Very often we hear about symbolic paintings and the first picture that comes in our minds is that they are artworks having images of Gods and religious symbols. Hence many of us shy away from these artworks and move ahead to see landscapes and floral paintings that have universal appeal. The common thought also in the mind of an art buyer would be why to pay so much money when an attractive poster of God can be got for very less price. Let me try to brush up some knowledge about symbolic paintings, their meanings for the artists, representations and symbolic meanings.
Symbolic paintings are not necessarily God paintings or religious paintings only. These may form only one aspect of this art style. Many artist’s who follow the symbolic art style of painting, make use of colour, picture, image and various symbols to represent their feelings and emotions in their paintings. Here a bird may indicate freedom and an eagle may represent soaring high in business or any venture. The colour black which is usually indicative for mourning in many cultures may be used to represent exclusiveness, frankness and confidence. Just like we in India associate white with mourning the artist may use this colour to indicate purity, sanctity and peace. Red colour can show violence by some one whereas another artist may use this colour in their paintings to represent growth, confidence and high energy level. So we understand that colours represent various emotions and this all depends on the individual artist. One can have a conversation with the artist to understand their representation by using various colours and their symbolic meanings.
Many artists also use images and pictures from nature and other sources of the environment. A green leaf or tree indicates freshness and growth. Tall structures and ladders are used in motivational paintings that represent upward growth. An anchor can be used to show grounding and stability in a symbolic painting, whereas a ship shows progress and movement towards prosperity. Usually boats and ships are very commonly used by artists to represent happy journeys and progress in careers. Flowers of different colours represent different emotions and meanings like the famous red rose used for love and passion whereas an white or pink one to indicates friendship and true love.
Some artists also make paintings that show violence and strong emotions. These symbolic paintings are of war, raging bulls, fighting or charging tigers etc. Here the artist shows their strong emotions in form of symbolic representations using these figures. They may also use dark and strong colours to express their emotions in an symbolic artwork. Fear, death, mourning, sadness and anger all can be shown using colours and pictures of different objects and all this depends upon the individual artist.
I have a liking for happy paintings. Symbolic artworks that use different symbols for prosperity, good luck, happiness and growth are my forte. With all the struggles, and happenings in the outside world where is the time to notice negative emotions paintings, let me distribute some happiness and luck through my symbolic paintings. Any painting can be well understood by having a conversation with the artist about their original artworks. One can get a true understanding of why an artist has used certain symbols, colours and in fact the idea behind the artwork.
Having understood this about symbolic paintings I am sure it removes many notions that a symbolic artwork is an painting of God or a religious painting. It has universal appeal and yes God paintings are only one part of symbolic paintings and this art style has wide variations and meanings.