Stage 2: Constructive
Constructive viewers set about building a framework for looking at works of art, using the most logical and accessible tools: their own perceptions, their knowledge of the natural world, and the values of their social, moral and conventional world. If the work does not look the way it is supposed to, if craft, skill, technique, hard work, utility, and function are not evident, or if the subject seems inappropriate, then these viewers judge the work to be weird, lacking, or of no value. Their sense of what is realistic is the standard often applied to determine value. As emotions begin to go underground, these viewers begin to distance themselves from the work of art.
Observations have a concrete, known reference point.
- And they have five fingers, just like us. (Picasso, Girl Before a Mirror)
If the tree is orange instead of brown, or if the subject seems inappropriate (if, for example, themes of motherhood are transposed into themes about sexuality,) the viewer judges the work to be "weird" or lacking in value.
- "The hair on the first person is blond and it is true, but there is no such thing as a purple face." (Picasso, Girl Before a Mirror)
As this viewer strives to map what he sees onto what he knows from his own conventions, values and beliefs, his observations and associations become more linked and detailed. The viewer looks carefully and puzzles. An interest in the artist's intentions develops.
- "The person has chosen, instead of using circles for the background he used lots of diamonds." (Picasso, Girl Before a Mirror)