I've been asked loads of times about the art fairs I do, by folks who haven’t ever been to one before. I’m so sad that some people don’t come because they’re worried they might look like a numpty and get something wrong. So I thought I'd jot down my top 10 tips for anyone considering buying art at art fair this year - there is no need to be nervous and you're going to have a great day out with my easy guide.
There is buzz as I arrive at an art fair. Friendly, full of anticipation and the joy of seeing plenty people after a few months of flying solo in the studio creating new work. Many artists on the circuit know each other and have done for years. Whilst unloading our cars and vans laden heavily with canvases, sculptures and passpartout, there are hugs and kisses abound as everyone says hello and makes their way to their stand - Their home for the next few days.
Unless you're already an experienced art collector, the thought of buying an original piece of art might feel daunting, but with these tips you’ll have the confidence to choose art for your home, that suits your style and budget.
Do you wish you knew how to navigate your way into the art world?
I've got Seven reasons why you should to come to an art fair.
How to make new year resolutions you can really stick to.
A friend of mine has just posted on Facebook that they "have their accountant's hat on" doing their books for the year and she feels like her head is about to explode!
Doing the books is probably my least favourite job each month, but at least it means that my accounts are up to date and my tax return will be sent jolly soon, rather than waiting 'til the last minute!
It's true. I'd rather be painting.
I think sometimes, when I proudly tell people I'm an artist, they have grand romantic schemes that artists sit around in cafes, drinking wine, and discussing philosophy, politics and art all day. Then suddenly the muse will strike and they will head back to the leaky garrett and create the next masterpiece ready for the salon to judge in the next season! Perhaps the modern English reality isn't that artists are sitting about in those cafes all day, but I'm still fairly convinced that lots of my friends think my life consists of getting up late, faffing about all day, taking the dog for a walk in the evening, seeing a beautiful sunset and heading back to the studio and magically painting it.
The reality simply isn't the same. And I'm not complaining one bit. My artistic life is wonderful and I thoroughly enjoy it but it's definitely hard work. There is a big difference between sauntering along a country lane considering the beauty of the sky whilst the dog sniffs around in the hedge, Compared to lugging your easel and painting equipment about, then setting up for a day of en plein air painting.
Concentration is required to really analyse the landscape around you. Sketch after sketch, considering light, colour and composition. The sketches produced on those en plein air days will help you in the studio the next day, the next week or even next year.
Most recently I've completed a commission for a couple of beautiful white park cattle (I'll blog about that in more detail next week). The starting point for the commission was visiting the farm to see the cows in all their glory and getting some reference photos and sketches.
I don't mind admitting that I came home covered in mud....only it wasn't just mud.
I'll leave that there I think.
A couple of weeks ago I was blogging about art fairs. Whilst they have, thus far, been very successful for me this year, they are hard graft. Loading, unloading, standing up for three days selling your wares, doesn't fit into the romantic/starving artist myth.
But hey, a girl's gotta eat and if I paint it, I have to sell it too.
The business of running a business is interesting, varied and exciting.
It definitely doesn't involve swanning about in a Parisienne cafe...more's the pity!
In fact, I'm just about to log in to a webinar about effective online marketing...it'll probably tell me to write to blog!
A couple of weeks ago I wrote a blog about the art fairs coming up this spring. Well here I am at the first of this year's.
Yesterday things were all a buzz as artists from across the country arrived at Farleigh Road farm shop where this year's Bath Art fair is being held.
Seasoned regulars and brand new emerging artists alike unloaded their cars and vans and started to set up their stand yesterday.
It's always really exciting to see how other artists present their work. And as a visitor be amazed at the striking variety of art on offer here this weekend.
Last night's private view. Sometimes artists feel a Private view is just an excuse for people to wonder about chatting and drinking wine! I rather enjoy a private view; visitors were really engaged with the art. I had so many lovely conversations with people. One visitor to my stand "this is tremendously exciting, I've never been to a private view before".There was a really lovely friendly atmosphere here yesterday evening and I am really looking forward to the whole weekend.
