Last weekend I toured 4 newly constructed show homes, each worth around $3 million. This "housing entertainment" was touted as having the latest home furnishings, design features and newest products to inspire you for your home redecorating, remodelling, or perhaps the new house you are in the market to buy. But what caught my attention was the visual art chosen to fill the walls of these mansions - and in 3 of the 4 homes I saw the same mistake that many people make with either the purchase of art, or in the creation of art. This mistake can cause you to be dissatisfied with a piece in a very short period of time, and since art is an investment, you want to be sure that you don't make this one mistake!
This problem can be caused, even subconsciously, in several ways. Here's one:
How many of us have glanced through magazines about home design or watched home improvement shows on t.v.? I would bet almost every one of us! And when the glossy photos and magazine headlines tell you that this is the latest way to decorate, you compare that with your own home. Or when the "reveal" on the DIY shows the beautiful room (and don't forget the lovely music that signals THIS is the way it should look...), you take it all in and file the images in the back of your mind.
Now, fast forward to this scenario: you want to invest in one large piece of art that will hang in your living room area for years and years. You have sacrificed and saved and you are ready to commission an artist, buy an artist's painting, or go to a gallery to find that one unique and special piece. As you visit gallery after gallery, or work with the artist of your choice, the subliminal messages you have received now influence your choice and you buy a piece of art to match your furniture!!!
Yes - it is true. I hear of this all the time. People are buying paintings (and spending lots of money on these paintings) because they match the decor of the room in which it will hang. And I have seen this mistake at work again and again, even in the mansions I visited. Because a wall is a lovely blue, and the furniture is an inviting deep brown is NOT a reason to have a blue and brown painting on the wall. "Current" colors will only become yesterday's colors, and when you repaint, or move to a home that has a different color scheme, what will you do with that investment painting? Will it be relegated to a back bedroom, or worse yet, sold at a garage sale? (Even famous artists have had their work sold in garage sales...)
So here's the deal: buy a piece of visual art because you love it! It could be that the colors in the painting are ones you love - and they may match your furniture - but the REASON you buy the piece is because you have a connection to it! Maybe it reminds you of a favorite place (like the barn where you found kittens when you were 5 years old), or a favorite memory (like the old truck that your grandfather drove), or a combination of colors that brings you a feeling of joy (as in an abstract work or art). Perhaps the painting evokes certain smells, or transports you back to special times in your life. Or maybe you just simply love it and you don't really know why! (A person recently told me he really wanted a certain painting but he didn't really know why - just that at some level it really stirred his heart.)
All of these and a thousand more are reasons to buy that piece of art that will bring you pleasure for years and years to come. And even if that piece eventually makes its way into a back bedroom, you will find yourself wandering into that room every now and then to continue to enjoy the piece.
Here is a case in point. This is a watercolor that was commissioned because the collector loves flowers - especially red tulips. I worked the colors of her living room into the painting - but make no mistake, this piece is one with which she is deeply connected, and it will be hung in her home no matter if her color scheme changes or not. And there is the difference. No mistake made here. This is a heart-connected work of art that brings the owners pleasure every day! And I have to say, as an artist, I love that!
So because the piece of visual art matches the current color scheme of your house is not a good reason to purchase it. Choose to invest in a piece of art because it "speaks to you", because it stirs something deep in your heart. It will become "one of the best purchases I ever made"...