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Monthly Archives: May 2017

Tips to Buy an Abstract Painting

Here is the first realization – and question to ask yourself – why exactly is this piece you are looking at “not quite right”? The answer can be manifold:

1. It includes a colour I do not like
2. I am not sure it will go with another item in the space I would like to place it
3. A slow realization that a certain personal undesirable association is being emitted from the painting
4. It looks great but I am not sure it will fit the space
5. It is just right but the price is a little bit more than I wanted to pay… and the list goes on.

Although I do not have all the answers I will endeavour to reveal, from my own personal experiences, a few solutions.

So, you see a picture you like but the colour combination is wrong. Put simply the thing to do is to contact the artist and tell them your dilemma. You will find that some of them will either be able to reproduce a similar work in the colours you prefer, or they will be willing to notify you when and if they produce a work that might be nearer to the colours theat you require.

If size is an issue then I would advise the same as above – contact the artist and tell them the problem. I believe you will receive a similar reply to that which I have written above.

Make sure that when you do make a purchase that the artist is offering a return policy. I have a ten day return policy which means that if you buy a painting and hang it in your space – if within ten days of purchasing it you become uncomfortable with it for any reason and you cannot live with it, then you may return the piece and your money will be returned. An important point here worth mentioning is the fact that you have made certain decisions on buying this piece of work, therefore it is worthwhile mentioning it to the artist which will enable them, if they so inclined, to produce a work that has omitted the undesirable entity. This way you may well end up with a work that will be of greater value to you – having communicated your dilemma.

Price can be a tricky challenge – but many artists offer different ways to help you buy the piece you want. If, for instance, the piece you like is too expensive for you then you have a number of choices. Perhaps the most preferable choice is for you to negotiate the price with the artist. However, please bear in mind that the artist has produced a totally unique painting – there is nothing like it in all the world! Also spare a thought for the fact that the artist will have spent time struggling to get the work out onto the canvas. A well known saying is that a piece may well have taken only a few hours to produce, but you should also take into account the years the artist has been at work – so if someone says to me “it can only have taken you three hours at the most” I reply “no… it has taken me FORTY YEARS and three hours!” If you keep these in mind then negotiate with what you might see as a realistic price for you and a price that will have taken the above into account for the artist.

Some artists will not barter prices – but they may be willing to sell you the work if you pay by installments. You have to ask yourself here “Do I REALLY want this piece?” If you answer yes then you will find the money… because you want to – you want the work.

Let us say that you see an artists work – you love the style – you would very much like to have a painting on your wall… but you see nothing that grabs you. Try contacting the artists and commissioning them to painting you a picture… this way you may be able to influence the end result by instructing the artist to use certain colours, or specific shapes. Or if they are not inclined to work that way then they might put you on their mailing list that will inform you when their latest piece is about to go on show – you will be offered “first refusal”.

One final thing worth mentioning is the fact that a growing number of artists are making their works available as high quality giclee prints. These reproductions are very close to the original work, and some of the reproduction houses actually ensure that every brush stroke has the appropriate texture and “feel”. So in many ways you could purchase a work that is almost identical to the original piece except for one very big fact – the price of the print. The print will be of a limited edition, making it a collectible investment – and it will have been checked, numbered, and signed by the artist.

If none of the above proves to be useful to you then the simplest thing to do is contact the artist and just talk to them, tell them what you think of their work, what you are looking for – anything… just communicate with them, and I think you will find that you will not only buy yourself something that you will love and cherish … but you will also bond with the artist themself in a way that you could never do if you walked into a place selling paintings and chose a piece hanging on a wall.

 

Therapy with Abstract Art

There is, I believe, a definate therapeutic value to be found in most of the enigmatic marks made by the very different styles available today. What appears to be the most important decision to make is a very careful consideration of the specific audience in conjunction with the choosing of the appropriate artwork. This is not something to be taken lightly or quickly. This can cover anybody within the wide spectrum of individual audiences: a busy boardroom environment or a single office or room where quick thinking, fast reactions, and serious decision making is required; or a worker who returns from a hard days work simply wanting to be visually massaged by an easily observed enigma; or even the space inwhich the desperate and mostly misunderstood person who is gradually loosing their tentative hold on the sense of reality. There is a tremendous variety of possibilities.