If you have never dared to venture into an art fair then this weekend is your chance. Bath Art Fair is situated in Farleigh Road just off the A36 between Frame and Bath. It's easy to find, as there are plenty of signs including AA signs. Put BA2 7NG in your Sat nav. When you get here there is free parking -which explains why the fair is not being held right in the centre of Bath! You get to browse around our marquee and see over 50 of Britain's leading artists showcasing their work. There is no obligation to buy, you get to chat to the artists and find out their inspiration for their work. You'll be tempted I'm sure. There's even a charity stand for Dorothy house where artists have donated small pieces and previously loved works from their collection to charity. You could pick up a quality piece for a real bargain!
You can stay for as long as you want, stop and have a nice cuppa and slice of homemade cake in the cafe.
The wonderful thing about an art fair of this kind is that there is no need to feel intimidated. The artwork ranges in price and most artists have some more affordable pieces, or limited edition prints that present real value for money. Equally if you are looking for that perfect piece to set off your favourite room in your house there are some larger, beautifully finished pieces ready for you to take home. There really is something for everyone.
So I really hope to see you at some point this weekend.
Opening times are:
Friday 7th April 11am to 7pm
Saturday 8th April 10am to 6pm
Sunday 9th April 10am to 5pm
Why my packing will ensure your painting will arrive safe and sound when you order from me.
When I travel to exhibitions and art fairs, like many artists I use Stiffy bags. These are bagsmade from reinforced bubble wrap, they are reusable time and time again and they enable artists to quickly and safely move their paintings. I love them and use them all the time!
However when I'm packing my paintings to be transported by post I have to be significantly more careful. Postage and shipping can be a problem, but not for me!
Most of my paintings are oil on linen canvas. They are quite light. However they can be fragile the most common problem with transporting an oil painting will be a dent.
How many times have you ordered something on the Internet to find a significant dent in the side of the box? If there is a big book inside there is no problem but if there is a painting could be ruined. So here are the layers that go into making sure your painting will arrive without a dent or scratch regardless of how beaten up the box might look on the outside!
The very first layer in my painting-package-sandwich is a layer of archival tissue paper this ensures that the painting surface arrives in perfect condition. Archival tissue paper is acid free and feels soft to the touch.
The next layer is simply a layer of package film to keep the tissue paper in place.
The next layer is a layer of cardboard on either side of the canvas; this is essential to keep the canvas free from dents during transit. The inside layer of cardboard is cut to fit inside the frame keeping the campus really safe and secure.
Then I wrap the entire painting in a few layers of bubblewrap. I have a huge role on hand in my studio and I'm very generous with the bubblewrap! After a couple of layers I then cut another two pieces of cardboard. Remembering that the painting has now grown a little! Then I wrap another few layers of bubblewrap around the painting/ Remember the painting is now completely cosy with four layers of cardboard and about eight layers of bubblewrap.
Then I put my fully wrapped painting into a cardboard box. Sometimes I will have a box that fits as I will recycle the boxes that my canvases arrived. So in this instance a 60 cm canvas now fits perfectly in an 80 cm box. Finally I will tape up the box firmly with parcel tape and “fragile” tape
If I haven't got an appropriate sized box I can make one. I use a sturdy type of cardboard and plenty of gaffer tape and parcel tape will keep it in position.
Over the years I have used a variety of different carriers, it really depends on where you live! Thus far my packaging sandwich has worked extremely well as I have never had a customer faced with the horror of received in damaged painting.
So if you've been thinking about buying a painting from me online, but you're worried about how it will ever get to you; don't panic the packaging will make sure your painting arrives safe and sound.
If you sign up for my newsletter you'll get FREE POSTAGE AND PACKING on any order placed on 24-26th March.
Beautiful limited edition prints, ready mounted.
I often sell limited edition prints directly from my website. Sometimes people have already seen the original painting at an exhibition in Salisbury or at one of the art fairs I attend, and have decided to have a print of it. Other times they have simply seen my website and can't resist buying a print. It is a lot less scary to buy a print from a website than buying original art as the prints are significantly cheaper than originals, and they are also usually smaller!
