Art Collecting for beginners October 04 2014

Collecting fine art is an inspiring and stimulating hobby for everyone, not just for the rich or famous. There are many forms of art to choose from, as the definition to what art actually is differs from person to person. It doesn't matter what form it takes, the choice is yours in what is attractive and how much your spending limit will be.

As an artist going to college in New York, it has been apparent to me that some aficionados of art may look down on others for their differing tastes in art. For example, there are those who only buy originals, and never prints. For enjoyment purposes, an original isn't necessary to own if the price is out of your budget. Prints are a great way to own framed art that looks lovely on your wall, as an original would, at a fraction of the price. Ok, you won't have the same texture to the painting (the surface of an original can show texture and dimension, whereas a print won't). But, a well printed piece of artwork is not settling by all means. My walls are graced with the art prints of other artists, bought fairly inexpensively online, at art fairs and galleries. They are tasteful and not cheap looking.

When you find a print or original that you like, you can either frame it yourself or have someone else do it for you. Frames come in a huge price range, from the lower priced metal frames to the ornate, hand carved wooden frames that can cost big bucks. Using a mat, which is a way of framing the picture inside the frame using illustration board or papers, can set off or detract from your print. For those who don't know framing, take your picture and have it framed first, then watch how they offer you various mats and frame styles. Take your time and choose what color combination of mat, frame and artwork would look tasteful and appropriate in your home. For a clean, contemporary look, a good type is the inexpensive but still elegant Nielsen brushed metal frame. They come in many colors, but black or bronze are safe to start with. When selling my artwork in galleries, I use bronze ones because they make my art look good, and don't cost a fortune. After all, many people who buy art in galleries have the art re-framed after they buy it, to match their home décor. If wood is more your style, there are some lovely, natural, stained wood frames. My preference is cherry or mahogany for my home, because they have a deep, rich reddish color that looks elegant. The style you choose is up to you, just remember that you'll be living with it for awhile, and so think of what you want to see on your wall for an extended period of time. You can re-frame later, of course, but to save money, choose something that you'll be happy with so that won't be necessary later.

Whether you like prints, originals or other forms of art, enjoy whatever you choose. To me, the purpose of art is to enrich our surroundings, add beauty to a room and convey a mood or interest. Everyone has their own views, so go with what stirs your emotions or interest. Have a budget in mind and stick to it, as most art is for personal use, not for investment. If you buy the work of someone famous, the piece may have value but who knows what tomorrow will bring. So, first and foremost, go with what interests you. That way, if reselling it isn't going to give you much (if any) profit later, it will still make your wall look beautiful, As a professional artist, I want my clients to love their purchases, and be happy that they own whatever they bought from me. Other artists want you to be happy too. Art is for enjoying, so don't be afraid to try collecting. Chances are, you'll be hooked once you do.

Carolyn McFann is a scientific and nature illustrator, who owns Two Purring Cats Design Studio, which can be seen at: Educated at the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York, Carolyn is a seasoned, well-traveled artist, writer and photographer. Clients include nature parks, museums, scientists, corporations and private owners. She has been the subject of tv interviews, articles for newspapers and other popular media venues.

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