February, the month of love. That feeling of absolute bliss you get when you are with someone special or are starting something new. That feeling when you view a breath taking work of art or design.

Art has the power to evoke feelings of love, anger, or sadness in its audience. Art may leave you feeling happy but may leave nother person feeling annoyed. If you think about it, it is a bit like falling in love. Art has the power to create a sense of what the artist may have been feeling, connecting the audience with the artist. The right painting, sculpture, or other piece of visual art or design can allow us to feel alive and will awaken those wonderful endorphins of ours. In turn, that makes it much easier to engage with the art in a way that activates many other wonderful things for the human brain and psyche. Falling in love with art does have advantages over the art of falling in love with a person – it probably feels a lot easier. But just like in any relationship, a bit of effort is required to understand, appreciate, and fall in love with art.

This article is here to guide you on how to observe, understand, and fall in love with art.

Visit the nearest gallery or art museum to you. Wander, slowly, around the gallery, spending at least a few minutes taking in each artwork or design. It takes some effort to really look. As you do, don’t think about what you’re having for dinner, or the long list of emails waiting for you, or even what you are “supposed to notice” if you know art. Silence your thoughts. Just observe. Become aware of how it makes you feel. If you feel a flicker of something like excitement, stay a little longer. Let it grow.

Sometimes it can be a good idea to move around and to go and look at another artwork. Do you feel drawn back to the previous one? Is it still speaking to you? If you feel the tug becoming irresistible, return to observe it further. Place yourself in front of the piece of art and work out why you feel connected to it. What is it about this painting, sculpture, or design that speaks to you? What does it remind you of? What about it is creating a sense of excitement for you?

At this point, it may be helpful to do some research about the artwork and the artist. What did they intend to communicate? This may help you to understand why you are responding to it. Or it might not. Sometimes, even the artist themself is unaware of what is unconsciously expressed through an artwork. Trying to discover the message in an artwork is one of the things that makes it so exciting.

Each artwork or design is unique, and one cannot be compared to another. So, when you find an artwork that speaks to you, that is when you stop and let the “conversation” happen naturally. It might well lead to the romance you have been seeking! And if it does, why not take it with you? If you can’t afford an original (let’s face it, a Van Gogh original is a little pricey for most), then try to find a good print or photograph of it. This may be your first experience of falling in love with art, but it definitely won’t be your last.

“Art and love are the same thing: It’s the process of seeing yourself in things that are not you.” – Chuck Klosterman.