What benefits does buying original art have over buying prints or reproductions? How do you go about finding an original art piece to bring into your home? What are the main things to have in mind when selecting a painting? How does one care for original wall art?
If you're a visual/creative person like I am, you're probably well aware of how your surroundings can affect your mood and even your daily productivity levels. At the same time, it's likely important to you that your home (being an extension of yourself) is able to transmit your personality and individuality.
You probably like to live your days in an inspired state of mind and simultaneously enjoy bringing inspiration to others with your distinct style and ideas.
You know that your home is a big piece of your life. It's your place of relaxation, where you entertain loved ones, and where you make important memories.
It may even be your place of work (high-five!) or the space where you bring up your family and keep them protected.
Because of all of these reasons, it's important to make our space our own.
Many of us can fall into thinking that collecting original fine art is only for people who have lots of money to spend. However, with the Internet, it's easier than ever to find amazing decorative artwork at all price points.
Moreover, the options are vast ranging from cheaper pieces that add a touch of life to a room, to vintage pieces that could add even more diversity to your investment portfolio. Furthermore, we're also able to connect with galleries and artists directly!
We can easily start our own art collections composed of a mix of pieces that speak to us and transmit who we are to the world.
We can find affordable art prints that we can hang up nearly immediately, as well as original paintings that no one else has and will last for generations to come.
Lots of people are ready to invest in an original piece but feel it's easier to decorate with cheaper, mass-produced art, or are overwhelmed because they don't have experience visiting galleries or simple are too shy to build relationships with artists directly.
In today's guest post, Madeline Dudziak, who writes for macfineart.com, is going to share some valuable tips on decorating with original fine art, as well as information that will help demystify the art-buying process.
Let's get into her article!
How to Choose Artwork for Interior Decorating (5 Valuable Tips)
by Madeline Dudziak
Once you’ve had a chance to settle into your home, you may begin to tire of the box store’s mass produced “Live, Laugh, Love” decor and may be longing for some proper art.
It can be so hard to choose though and there are so many options when it comes to finding the right art pieces for a room, that it can get a bit overwhelming.
When you’re first setting out down the road of fine art, you may feel out of place scoping out galleries to find a painting that speaks to you or that will suit a room in a way that will both let your personality shine and showcase the piece simultaneously.
If you’re struggling to figure out how to choose the right painting for your space, the next five tips will make the process easier!
1. Be Inspired
The first rule of thumb when selecting an artwork is to not stress about the decision. Unless you have a strict timeline, it’s unrealistic to think you'll just walk into a gallery, immediately find something you love, and hang it on your wall that evening.
There are many things to consider when looking to decorate and taking them all into consideration is important.
What emotion do you want your art to evoke?
Are you leaning towards a specific art style?
Is there are color palette you are trying to work within?
What feel/style do the furniture and other elements in the room already have?
Starting an art collection is easier than ever. You can seek new artists in local art events and social media, as well as browsing galleries both in person and online until you come across pieces that speak to you.
Follow these artists and galleries so that you can stay up-to-date with new work being shared.
If you're reading this article, chances are you're a visual, creative being. You're probably already aware that your surroundings can have a strong impact on how you think and feel.
Being surrounded by art that speaks to you is incredibly inspiring and can improve your own creativity. Paintings can be expressive of your personality and feeling, but they can also prompt you to work harder and feel better in your day-to-day life.
While art can be considered an investment, if you start buying paintings just to make money in the future, you’re rather missing the point and the opportunity to cultivate a higher appreciation for art.
Sometimes art can be used as a social status but don’t let keeping up with Jones’ stop you from buying pieces that you adore. While you hope your guests will feel similarly inspired by your home’s artistic style, ultimately you want to surround yourself with art that speaks to you.
Your home is an extension of yourself and should represent who you are.
2. Seek Unique
While it can be practical (and cheap) to buy mass-produced art reproductions, there's nothing like being the sole owner of an original art piece that can be handed down for generations to come.
Nothing compares to the feeling of owning an original painting that an artist spent hours upon hours creating and has a piece of them in it. Not to mention, you'll be hard-pressed to find a reproduction that can outlast a well-made painting.
This said, you certainly don’t want to spend your time, effort and money on a piece that was sold to you as an original and really isn't. This is why it's important to visit reputable art galleries or go straight to an artist.