My prints are sold with the mounts and backing board included. This means that the print is shipped to you flat. It also means the print is nicely protected. And in addition is much cheaper for you to frame it. I tend to get my prints made to fit standard size mounts, which also makes things a little cheaper for my customers.
I begin by making sure my work surface is completely clean. This might sound obvious but as an oil painter there are often wet paintings in the studio, so by far the simplest way of making sure I have a clean surface is to get some clean white mounting board as my surface to work on that way I can ensure that aren't any stray splatters of wet paint that would ruin the print. I also make sure I have all the things I need to hand, masking tape, craft knife scissors and glue.
My mounts, backing boards and cellphone wraps are prepared by my framers.
My prints are printed onto beautiful museum quality watercolour paper, and arrive from the printers wrapped in archival paper. I remove the print from the paper, sign it, number it and then it is ready to be mounted. I turn the print over and attach it to the inside window mount with masking tape. Masking tape is used because it is strong enough to hold the print in place but it is also easy to remove with out ruining the print itself. Next I apply a dab of glue to each corner of the inside of the window mount. This is to keep the backing board firmly in place. The glue does not touch the back of the print at any point to ensure that you are able to remount it at a later date if you want to without damaging the print itself. The backing board however does keep the print in good condition and can be used again if you buy a frame that fits the mount.
When I post my prints they are also placed in a sandwich of bubble wrap and between two sheets of thicker cardboard before being wrapped in brown paper and sent to my customer. To bigger the print the thicker the sandwich has to be!
I am looking into getting larger prints created of my work which would come with a white border but without a mount. And would be shipped in a cardboard tube. I would be very interested to hear your thoughts on this.. Would you prefer an un-mounted print posted to you rolled up? Or do you prefer the ones that are already in a mount for you? I'd be interested to know.
Thus far this method has work as all of my customers have always been happy with them arriving in perfect condition.
Last night I was sitting in a pub discussing art!
Loving art, making art. Buying art, selling art.
The five women I was discussing art with are all local artists and we will be exhibiting, selling and making merry at Salisbury Christmas market starting on Thursday (24th of November - 4th of December).
We were discussing our prices, how many cards to take, what size prints, where to place a print racks and how many originals we might be able to squeeze into our beautiful Christmas chalets. One of the artists, Sally Firino, told us about the "Just a card" campaign and it really struck me how important this is this Christmas.
Just a card began with a simple quote.
“If everyone who’d complimented our beautiful gallery had bought just a card we’d still be open.”
The buying public said they were often embarrassed to make a small purchase as they felt it appeared mean. People always need cards, but any item lovingly created is surely worthy of a purse raid...
Whilst you are doing your Christmas shopping, don't feel embarrassed if all you buy from us is Just a card - you'd be amazed at how that helps.
For an independent, sole trader simply setting up a small market stall is a huge undertaking. It's not just about getting enough stock printed and wrapped but it's about all of the things you have to do to make that stand beautiful, the checklist is endless: fairy lights PAT tested, tool box, exhibition box, card payments, shelves, boxes, cases, tables. Fireproofing your tablecloths! Seriously. There are any number of things, other than the items themselves that we will need to bring. This perhaps explains why some things that you buy from a local artisans might be a little bit more expensive than if you buy it in Tesco's, but I urge you, with all my heart, resist the temptation of buying a print from a big department store this year and buy one from a local artist and if you can't buy a print actually just a card is still appreciated.
I have done several art fairs, agricultural shows, and craft fairs this year and happily it's been a good year. But at every single event, without fail, I will hear other artists waxing lyrical about "if every single person who said they loved my work had bought something this would've been an amazing fair".
I also keep on hearing about people lamenting the loss of independent shops and restaurants, sad that the High Street that they walk down looks exactly the same as the High Street at the other end of the country because everything is owned by huge multinational companies. And how many of us have been very upset to discover that some of these huge companies don't appear to be paying the tax that they perhaps should be?
