My friend Michael Kennedy has painted a really gorgeous painting; it's an abstract piece, very colorful - I'm attracted to the shapes and colors in it, and can actually SEE something there! I'm not wild about abstract art - I personally prefer paintings that are "of something" and tell a story, but that's just me! Considering the prices that some abstract art brings, it's obvious that some people really value and love it! I think I'm warming up to it though!
When I first started painting, it was very important to me that my work was very tight and photo-realistic. I stressed over it, actually! My attitude, as well as my art, has relaxed somewhat; now I want my paintings to BE "painterly", and figure if you want photo-realism, you might as well just take a photo and be done with it. It's more fun to concentrate on telling the story or creating the image I have in my head than it is to concentrate on getting it exactly perfect! After all, it's a PAINTING! It's a rendering, sometimes from life and sometimes from a photo, for me, anyway. I enjoy both.
On the other extreme, there are people like my son, who feel that the best paintings ARE photo-realistic, very tight and life-like. I was awed by some paintings like that at the deYoung Museum, upstairs. Some of the images are so life-like, it looks like you could pluck an item off the canvas! Certainly, there is much skill in that as well! As a member of the Oil Painters of America, I enter some of their shows (so far none accepted), and now have entered the online competition for associated members like me. I go there and look at the entries - quite a few of them are photo-realism, and very beautiful. Some of those works are so stunningly awesome, I wonder how I could ever even come close....
Still, painting is the thing I love to do, and will for all my life continue to do! I do it for the fun of it, after all! I sell once in a while, and that makes my heart soar, because I know my art is being treasured and enjoyed. That's part of what makes it fun!