Whether you hope to become a collector or you just want to have one great piece of art in your home, buying original paintings from artists you love is easier than ever before.
The Internet gives us the ability to personally reach out to galleries and artists all around the world with whom you can establish connections and build relationships with over time.
3. Size Matters
Acquiring smaller pieces or quality reproductions may be a great way to start your collection and developing a relationship with an artist or gallery, but it's important to acknowledge that they have a tendency to get lost in a room.
You don’t want your art to look like a tiny island in a sea of a wall, light fixtures and book shelves. Most likely, if you're going to invest in an original artwork, you want it to be a focal point in your room. So go ahead and look at larger pieces! Showcase your favorite art and bring a new life to your space.
Of course, there are areas and rooms in any home that can accommodate smaller paintings, too. Think of entryways, bedrooms, kitchen, bathroom, etc.
A good rule of thumb is you want your wall art to cover ⅔-¾ of your wall. Measure the height and width of your wall and multiply those numbers by .57. That will give you the smallest dimensions you should be looking for.
If that is much too large for you, you can always opt to create a gallery wall or group art together to cover the necessary space. Some artists even have groupings of paintings that are sold as a set, so keep an eye out for art like that, especially if you have a lot of space to fill.
4. Hanging Your Art Properly
Don’t just eyeball it and pound a nail. If you’re going to put in the time and effort to buy an amazing art piece that you love, make sure you're giving it the respect it deserves and hang it up properly.
While certainly a room’s architectural design (wall height/width, location of windows, etc.) may dictate where the frame should rest, you will want to carefully consider what wall and specific location the piece should be installed in.
Consider the furniture and accessories you already have in the room. Does it make sense to leave them where they are, or will the room work better as a whole if things are moved around now that you have an important focal point in your decor?
Another huge element to consider is lighting!
I highly recommend installing the art piece on a wall that receives little to no direct sunlight. Sun rays can drain a picture of its vibrant color, which is the last thing you want. If you have a room with a lot of windows and sunlight that needs art, make sure to frame it using specialized UV acrylic plexiglass which will protect the paint from fading.
While there are exceptions to any rule, you should aim for your artwork’s center to be at eye level or 57 to 60 inches from the floor.
The next formula will help guide you through this process:
First, divide the height of the frame in two. Take the resulting number and subtract the distance from the top of the frame to the hanging hardware the frame has. Add this number to 57, 58, 59 or 60. Take your sum, measure upwards from floor level to that many inches on the wall, and mount your hardware there. This should give you the proper place for hanging art at eye level.
5. Tender Care
Aside from direct sunlight, another factor that can affect the painting is humidity. Make sure you choose a room and area with low humidity and no direct contact with water. Excessive moisture can damage a painting over time.
If your art requires cleaning, simply dust it with a feather duster and leave it alone. Never use water or cleaning products, and inform yourself on cleaning instructions when you buy the piece. The gallery or artist will be happy to provide tips and recommendations.
If at any point you notice that the art is becoming damaged, immediately reach out to the gallery or artist for suggestions. If you're unable to do so, another option is reaching out to a restoration expert. Cover your art with cardboard and bubble wrap for transporting to avoid further damage.
Artistic expression and individuality are beautiful, powerful things. We're all unique and deserve to have inspiring spaces to live in that reflect who we are to our guests.
Don't hesitate reaching out to galleries or artists today and, just ask! I assure you, they'll be incredibly happy to help you, and you'll never regret starting this relationship.
Allow yourself the chance to fall in love with art and to truly appreciate the pieces you bring into your home. Anyone can become an art collector! The magic starts with only one piece.
I'd like to send out a huge thank you to Madeline for so generously providing all of this helpful information for us.
Visit macfineart.com to find amazing fine art and read more helpful art-related posts such as one titled How Color Is Used in the World of Art and Why Local Artists Are So Important (and How You Can Support Your Local Art Community).
Also, follow them on social media to find out news and when new resources are released:
Twitter : https://twitter.com/mac_fine_art
Thanks so much for reading!
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Wondering what the difference between acrylic and oil paint is? How do they compare in regards to required supplies, painting process and overall finish? Which one of these two painting mediums is best for you, your artistic goals and your current life situation?
In today's blog post (and the YouTube video included), I'll be explaining the key similarities and differences between acrylic and oil paint. I'll also be clearing up common misconceptions so that you can make an informed decision about which supplies to invest in and, most importantly, start moving forward in your artistic journey right away!