So this year my challenge to you is to go and buy something from an independent maker. If you're in Salisbury I'd love to see you at Salisbury Christmas market where I can absolutely guarantee there will be some amazing Christmas gifts for you to be able to buy for your close friends and family. But across the country there will be small independent businesses who will be delighted if you pop in and buy from them - even if its only a small purchase. We absolutely need the support of the people around us. There may be a tightening the belts happening this year for a variety of reasons, but whatever your Christmas budget try to make sure a small portion of it is spent in an independent shop, or with an independent artist, or with a local farmer. You might not be able to measure the difference that you make but if every single one of us started with "just a card", some independent businesses will be able to keep going into 2017.
Remember too, if you pick up somebody's business card or postcard please stick it on the fridge for future reference as we would love to hear from you at a later date. I had an email from a lovely couple four months after they first saw a big painting of mine at one of the agricultural shows that I did this summer. They contacted me months later with an email asking if the painting they loved was still available. I was delighted to package that painting up and send it to them. I'm so pleased they kept my postcard so that they could contact me later on.
So start with just a card. And if you really really love the work and you're able to buy more than just a card then all the better.
You'll be making Christmas amazing...for quite a few of us!
It's been a busy start to the Summer season in my art studio.
After such a roaring success at Reading Contemporary art fair back in April I've been busy creating new works for the Summer round of fairs and exhibitions.
There are plenty of ways to see and buy my work this Summer.
Firstly there's the fabulous Open exhibition currently at Salisbury library, mounted by Plain Arts Salisbury. I have two locally inspired landscapes in there of Stonehenge and the Cathedral. It's such a varied exhibition, that's there's something for everyone.
The marvellous thing about open exhibitions are how eclectic they are, they are great places to visit with friends and family as you debate the merits of a variety of work. Our Open exhibition isn't a competition, so it's not about agreeing or disagreeing with judges decisions, but with such a variety it's always interesting to discover why something ends up being your favourite.
This Summer also sees a departure for me, in terms of the types of shows.
The New Forest Show 26-28 July will be my first horticultural fair. I've been every year for as long as I can remember, but I've not been an exhibitor. There are always a some really super stands at the NFS, and a huge variety in the Craft marquees. This year, I'm in Craft Marquee A, on stand number 3. Preparations have been full speed ahead, as Dad helped construct my stand structure and Mum is busy making rustic bunting! It's going a to a lovely stand. I’m going to be exhibiting my popular Countryside companions collection. There'll be some super eye catching large works, on natural linen, beautifully framed. Also they'll be some limited edition prints, cute cushions and some small canvases too. Do come along and see me if you're at the show. The Craft marquees are on the West hand side of the show ground, by the Village green.
Throughout August I will be exhibiting some of my landscapes in Boston Tea Party in Salisbury. A great chance to see locally inspired landscapes and seascapes, and have a refreshing cuppa while you’re there.
Hot on the heels of the New Forest show and Boston Tea party is BBC Countryfile Live at Blenheim palace 4-7th August. The inaugural event promises to be nothing short of spectacular.
I will be in the Craft heroes marquee this time. Hero? Why yes, I’m going to be demonstrating oil painting techniques. I’ll be creating more countryside companions and beautiful landscapes during the four day show to add to my collection. All works will be for sale, though you might have to wait a bit while they dry! I have a couple of complimentary tickets left, so please email me if you’d like them. First come first served.
In August I’ll be heading up some more fantastic workshops at Salisbury Museum. On 16th August is Salisbury museum’s discovery day, where you can come and explore the Cathedral collections and join some arty workshops while you are there. For all ages. I’m also doing some workshops at Salisbury Cathedral, which are sold out, however there are some more coming up in the Autumn, and I’m taking bookings for Tuesday 1st November
So plenty to keep you going through the Summer, and if you make it to any of the events listed, please pop by to say Hello, I’d love to see you there.
Do you wish you knew how to navigate your way into the art world?
There are plenty of articles, blogs and books for artists, on how to approach galleries to sell their work. There are almost as many books on how to sell without gallery representation.
But there doesn’t seem to be much advice for first time collectors to buy art!
So here are some ideas you might want to try.
