¶. Art supposes communication with specific means. Therefore, firstly communication and secondly the means! If the artist's message does not arrive to the receiver, or the receiver does not understand it, that art does not exist, no matter how sophisticated its means are.
At its origin, the term 'aesthesis' points the purely sensorial perception of extern qualities of bodies and the impressions produced to us by them. Therefore, we cannot talk about aesthetic in the lack of perception. If someone still does it, he is a liar.
"The painting containing the richest and nobles ideas, no matter how clumsy it is expressed, is a painting better and greater than that having poorer and less noble ideas, no matter how nice they would been expressed." It is not I who said this, but one of the greatest authorities: John Ruskin.
Besides, arts for conveying something need to be understandable. What would be a novel written in an unknown language? That's why a "not-understood" artist is a liar, except if he is mad. Anyway, he is not a realized artist, as long he does not succeed in conveying his message, if he has one. An artist is as good as well he says us something on an artistic way. You do not need to be an expert for understanding him. It is the artist who must be persuading.
A good poem is that you learn willing or not. Voltaire said it. In painting it is the same.
¶. Las Vegas is a town where art leaps from kitsch to the hotels decoration. (The second is probably well paid.) With very small exceptions, there are not art galleries, or exhibitions, probably because the space is very expensive. I do not think that people would not buy paintings at all, but nobody offers them. There are not art dealers. Probably the business with art objects would be rather small in comparison with other products. There are huge quantities of trinkets and keepsakes. Commerce must take account by the visitors' demand. If customers ask for kitsch, the merchants will offer kitsch. If nobody guides people, the common sense will go more and more down. In the past, there were those "mecena" of arts, some sponsors, for using a nowadays term. Of course, they did not do that without reasons. On the contrary, they had great interests. Large and well-decorated houses were necessary for showing how powerful the owners are. Also, they used to organize spectacles for attracting other influential people. Those houses were the places where the great commercial and political acts occurred. But, for having an impressive house, the owner must took account not by his taste, good or bad, but the only the good taste. Finally, his art collection and generally everything he used to do became a standard for the good taste.
What do we do now? Most customers are common people, without much education. Their demands became the standard. In the lack of a guided action, any trend is negative. This is a non-disputable mathematics law. Consequently, we go down!
It would be sad to limit arts only at its decorative role, something that put a hatband, a small flounce to a dress or a building. It is the art that educates us. People are educated not as much thanks to Shakespeare's poems, or Einstein's formulas, but thanks to art, and not only by any kind of art, but art which people are able to perceive. Therefore, art must communicate.
¶. How could one know whether he is gifted for painting or not? If you are reading these lines because you are looking forward art, you surely are gifted. This is not the only condition, of course. Most gifted people did not find my web page. It is true that you are here by change, but just this proves your interest for arts and, according to my theory, one's gift is proportional with his interest.
If someone is permanently drawn to something, then he is gifted in that field. Maybe he is not enough educated or does not have the necessary know-how. Possibly, but he can obtain them by work. Do not mix up skill with gift.
¶. How to judge a painting? If you are educated even a little, your good taste is enough. Can you recognise from a glance a Van Gogh or Rembrandt's painting? Can you distinguish among the most known styles like impressionism, cubism, neo-realism, etc.? If the answer is yes, be master of your opinion. Somebody else is free to have another one, but nobody is entitled to impose his opinion, except the snobs.
¶. Few American houses are decorated with original paintings. Those that are, exhibit some of poor quality. As a consequence, distributors are interested only in large orders made by offices, to decorating large rooms. They want impressive frames and non-valuable paintings. Sometimes, instead of a painting, there is a poster. Many paintings are only copies of the great masters, especially Monet. Other subjects are commercially, serially manufactured (often by Chinese, Korean, or Vietnamese people), and can be purchased for about 20 dollars. Instead, frames could be of 100, even 200 dollars. Real art galleries are extremely few. There are many towns without any gallery at all. This is natural; what would be the use of a gallery without buyers? Often, owners of art galleries, even art critics, are the spokesmen of a group of local fine artists, and then they represent those artists' interests.
¶. Only the most pretentious rich persons buy real paintings. But they, because of a lack of confidence in their own appreciative criteria, appeal to art-critics. Art critics? These are people unable to speak more than the content of Desdemona's handkerchief. (Sorry, this remark is not my own, but I could not help repeating it.) Not particularly on the American ones! They are the same everywhere. In short, they are recruited from failed artists, from those who had wanted to become artists but, due to the scarcity of their gift, did not succeed. Instead, in their bitterness, they hate anything around, real painters especially. Honestly, they are not worth the smallest attention. It is not a surprise when an art critic recommends a bad painter and his works. Common taste usually brings better results.