Tuesday, April 23, 2013

How to collect art - a lesson in love

Takachiho, Japan
Ink drawing by Shirley Felts
My "how to collect art" lesson is going to be much simpler than you think:
  • Buy things you like.

That's it! Yes, you can (and probably will) eventually realise you like certain types of artists or art, or a style, maybe a time period, or you like investing in up and coming artists. But at the end of all that, it should still come down to:
  • Buy things you like.

Here's how I collect art...

I was visiting the gallery to see my work installed for the new spring show. Went downstairs, looked at "my wall" and took some photos. Admired the lighting and how James always arranges my work so well with glass pieces! Then I turned...

In the corner, at a slight distance, was a drawing. It stopped me in my tracks.

You see, I have this image in my head of my house - my dream house. The place I'm going to be, meant to be. Eventually.  It's a dark cottage nestled in a small valley, probably in the Highlands, and with the sea nearby.

My house was there, in the drawing, in the corner.

Detail of Takachiho, Japan
Ink drawing by Shirley Felts
On closer inspection it's actually a Japanese house and landscape. But as I've been to Japan and have a bit of an affinity to that landscape too, this didn't ruin the illusion of my house.

So I went upstairs and made my offer (they were being sold by bids for charity). Apparently there were two drawings as a set, but I was so impressed that I hadn't noticed the second one! Which is equally lovely but I don't have the same emotional reaction to. (So I admit I may actually sell this one on.)

By complete chance I also know this artist, who is local. I've given her computer lessons! So this week I'm buying 2 drawings by Shirley Felts. The drawings were given to my gallery from a collector to try and selling them for charity. They are older pieces, one is dated 1965, and I've never seen her do landscapes of Japan. Her work now is mainly of rainforests. I'm not buying them because I know the artist, or because of the charity (though that made it even more tempting to make an offer). It even, by chance, falls into a specific category I try (often in vain because of my budget) to collect - drawings or studies by lifetime artists over 70.

There was a real connection, and that's the most important thing when you buy art.

Now I need to get in touch with Shirley, who I haven't seen in a long time, for a cup of tea and a chat!

Bottom right: Kishimajima, Japan
Ink drawing by Shirley Felts



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