Have a good look at your home. Where do you want to put your artwork? Have you got a minimum or maximum size? Have you got pallette in mind?
Have a look in your locality.
Go to a small gallery,often they are coffee shops too, so have a nice cuppa and slice of cake and start working out what sort of things you like, and how much they cost. You are allowed to browse.
In August I'll be exhibiting in Boston tea Party in Salisbury. In fact they have a different artist there every month.
Go to an art fair. Small or large you’ll find something that will at least help you hone your eye and make up your mind what you like.
Some art fairs are for galleries to show the work of artists they represent, others deal directly with the artist. Either way, its good to go and have a look. Collect plenty of flyers and cards so the you can look them up later.
Keep your eyes open in hospitals, hotels, restaurants - many artists are showcasing their work now in public places. They might not be for sale, but you’ll get a name to look up later.
There are some surprising places to find great art works. This Summer I'll be at the New forest show with my Countryside companions collection and I'll be a BBC Countryfile live at Blenheim palace demonstrating oil painting techniques. There will be other artists and crafters there too. It's a great opportunity to find out more about art, as there are so many other things going on too, noone will expect you to be an expert on art. Simply rock up and enjoy yourself!
Most professional artists have their own websites, but you might not be able to find them based on a google search. Once you have a name go directly to the site.
Some artists have an online store don’t be put off if they don't. You might be able to arrange a time to visit their studio.
If you make an appointment to see an artist in their studio, keep that appointment - they will have set aside time for you. Do not worry about buying straight away. Often artists anticipate visitors to their studio, might end up commissioning work rather than buying what is already there. Often couples visit together, then they want to go away and think about it, then come back another day.
If you have seen their website, or work elsewhere, and you like it; tell the artist you’d like to see something similar. If an artist is setting up for an exhibition, they may have far too much work to display in their studio, give them a chance to show you what you wanted to see.
If you feel unable to approach an artist to arrange your own appointment, then email them asking if they are doing any open studio events in the future. They’ll get back to you with date you can visit.
Try to have some alone time! I always try to leave any clients alone for a bit (I offer them a cup of tea and go off to make it) that way they can have a moment to get to grips with the work without pressure. Many artists do the same.
Ask them about their work.
Ask them about the medium they are working in.
Tell them where you’re thinking about putting the work - they might have a great idea for you. Discuss what you might want, even if you're still unsure. The artist will want to help you.
If you want to buy; go for it! Start with the work you like, if that’s too expensive ask if they have anything in your budget. Many savvy artists take the time to ensure they have a variety of works at different prices for this very reason.
It’s honestly a really lovely experience visiting an artist's studio. I love welcoming people to mine and showing them my work and how I create it.
You’d be welcome...
After reading that title; if you've tuned in to read a blog about the EU referendum, you're in the wrong place, this is all about art!
Whenever I’m asked "So what kind of art is it that you do" I always say “Beautiful oil paintings inspired by nature”. That has been my
The countryside and coast have been my inspiration from the start.
Most recently my animals have been a real hit; newly exhibited this year.
I have just returned from Reading Art fair and the first three original paintings to fly off the walls were all animals, the first three prints were animals too. Just as I began to think that a pattern was emerging, the next three where landscapes and seascapes so who knows?
The simple idea that nature is beautiful and artists want to capture it is as old as art itself. The cave paintings at Lascaux in France demonstrate art's purpose was not only showing the importance of the hunt and recording an event, but also the animals that were stalked or chased during the hunt. I remember very clearly the first time I opened Gombrich’s “The story of art” to see Albrecht Durer’s portrait of a hare and thinking how can it be possible that someone can create something so lifelike simply with a pencil? My hare is a different take on that beautiful and very popular animal. This hare was the second painting to sell at Reading at the weekend and I love him, I will be painting another hare but it will be different to this one: a different size, different canvas, a different background, a different expression but it will still be a much loved beautiful hare.
Various people looking closely at my work commented on how I had captured the essence of the animal with out being too realistic. I was delighted to hear this as that was the plan!
