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Art - If You Love It...Buy It!

by Jan Blencowe on 8/20/2009 11:00:29 AM

This post is by guest author, Jan Blencowe.  This article has been edited and published with the author's permission.  You should submit an article and share your views as a guest author by clicking here.  This article originally appeared on Jan's blog and has been re-published with her permission as a good example of how artists might engage their website visitors.

Owning a One of a Kind

Lately, I've been reading a lot about the twin subjects of pricing artwork (a subject for artists) and reasons to buy artwork. Pricing paintings is a task for the artist and for the art gallery.  Understanding why it's worth it to invest in a piece of original art is important for everyone.

If you love it, buy it!

In our utilitarian culture, it's imperative to remember the long term value of owning something that feeds your soul, brings you joy, enhances your quality of life, touches your heart, brings beauty into your environment and uplifts your spirit.

The value in a piece of art is twofold. First, it's about possessing something unique, a one of a kind creation, the very special expression of one human being to another. Because of the singularity of an original painting, my advice is, if you love it, buy it, right then and there. I say this because I know, as an artist, that I may never paint another piece like the one that is calling to your heart. I may or may not paint another with similar subject matter.  There are many elements, some technical and some emotional, that will not be the same, and in fact can't be recreated.   If the painting is beyond your present financial means, don't let it go. Ask the artist or gallery if they can arrange a payment plan for you. I would readily arrange a payment plan for you, and I suspect that many galleries would also do so, especially if it's obvious that you love the painting.  [Editor's note:  obviously, we each do have financial limits, we're not suggesting that you overextend yourself too much.  It's just that stretching just a tad can sometimes ensure that you don't regret the one that got away.]

Understand and value the rarity and uniqueness of an original painting. You will be the exclusive owner of a one of a kind creation. Among all the mass produced products in the world when you purchase an original painting you will own the only one in the world! There are few things that fall into that category.

The second long term benefit is what art will bring to your life. I've heard some people describe a favorite, cherished painting as an old friend, with whom they have a visual conversation. I've heard others say it was amazing how the painting seemed to reflect their mood. When they were feeling introspective and solitary, the painting seemed to embody that emotion; when they were lighthearted and joyful the painting seemed to take on those qualities. Others have found having paintings in their homes gave them a place to focus their gaze during times of stress or illness and they gained peace and comfort. I find the same is true with books, music, poetry even favorite movies. In fact all the arts seem to share the ability to nurture us on a very deep level. Over the course of a lifetime you can gain much from art. Investing in art is investing in your long term inner well being.


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Topics: Art Collecting | Inspiration 

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Lori Woodward Simons
Hi Jan,

Great example of a collector's newsletter!

Recently, I worked out a plan with a couple whose retirement funds took a hit when the stock market blew. They really loved one of my paintings and said if it had been a few years ago, they'd buy it in a second.

Since I do not work with a gallery for my watercolors, I decided to give them a price break and then let them pay in a lay-away type plan. I just received the 4th and last check, and now they are the proud owners of "Fruit and Flowers".

I like that you mentioned that many artists and galleries are willing to work with their clients.

Marian Fortunati
When my husband and I first began looking for art, I would got with him and he'd ask "What is it worth?" I would explain that I just liked this piece of art or that, but he'd always want to know about resale or how you could really determine a "value". At that point I just let it go.

We got some interesting pieces from my brother-in-law in Venice who professed to know about art. (they weren't for me... but... maybe they were "worth something"..)

Then later, after I started painting and learning about artists and traveling around ... dropping into galleries on my own.... and taking workshops I began buy art.... I can't afford much, but pieces that grabbed me or artwork done by artists I admire while I was in a workshop with them.

I'm proud to own some small Scott Burdick, Frank Gardner, Julie Snyder, Michael Maczuga, Linda Blondheim, John Paul Thornton and other artists' paintings. I love wandering over to one or another at different time and admiring the brushwork or the color or the way the light is translated. They are inspiring and uplifting... They teach me and make me happy. I really don't care what they are worth to someone else... They mean a lot to me!

My goal for my own paintings is for them to evoke similar feelings for those who have purchased them. Nothing could be better!

Lori Woodward Simons
My husband and I began collecting by buying paintings locally at outdoor art shows. About 10 years ago, we visited Settler's West Gallery and I spotted a beautiful painting of back lit saguaros on a hillside. Then I moved in for a closer look and feel in love with the painting.

I recognized the signature - Kevin MacPherson! Then I looked at the price (under $2000). How could this be? We inquired and found that it was an older piece from an estate sale. Figuring that we probably couldn't afford any of Kevin's newer paintings, we decided to buy it.

That was the day we got hooked into collecting original art. The important thing to note is that I fell in love with the painting before seeing the signature.

Other artists works we own: Mike Malm, Nancy Guzik, Ralph Oberg, Kyle Stuckey, George Strickland, Rosemary Ladd, John Potter. We're not rich and can only buy one painting a year or so - however. These artworks and those of my less famous friends have brought me much joy.

Jan Blencowe
Hi Lori and Marian,

You both have made excellent choices with your art collections!

Smaller paintings can often win your heart and have a price tag that's a little easier on the checkbook!

I'm beginning to put money away a little at a time like the old "Christmas Club" accounts you used to get at the bank, then when I see a piece that touches me I have the funds earmarked for an art purchase.

Ernie Kleven
I think Jan's comments are so "right on" that I wanted to contact her for permission to print it in my Blog but have been unable to reach her at the email address stated in her Blog. Can you help me?
The timing couldn't be more perfect during this economic downturn and I plan to work the concept into all of my personal marketing. I do art fairs and this should help immensly. Thank you.

Jan Blencowe
Hi Ernie,

So sorry you had a difficult time getting touch with me! I e-mailed you about using the article. Just let me know if you have any thoughts or questions, happy to help!

JT Harding
I had a friend purchase a Jeremy Lipking sketch for me when she was taking his workshop. I also own a Jafang Lu and hope to collect more artists that I know and love.

Lori Woodward Simons
Come to think of it, sometimes when I go into a gallery and I look at paintings like an artist does... you know with my nose in the paint...

the gallery staff ignores me. Big Mistake! A lot of us artists are also avid collectors. I wonder what the percentage of some artist's sales is by other artists.

Jan Blencowe
I completely agree! Artists are often passionate collectors. What could be more natural, an artist collecting art!

I purchased two paintings this year from favorite artists, Laurie Justus Pace and Jamie Williams Grossman. It's such a thrill and very inspiring.

Galleries take note, artists who come in to browse may also be a potential collector!


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