When I was first starting to look into painting, I was very confused about the similarities and differences between these two mediums. Not only did the examples of artwork I found created with each vary immensely, but there were also tons of contradictions between one article/book to the next in terms of the required supplies, the preparation phase, and the painting process itself.
It was honestly overwhelming and I didn't have time to make sense of it all. Quite often, I held myself back from buying any supplies and moving forward due to this.
Eventually, there came a point at which I could no longer ignore my desire to improve artistically, highly-demanding full-time job and all. I had already wasted too much time and knew that the best way to learn and to make sense of it all would be through actually doing. I visited my local art supply store, and with the information I had learned from my research (as well as with the help graciously provided by the lady at the store), bought a few items to explore.
I share more about how I finally prepared to leave years and years of "normal" full-time positions to pursue creative entrepreneurship in this blog post/YouTube video.
Suffice to say, a lot of supplies were wasted or left completely unused. And not only were a lot of bad paintings created, but several of them literally fell apart after a couple of months (don't ask).
I don't regret it though, because I learned so much through this first-hand exploration, both about different painting mediums, as well as about myself as an artist. What I like, don't like, what techniques suit the style I'm going for best, etc.
After years of practice and exploration I've been able to learn a lot about acrylics, oils and even watercolors. I love them all, use them all on a month-to-month basis, and have come to know the pros and cons of each throughout this time.
If you're just as confused and overwhelmed as I was all those years ago, but still feel that nagging inside telling you to get painting (it never goes away by the way), the following information will definitely help you make faster progress. However, as with all artistic mediums and supplies, it's going to be up to you to commit to this journey and the exploration it entails, in order to get to know yourself artistically and the specific supplies you personally enjoy.
Let's get into today's topic!
If you enjoyed this video, make sure you subscribe to my YouTube channel. I publish a new one every-single-Friday sharing art tips, drawing/painting tutorials and encouragement for aspiring artists!
Because oil paint contains more pigment than acrylic paint, colors in oil paintings usually look a lot richer, more vibrant and glossy. This said, even though oil paintings can last a very long time if they have been created using quality supplies and proper methods, they do tend to fade and/or yellow over time.
It'll be years and years before this happens though!
Acrylic paintings, on the other hand, usually look a lot more matte and flat when compared to oil paintings. Colors also tend to darken during the drying phase. However, once this drying process is completed and this color change happens, they don't change after that as long as they are kept in an optimum environment (away from direct sunlight and humidity).
As far as texture goes, we can find both acrylic and oil paintings that are very smooth, as well as highly-texturedized. Oil paint lends itself to very easily be placed thickly on the canvas, leading to beautiful, palpable textures, if that's what the artist is intending to create.
However, texture mediums can be added to acrylic paint and impasto-like effects can also be created by placing it heavily on the substrate using different tools like painting knives. The artist can also create a texturedized surface prior to starting to paint.
The overall finish of both acrylic and oil paintings can also be altered by using different types of varnishes, depending on whether you'd like your painting to appear more matte or glossy.
There are a lot of different varnishes available in both spray and liquid form that offer a variety of finishes.
This is going to depend on your personal circumstances, as well as your tastes and what you're looking to improve upon.
If you usually don't have much time for your art, don't have a designated space to work in, or you have kids or pets running around, acrylics are probably the best option for you (at least for now).
On the other hand, if you do have a space you can work in for hours-on-end, you aren't too sensitive to strong smells, you're interested in learning classical techniques, and/or you really care about the depth/color/richness of your paintings, then I'd definitely explore oils!
Whatever medium you choose to go for, make sure you exercise safety measures.
I hope you enjoyed this post and learned something new, or got inspired to go and create a sketch for yourself. I wish you tons of progress and enjoyment in your artistic journey! :)
Thanks so much for popping by today!
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Are you eager to start selling your artwork online but perhaps feel overwhelmed with all the options out there? Wondering if print-on-demand platforms like Society6 and Redbubble are right for you? Do the technical aspects involved in creating on online shop and uploading your artwork effectively keep you from moving forward?
In today's blog post I'll be sharing my entire process for creating products to sell on Society6, as well as essential information you should definitely know if you're thinking of opening a shop of your own on this platform. I'll also be providing a list of pros and cons about Society6 to help you make an informed decision on whether opening this type of shop is right or you.