One of the big challenges for a painter (landscape, animal, anything really), is to work out what to keep in and what to leave out. What we leave out is just as important as what we put in. Most people tend to notice my vibrant use of colour in my animal paintings. A Stag does not have blue and turquoise in it, a hair doesn't have a blue nose or purple ears. I think I'm a natural colourist, I like adding colour. I'm a painter! I have to bring something to the party that is different to a photographer.
Interestingly I think my use of colour in animals has stemmed from so many years of landscape and seascape painting. Trying to capture that particular pink cloud in the sky can be a real challenge and it's led me to be able to use colour in really exciting ways even when I'm painting something that is essentially a series of browns and greys. I can add bright colours that really bring the animal to life.
I believe that artists can give the viewer a clearer sense of what they might be looking at in nature. The very selection of colour life and personality in each of my works is communicating something different to the viewer other than what I saw in the first place. It is the fine line between recording the event or the place or the person or the animal and bringing a story to any of those elements so that the painter provides the viewer with something more.
With each of my landscapes and seascapes I have always considered them to be your personal window on the world, the view that we wish we had from our kitchen, we have a painting to reminder us of that beautiful place we once visited. However with my animal paintings I think I'm bringing a different kind of joy to your living room.
Something I noticed this weekend at Reading, when people visited my stand was how many people put on a funny voice when looking at one of my animal paintings. Anyone my age will remember Johnny Morris and Animal magic and perhaps it’s inherent in us to put on silly voices when we think of animals; that level of anthropomorphism is very strong in the British psyche. I have heard so many young people making moo noises at my cow and squealing with delight when I saw a happy muddy piggy.
So what does all this tell us?
It tells me very clearly that I'm part of a long tradition of artists who have always been inspired by nature and inspired by what they see around them.
All of my landscapes (with perhaps the exception of the old picture of Venice or Paris) are of places I live near. All of my animals are also animals that I can see in Wiltshire, Dorset or the New Forest.
I like being part of the tradition. I like celebrating the British countryside and coast and the variety of creatures that live on our shores.
My first visit to Reading art fair was last year and what a great fair it is. I sold well, met some great people and spent the whole weekend talking about art. It was great and I'd recommend it to anyone
Let me fill you in on what you can expect.
The Fair begins on Friday 22nd April for the Private view evening, and continues through the weekend 23rd and 24th April.
I have some Private view tickets available for you, and I have 2 for 1 tickets for the rest of the weekend, simply email me, if you'd like to come.
Last week I blogged about how the French have art in their homes and the Brits do not!
So this week’s blog is going to rectify the situation and give you confidence enough to go and buy some great art.
Remember, always look online for artists in your area first, then visit their studio. It's a great way to find out what you like without pressure. If you can't find an artist you like, in your area, the next plan is to visit a small gallery (nothing too intimidating) or go to an art fair. Again, you'll find something online, have a good look round the website first before you go. It will really help.
Once you've gone to the studio/artfair or gallery- here's my top ten rules to help you select art. You should really enjoy the process of buying yourself some gorgeous new art.
The absolute rule number one is - Only by art if you love it! You might have to compromise with your husband/wife or you might have to think a bit carefully about how much you love it but broadly speaking if you love the art you can't go far wrong.
Rule number two- Think about where it's going to go. You might have a plan when you walk into a gallery or an art fair that you're looking for a piece of work for the lounge. This is quite a good strategy if you're not sure what you're doing. As you can start to visualise where the work of art might go. However if you love something, even if it won't go in the room you planned, that’s still the best reason to buy.
Rule number three - Size matters! Broadly speaking it doesn't really matter if you have a large piece or a series of small pieces to start your collection. But if you have, for instance, wall lights in your home you might find that large artwork doesn't fit in the room in quite the same way you had planned. Having a maximum size is a good idea. If you don't want to pay for shipping or delivery having a clear idea of the largest painting that will fit in your car is a good plan too! Very often artists will be able to arrange shipping for you if you are buying a very large piece that simply won't fit in the car.
Rule number four - Colour. I think this can be an automatic. You might decide that a series of blues and yellows will fit in well in your home, but if you fall in love with the landscape with a load of red poppies in the foreground it will still work. Besides, your natural liking for a colour palette will come through anyway- you're going to be back with rule number one quite frankly!
