Last week, whilst listening to Six Music in my studio, painting away without a care in the world, I heard the most interesting statistic I've ever heard about art.
Only 0.5% of British homes have original art hung on the walls. Half a percent. Seriously?
[I'm guessing this doesn't include the kids pictures on the fridge].
I was shocked. But this was only half the quote.
78% of French homes have original art adorning their walls.
It didn't surprise me to know that more French homes have original art in them than British homes. But those numbers- 0.5% versus 78%: that really did surprise me.
Why is this?
The French are known for their style and their élan. If there is a choice the French will more likely choose elegance over efficiency.
But are our French counterparts so steeped in culture that they feel original art, over a cheap mass produced print is in their DNA?
Let's think about this for a bit - The French have the Louvre, the Musee d'orsay, L'orangrie and that's only Paris...
But we have the National, the Royal Acdemy, Tates Britain and Modern, and that's just London.
The French have some of the worlds most famous artists to their flag; Monet, Seurat, Rodin. I know there are countless more, but the British have some heavyweights too; Constable, Turner, Henry Moore...
We are right up there with our artistic culture! And have been for centuries!
So, we're happy to pootle about famous galleries, look at the most famous, beautiful, valuable and important works of art the world has ever known, BUT we can't summon up the courage and the cash to buy original work.
Well worry no more.
You really can have stunning, original, professional art work in your home.
You won't be ripped off.
You won't be made to feel like a fool.
You won't be bullied into having something you don't like.
Next week I'm going to give you my top tips for how to buy art if you've never done it before. But in the meantime, here's something to get you started.
In order to buy well, you must buy something you love.
So you need to work out what your style and taste really is.
So get out more!
Loads of artists exhibit in bookstores, cafes, pubs, restaurants, and doctors' surgeries. Start looking out for the things that catch your eye.
Something you can live with.
Get online and find artists in your area. Most are willing to arrange a studio visit. You are not obliged to buy, tell them the truth - "I've seen your work online, I really like it but I wanted to see it in person before I think about buying any" Most artists will respect your honesty and arrange a visit with ease.
Remember that some small galleries have changed the name 'Private view' to 'Open evening' or 'Preview evening', deliberately to encourage new people to come. They are friendly, fun, usually drop of wine is involved, and folks freely talk about the art in front of them.
Think back to when you were a teenager, or your university bedroom. I bet the walls were festooned with images that reflected things about you, things you loved, things that were cool.
Now that those posters are long gone, don't you deserve something better than a cheap mass produced print?
Start finding what you want on your wall...
Next week I'll give you my top tips on how to buy art and why you'll absolutely love it when you do!
I have just returned from an arty break in Paris. Despite several visits to Paris over the years, there was one particular museum that had escaped me, this time I had to make a visit; it was the Musee d’Orsay. Musee d'Orsay is open late on Thursday evenings and we decided this would be the best possible time to visit.
As we strolled along the banks of the Seine that Thursday evening watching the sunset in the distance, I couldn't help but feel myself become a French impressionist just by looking at the light in the sky. The thing that struck me most about that evening sunset was how pink it was! We sometimes have pink sunsets in England, maybe a hint of pink highlighting a cloud. But that evening the sky looked so pink and the light that was reflected off of the buildings looked golden. It felt truly magical to be walking by the river that evening.
I resisted the temptation to buy the entire shop then and there, and make my way to the gallery.
In the Musee D’ Orsay we headed straight for the impressionists. No postcard, no photograph, no book, no second hand image can do them justice. Monet’s sunset simply glowed, Renoir’s dappled light shimmered. Looking outside through the enormous clock window we could see Sacre Coeur in the distance bathed in the exact golden pinky glow that sat before us in so many paintings. These artists hadn’t exaggerated the light and colour, they had looked at it properly and made it sing.
I scrutinised the paintings focused entirely on colour.
Again and again I saw muted pinks, greys made from violets and yellow dancing gently over blue.
I would return to Aladin’s cave, and this time I knew exactly what I would buy.
Paris fashion week coincided with part of our visit. I have not returned home with any shoes, handbags or haute couture.
Pour moi - Haute couleur!
The wonderful paints are "Charvin - Maison de Haute Couleur".
I have paint, and inspiration and can’t wait to embark on making my next painting glow.
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