Sat 9th Sun 10th April Westpoint Exeter
Sat 10am–4.30pm Sun 10am–4pm

“I’ll Know It When I See It” Finding Art For Your Home

This phrase is well known to gallery owners and is often said by customers who have been searching in vain, and sometimes for years, for a piece of art for their homes.

While “Eureka!” moments do of course also occur, when customers find the art that they have always wanted, you can with a little thought and advice dramatically increase your chances of this happening for you, significantly reduce the time and effort to do so, and more importantly be confident that you have made the right choice. After all, you could be paying hundreds of pounds for a piece of art and will be looking and living with it every day, so it’s crucial to get this right.

To begin your search, say for a painting, you must first appreciate the shere numbers involved. There are thousands of artists, all with unique styles, producing multiple pieces of art in different sizes each year in hundreds of different physical and online places. Galleries can only display a small fraction of this work at any time and photographs online can at best only be indicative of the true likeness, so you really must see the art before purchase to decide whether this is the one for you. Your chances then of finding your painting this way are extremely low as you visit numerous galleries and spend hours online, relying solely on random chance and blind luck. This is likely to be a very frustrating process!

You can however make your search much more enjoyable and easier if you can consider beforehand the major factors involved in any purchase of art – budget, size, subject, colour and style – and decide on your broad requirements first, as these will help determine possible artists and at least allow you to begin looking in the right place and in the right way.

A visit to a large local gallery will help you considerably with this as they should be able to give you appropriate advice, show you a wide range of paintings from a large variety of artists, and not just those on display, and guide you to narrow down your requirements to a broad set of criteria that are both realistic and achievable.

Some brief points to consider are;

Your budget is the key factor in determining the art you can buy due to the wide range of prices; it’s exclusivity eg. Original work will typically cost more than limited editions; and the reputation of the artist concerned as nationally recognised artists can often cost more than local artists. There also finance and payment plan options available with many reputable galleries that enable you to spread the cost of your purchase over time rather than making an upfront lump sum payment and these could also have a bearing on your available budget.

Artists tend to produce their work in certain sizes so the space you have available will influence the choice available to you. This will determine the overall framed size of a painting and whether it needs to be orientated in landscape of portrait format. You should always allow for a clear border of wall around your painting, say 15 cm, to help highlight the painting in your room. It is also possible to commission an artist to paint to a size to fit the space available at similar costs to work already produced but you will need to be sure of what you want before going down this route.

The specific subject will be difficult to decide initially but a look at the broad categories of paintings available should help you determine what you are most likely to be happy to have in your home. This is particular important for joint decisions between partners as your tastes and preferences may differ!

The colour, or more likely palette of colours, of a painting is often something that is already a known requirement particularly if it is for an existing room. In this case, the painting will need to complement the main room colours. You should note that some galleries will offer a try before you buy service which will enable you to hang your picture in your room to make sure it’s completely right before final purchase.

If you are building a new home or redecorating rooms then painting your walls in a neutral or white colour first is highly recommended. You can then live in the room and see how your furniture and art fits before choosing to add any further colour onto a wall or walls. It is after all likely to be cheaper to repaint a wall than to replace a painting.

As you consider the points above you will begin to narrow down your requirements and as a consequence also begin to select the style of painting you prefer which in turn will begin to identify some artists of more interest to you. A discussion and visit with your local gallery about these artists will then enable you to see whether their work, and similar work they may have produced before, is most appropriate for you.

While art is a very subjective experience, the way in which you go about finding your ideal piece need not be so and does not need to rely on blind chance. Some early thinking about your possible requirements, together with the assistance and advice of your local gallery, will make your search far more pleasurable and successful. While you might not find what you want immediately you will be looking in the right way and are now far more likely to know it when you see it!

This blog was provided by Roger from Staniart