Here are some suggested associations from one artists point of view:

Colour plays an obvious healing and therapeutic role to be found in a carefully selected crafted piece, and so colour-field work, which is growing in popularity, first conceived by artists like Mark Rothko and Ellsworth Kelly with their vast areas of empty colour space, might add a general feeling of peace and quiet to an otherwise noisy and hectic environment. With there being very few variations within such a large image a gentle sense of immersion into abstract stillness can slow down any fretful or irratic thinking, and even assist with the adrenal challenge of a creative.

Indefinate shapes or patterns by the likes of Jackson Pollock, Peter Lanyon, and Howard Hodgkin (again, similar works inspired by these very different abstract styles can be seen in many exhibitions, shops and galleries), show a very positive association, and may perhaps persuade a mind filled with illogical thoughts to pause, simply take in the apparent spontenaiety, and then take a different direction. Hodgkin style works in particular can be seen as puzzle like canvases inwhich the observer has no real point of reference so is free to “start” anywhere upon the picture. And because there are very few defined areas sometimes the observer inevitably finds themself either regarding the piece with little emotion, and therefore can freely make a comment – positive or not.

Let us not deny, however, the fact that many an image that has the potential to provoke a negative response can also be of great value to the observer who might actually benefit from seeing such a challenging picture that bears such a bad association. Better there on the wall than here inside the head. In this case the classic associations of red for blood and danger, black for death and sin, brown for decay and illness, along with dramatic lines and movements found in a painting are equally valuable stimulii if revealed within the appropriate environment. This comes back to my point made at the beginning – when choosing a picture, very careful consideration must be taken in order to find that one work of art which speaks directly to the very deepest parts of the observer.

Abstract Art

A simple, common definition of “abstract art” is “not realistic.” Yet many artists who call their work abstract, actually do have a subject in mind when they paint. They take a figure or landscape and simplify it, exaggerate it, or stylize it in some way. They are not trying to imitate nature, but to use nature as a starting off point. Color, line, and form are more important to them than the details of the actual subject matter. They want to give a sense or feel for the subject rather than an exact replication.

Historically, the term “abstract” has been associated with a variety of art movements. The cubism of Picasso, Braque and Cezanne was a geometrical abstraction. In the United States, a group also known as the New York school of action painters was defined by critics as “abstract expressionists.” Yet the individuals in this group varied greatly in their approaches. Jackson Pollock did overall drip paintings. Mark Rothko painted shimmering color field canvases based on a simple square pattern. Willem de Kooning did not abandon subject matter like the others, but abstracted the female figure in much of his work.

Art that has no intentional beginnings in any subject matter is sometimes referred to as “non-objective,” or “non-representational.” A related term is “minimalism,” or the tendency to take as much away from the painterly surface of the canvas as possible. A white square painted on a white background is an example of minimalism. The end result is not so much the point as the daring it took to get there.

“Modern art” is another term commonly used to refer to abstract art, though originally this term was used to differentiate the experimenters of the twentieth century from the traditional European painters and sculptors. Thus, “modern art” began over seventy years ago, and is no longer new. Many movements in art have come and gone since then. For example, “pop art” incorporates popular culture such as comics and movie stars. Well-known artists of this genre include Andy Warhol, who painted Cambell’s soup cans and portraits of Marilyn Monroe; and Jasper Johns, who did a series of flag paintings.

“Contemporary art” is another one of those terms that covers a wide variety of art. The best definition of “contemporary” is the work of any living artist, though the term has also been used to mean art that you would hang in a contemporary home. This sense of contemporary is more like the term “modern,” in that it means the opposite of “traditional.” Thus, “contemporary art” is also sometimes used to mean “abstract art.”

Another way to define the term “abstract art” is to enter it as a search term on Google or Yahoo and look at the results. There will be millions of them, proving that the term is used today to cover a vast amount of art. I use the term “abstract art” to define my own painting because I know that people who love my art tend to define it this way. They often find me by entering the term on Google. Others use the term “modern art” or “contemporary art” to find me.

So where does that leave us in our definition of abstract art? Like most definitions of art movements, the answer is complex. We can look at it historically from an art critic’s perspective, or use it as the general public would, to mean something other than traditional realistic representation.