Stage 1: Accountive
Accountive viewers are storytellers. Using their senses, memories, and personal associations, they make concrete observations about a work of art that are woven into a narrative. Here, judgments are based on what is known and what is liked. Emotions color viewers' comments, as they seem to enter the work of art and become part of its unfolding narrative.
- "Lines, ovals, squares?" (Picasso, Girl Before a Mirror)
At times, the viewer makes observations and associations, which appear idiosyncratic and imaginative
- "[A] giraffe's back…a dog's face." (Picasso, Girl Before a Mirror)
Likewise, the viewer may incorporate people and objects into an idiosyncratic narrative.
- "I see two ladies, holding each other." (Picasso, Girl Before a Mirror)
- "It seems to me he's going home now and he can't find his clothes." (Cezanne, Bather)
Judgments are based on what the viewer knows and likes.
- "The wallpaper is beautiful." (Picasso, Girl Before a Mirror)
Emotions color the comments, as the viewer animates the image with words and becomes part of an unfolding drama.
- "Like he's hurt [his arms] when he was swimming or like he was mad or something the way he was holding his arms." (Cezanne, The Bather)
The viewer (the "storyteller") and the image ("the story") are one. The viewer engages in an imaginatively resourceful, autonomous, and aesthetic response.