Rule number five - Have a budget and stick to it. Again it really doesn't matter how much money you spend provided you spend what you can afford. People seem to think the art world is about tens of thousands of pounds or even millions of pounds. At most of the art fairs I attend, the starting price for an original work of art is £45! That will be quite a small painting, but it's original and it's unique and it's a great place to start. Broadly speaking at a lot of the art fairs I go to you could get a medium-sized work of art (less than 1 m²) for around £400 depending on the medium. Obviously some artists are more. But the point is you can walk away with stunning work for only few hundred pounds if you want to. That's really impressive actually.
Think about it; you might have spent over £10,000 redecorating your kitchen why finish it off with a cheap little print for 20 quid from B&Q when you can have original artwork for just a couple of hundred quid.
Rule number six- Try not to worry about investment. You might get lucky, you might find a new emerging artist, buy their work for only a couple of hundred pounds, and then in two years time discover that their work is going for 10 times the price! It really might happen. Lots of successful artists at very least find their prices going up after only a few years into their career. However when you're buying work for less than £1000 try not to worry about what it will be worth in a few years time. Just make sure that you're going to love it in your own home that will be enough.
Rule number seven - Quality. Quality is really key for you to carry on enjoying your art. Feel free to ask the artist anything about the quality of the materials they use. Find out about pigments, ask them about colourfastness. Okay so you might be able to hang a £300 work of art in 500 years time but you certainly don't want the colour to fade in less than 10 years.
Room number eight - Negotiate! Some artists will not negotiate at all. Some High Street galleries will not negotiate at all. Don't be offended if people say “The price is the price please don't ask for a discount”. However if you buy more than one work of art you may well find that artists have a little bit of wriggle room and might give you say a 10% discount because you're buying more than one piece. The worst they can do is say no, if they do say no please don't be offended smile sweetly and say “It was worth a try”!
Rule number nine - Look after your art! Recently I sold a very large piece to a couple and they said “Is it true I can’t hang this over a radiator?”
Well here's the deal; in my kitchen I have a very large oil painting of Stonehenge and it hangs directly over radiator, it's opposite the oven, it gets steam and heat and cold and sunshine on it the whole time. Six years of being in the spot and it still looks like new! However if I had a work of art that I've spent a lot of money on, or if I had an old work of art that might be a little more fragile I would not dream of putting it over a radiator- as a rule of thumb you have to be careful with extremes of heat. But broadly speaking new art, on sturdy canvas frames, painted in oil or acrylic, can take quite a beating in terms of conditions! I even have an oil painting in my bathroom! However watercolours are significantly more fragile and definitely not be placed in a steamy room. Also be very careful about direct sunlight. Okay in our climate we’re not exactly living in Greece, the sun really isn't so strong and it doesn't shine for that much of the year , but sun will fade out paint incredibly rapidly if given the chance. Just think about the fading on your curtains or fabrics in a sunny room - that’s what might happen to your painting so do be careful. If in any doubt at all ask the artist. And if you move the artwork to a new room, still feel free to email your artist years after you've bought it they will be happy to help - honestly we really will.
Room number ten- Don’t be scared of being a numpty! I think the single biggest reason people don't buy art directly from artist is that they are frightened of looking like an idiot! You are not an idiot! It's your money and it is your house and it's up to you how you decorate it. Tell the artist what you're looking for maybe even tell them what work of theirs you like and what else you might like to have. Artists will be helpful to you at art fairs. I've even recommended other artists to potential clients because I knew exactly what they wanted from their description and I knew where they needed to go to find it. Gallery owners will do the same, they will try to match you up with the kind of art that you want, that's part of what you're paying for, don't be bullied and don't worry- it's your money and your house, buy what you love!
My next art fair is Reading art fair 22-24 April. There are over 100 artists there, there is a huge range at very reasonable prices. Message me if you’d like Private view tickets or 2 for 1 tickets over the weekend. www.readingcontemporaryartfair.co.uk
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