Society6 is an online marketplace that allows artists and designers to easily create their own shops and sell their work not only on prints, posters, canvases, and other kinds of wall art, but on a large variety of accessories like phone cases, tote bags, apparel and even furniture!
One of the reasons why I decided on Society6 over other platforms is because, in my research phase, I heard great things about the quality of their products from other artists.
About a year and a half ago, when I first started learning about different options for selling my work online, I was taken aback by the amount of platforms available and the differences between each. Some of them require artists to go through application processes, others ask for fee payments for each artwork uploaded, others keep a huge percentage of the artist's earnings, etc.
Of course, there are marketplaces like Etsy through which the artist assumes all responsibility for customer service, packaging and shipping orders, which you can go for right-off-the bat if you want more control and direct contact with your customers.
I decided to create shops on both Society6 and Redbubble, as they are fast to open, easy to use and require no monetary investment. However, since before starting with my online art business journey, I knew that my end goal was to eventually sell my original artwork through Etsy.
The way I saw it, these smaller shops would be a great way to start developing a habit for creating new pieces and uploading them on a semi-regular basis. They would also enable me to test out what people liked most and to start marketing my different products through social media.
I saw these shops as a stepping stone, as I knew I still had a ton to learn about before opening my shop on Etsy. Also, I'm all for creating a variety of income streams and plan to keep these smaller shops running even after my Etsy shop has gained some traction.
Setting up multiple income streams is a total must for artists of all kinds, in my opinion.
Visit my Society6 shop here or by clicking on the images below. :)
There are three things that you should do before concluding whether a platform/marketplace is right for you or not:
a) Research, research, research (but don't get stuck there)
This entails visiting the site yourself and reading the information the company provides. You must know what their terms are, the support they provide, how/when you're getting paid, the quality level of their products, etc. I also recommend listening to reviews from at least three different artists or designers that have been on the platform for a decent amount of time.
Also, think about whether the company's overall vibe (the mood and attitudes they transmit through their site, social media channels, advertisements, etc.) meshes with yours.
b) Give thought to what goals you have for your artwork
There are so many paths that an artist could go down.
Is your dream to sell paintings for large amounts of money and getting into galleries? Are you primarily a commercial illustrator working with clients? Would you like to venture into surface pattern designing? Would you like to have your own larger shop on Etsy (or on your own website) through which you'll take care of all production and shipping to your customers in the future?
You have to know what it is you want to do before investing too much time and energy into something that may or may not be right for you.
What does your gut tell you?
Listen to your intuition and what feels right for you. Then take serious action and stay consistent. As you continue learning, don't be afraid to veer off the path you initially chose if you discover its not right for you. This is normal!
c) Actually do it and give it a decent amount of time
Once you've come to a decision (be careful not to spend such a long time in the research phase that you never actually get to anything), it's essential to put in consistent effort and be patient. You might be doing everything right and still see nothing happening for months.
Remember it takes time to see results on any platform and it's essential to stay consistent for a while before arriving at any conclusions. Always continue learning what aspects you can improve about your shop and how you can get your work out there effectively.
How to Scan, Edit and Upload Artwork Onto Society6
1. Creating Your Artwork
With my limited amount of time, I decided to create patterns using the watercolor illustrations I was already creating for the calendars I send out to my newsletter subscribers every month! With one same pattern, I would be covering most of the items offered by Society6 at once and they would look awesome.
I know creating patterns might not fit your own artwork but, if you wish to create patterns with your illustrations as I do, I highly recommend creating your artwork with little to no background so that it's easy to "clip out" in Photoshop (or the photo editing software of your choosing).
As you upload your first drawings or paintings and start placing them on products, you'll find what types of items suit your work best. As much as it's great to have more products to offer, don't feel obligated to create products that don't make your artwork shine.
Check out my FREE Patreon-exclusive tutorial and class samples here!
2. Scanning Your Artwork
There are artists that scan their work at higher resolutions, but this is the minimum. If you decide to scan at an even higher resolution, your scanning process will most likely take longer and your files are going to take up much more space on your computer.
Below are a couple of scanners that have been recommended by other artists who've bought these specifically with the intention of scanning their work and creating their own prints. After having read so many great reviews, I'm definitely going to be investing in one of these in the near future as I expand my business.
