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The Basics of Collecting Art: Fine Painting

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Though fine paintings are a staple of both the art world and of the home decorating world choosing one for your home or office can be intimidating and overwhelming. Even with all of the variety that art galleries and online art emarkets have to offer, making a purchase can be difficult. Art, it seems, is not just a simple purchase so much as it is an investment, both financially and emotionally. We want to feel a greater attraction, connection even, with a piece of fine art. To feel good about a purchase you need to know what you're purchasing and how to care for it. Here are some basics to understanding fine paintings:

What is fine painting? Paintings are the visual representations of an almost infinite number of subjects including landscapes, animals and flowers. Mediums vary depending on artist preference, though you will most often find paintings to be of oil, watercolor or pastels.

Oil paintings - Artists often outline an image with pencil on a canvas. Pure colors in the form of wet paint are mixed and blended to offer the tones and hues the artist prefers and then transfered to canvas with brushes. Watercolors ?Watercolors are widely used for paintings. As a medium, they offer simplicity and versatility to the artist. Watercolorists can be spontaneous and experimental during the creation of a piece so the completion time may be lengthy.

Pastels ?Pastels are often used for portrait painting. Few instruments are needed for blending colors; brushes, sponges or even fingers can be used. Artists can protect the piece by spraying a light coat of varnish to aid pigment adhesion.

Artists may offer prints. Prints are reproductions of a painting and are usually available in a limited quantity and of much less cost than the original. A Giclee print is a technology used to reproduce the original image. It is of high quality and allows for reproduction in any size.

How to choose a fine painting. Your choice of a painting will probably be less about the medium and more about the subject and presentation. If you find a painting that interests you and is visually appealing to you, chat with the artist. The artist will undoubtedly welcome the interest and enjoy discussing his or her passion. Learning about the inspiration and the history of the painting will help you connect with it.

If you are on a budget, you will consider the cost of a painting. Cost is determined by the tools and supplies used to create it. The amount of work or man-hours it took for completion will also factor into the cost. If you find a piece that is too costly, look for a more affordable painting by the same artist. Then, if you truly enjoy the piece you can make future purchases from that same artist as budget allows. Or, if you find a painting that you enjoy, but are not ready to commit to the cost of the original, a more affordable print may be available.

They say that you shouldn't buy a fine painting just because it matches your décor. That's true in theory, but chances are that a painting you are drawn to will fit naturally into your home or office because it is just as much a reflection of your taste as your home décor is.

How to care for your purchase. Since your fine painting purchase will have no doubt been a special one, you will want to put extra care into it. Display your painting in a well-ventilated room away from direct sunlight and outdoor elements.

Gabriela Merediz, of G.A.M. Fine Art in CT, says of her oil paintings, "Those finished with a damar varnish should be wiped with a clean, dry, lint-free cloth to remove dust and dirt. Those with retouch varnish may be cleaned in the same manner, but should be completed with a damar varnish after 6 months to a year.?Furthermore, oil on canvas is usually not to be framed under glass.

Darla Johnson of Granite Mountain Studio in AZ says that her pastels should be framed behind Glass or Plexi Glass. Pastels need to be handled with care. The face of the painting should never touch the glass, so look for an artist like Johnson or a frame shop that can have the piece backed and matted.

Because the materials can vary greatly, be sure to discuss care instructions with the artist so you can plan ahead for any necessary maintenance. If you are buying online, ask that these instructions be sent with the purchase.

Now enjoy. The purchase of a fine painting is truly a reflection of one's taste and style and is extremely fulfilling. The "story?behind the painting will serve as a great conversation piece when entertaining. Guests will notice that your wall art is something more than just décor.

And don't worry about what will happen when you find the urge to redecorate. Your fine painting will probably serve as the inspiration piece that sets the entire mood of the newly decorated room. You'll find yourself looking forward to visiting a gallery or online art e-market for fine accessories to match.

If you are interested in seeing the work of Gabriela Merediz or Darla Johnson visit Artists?Heaven at

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