. Remember your are expressing your ideas, knowledge or clarifications you get by examining the painting.

Make sure to note the ideas, clarifications, thoughts etc that you get by examining the painting

You can make notes to use for your reflection essay on a painting by seeking to answer questions such as:

  • Who is the painter?
  • What’s the painting’s title? Why do you think it was given this title?
  • Who do you think was the audience of the painting?
  • What was the original purpose of the painting? Is it still relevant in the current society?
  • What does the painting make you think? Or what ideas does it give you? How does it make you feel? Was that the intention of the painter? If not, why do you think there is a change?
  • Why do you think the painter used such as the tools, technique, color that they used?
  • What do you think motivated the painter to make the painting?
  • Do you think the painting belongs to a particular style or school? Why do you think so?

There are many aspects you can consider while writing your reflective essay on a painting. Once you have noted your answers to the above questions and more, organize your notes in a manner that will allow you to express them in a pros to support an argument/thesis statement that you intend to support through your reflection. For instance, if you are proving that the painter followed a specific school/style, organize your ideas based on your reflection to support this argument.

You could also be reflecting on the essay to determine if the painter met his objective or if their message is still relevant. Whatever you will be evaluating or whatever approach you choose to use while writing your reflection paper on a painting, make sure to organize your ideas in an articulate manner to have an excellent logical flow for easy follow through by the reader. The notes you take will be your essay outline.

Once you are done, you only need to do your write up. You might consider our previous articles on how to write an excellent paper and how to organize your paper to have a better understanding on how to structure your paper.

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