3. Editing Your Artwork & Creating Your Designs
Once I have a high quality scan of my illustration on my computer, it's time to open Photoshop and move onto the cleaning/editing process, as well as creating any sort of pattern I'd like with it. If you don't currently have Photoshop, and don't want to pay for the software, don't worry!
You can download Gimp for free, which is a very popular photo-editing software you can get online for both Mac and PC. This popular alternative is even used by professional illustrators and contains pretty much all the tools that could come in handy for you as an artist.
In Photoshop, I mainly remove the background from my illustration, do any cleaning necessary (to remove hairs, etc.) and perhaps increase the contrast a tiny bit at times. To "clip" the illustration from the background I like using the Pen Tool, which provides me much more control than the Magic Wand selector.
You want to be careful when cutting your illustrations out, because any white spots you leave outside of your illustrations will get printed on the products! I always make sure to re-check my work when I'm done.
Every now and then, I also use Photoshop to manipulate colors so that I'm able to create colorful patterns using only one "base" illustration.
Once I've successfully separated my illustration from its background, it's time to create an appealing pattern with it! I visit Society6's Pixel Dimension Requirement page to make sure I'm creating my file in the right size before working on my pattern.
In this page, Society6 lists out the document sizes (in pixels) needed for each of their products. But don't worry, you don't need to create a separate file for each!
What I do is create a new document in Photoshop with their minimum recommended size of 6500 x 6500 pixels and create my pattern there. This size is covers most of the products on the list and the platform will automatically place it on all the products that require this size or smaller, which saves a lot of time.
There are currently only 2-3 products that require a larger size than this and you can create separate files for those if you wish. There are also a couple of products like stickers and t-shirts which you'll probably find need a separate design or layout.
Once I'm happy with my pattern, I deactivate the background layer in Photoshop and save the document as a .png, which allows the background to remain transparent. This is the file you'll upload onto Society6.
Because I know I'm most likely going to have to come back to Photoshop to create separate .pngs for stickers and t-shirts, I leave it open.
3. Uploading onto Society6
Opening your shop on Society6 is very fast and easy. All you need is a PayPal account. I recommend giving thought to your Username/URL because you won't be able to change it later and filling out your Artist Bio as soon as your able. Upload a banner and an avatar image to make your shop your own.
Once that's done, all you have to do is click on the button at the top that says "Sell" and you're going to be taken through a very straightforward 3-step process. The platform take a minute to process your artwork when you upload, as it's placing it on all available products that it fits on.
Next, you'll have to fill in a title for your work, as well as tags and a description. A tip here is to put yourself in the buyer's shoes. Instead of typing in a subjective title for your artwork, think about what words visitors actually type into Society6's search bar when looking for products. Be descriptive, create a five word title, use up all the available tags, and create a good little paragraph.
Finally, the fun part! You'll be taken to the last section, in which you'll see your design on all sorts of awesome items. You get to decide which to deactivate if you wish. I highly recommend taking time to look over every single product to ensure that your design is at an optimum size in each.
All you have to do is click on each item and shift your design's size/location.
As you scroll down the Create Products page, you will see what products require a separate .png file. I usually need to create a separate file for stickers, as a sticker page has to have fewer elements and they have to have a good distance between them (stickers have a white outline around them that shouldn't overlap).
also create separate patterns for t-shirts that are usually more vertical and contain less elements than my initial pattern.
Create whatever .png files you need and upload them separately onto individual products by clicking on those items.
Finally, hit Publish and, in around 15 minutes, your products will be up on your shop!
*Next step! Market your artwork!
While Society6 does a great job attracting shoppers to their site, their marketplace is saturated with incredible artists that have been on the platform a very long time and have formed a history/reputation for themselves. All of us need to go through that and have to accept and learn to enjoy the phase we're in.
If you're serious about selling your work online, I suggest optimizing your social media accounts so that you give your audience a clear idea of what you do and offer. Pick one or two and keep them professional.
Refrain from sharing personal things and stick to uploading pictures of your creative process, your favorite tools, what you find inspiring, links to useful articles that your target audience would find helpful, and share your new products!
Visit Society6's blog to find great tips for getting your work out there.
Pros and Cons of Society6 (and other similar online shops)
I hope you enjoyed this post and learned something new, or got inspired to go and create something for yourself. I wish you tons of progress and enjoyment in your artistic journey! :)
Thanks so much for popping by today!
Links To Useful Sites
My Artwork For Sale
Painting With Oils
Student Art Shows
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