When the weather is nice my favorite place to be is outside, usually digging in the dirt, fantasizing that I'm a world-renowned gardener. But in the winter when the freezing temperatures demand otherwise, I like to use part of my time spent inside imagining that I'm an art collector, that my collection is vast, and that works of art that I picked up years ago from little-known artists have gained tremendous value, and that when I die, my children will refuse to sell them for sentiment. (Go ahead; join me in a chuckle.) Seriously though, art is one thing that draws me in & makes me want to look around the corner to see what's next in a house. Especially if the art collection is eclectic, it gives me the feeling that the people who live there are curious, broadminded and don't take themselves too seriously. It instantly makes the place feel warm and inviting. And an art collection that combines trendy pieces with traditional furniture, includes photographs, and even priceless artwork from the youngest family members, always keeps things interesting. The home of Kate and Andy Spade is such a place. In the photo above, a large modern painting hangs above a table loaded with photos set next to a beautiful Aubusson rug and a classic slipcovered chair.
I love the way an otherwise sedate, traditional piece of furniture gains pizazz from loads of books and prized drawings and paintings, including two of the Spades' daughter, Bea.
The hallways are lined with interesting art of all kinds: framed documents, fashion sketches, paintings and more.
Botanicals share wall space with silhouettes. The thing that keeps them on common ground: white backgrounds, black foregrounds and gold frames.
Even a child's bedroom can benefit from a wall filled with art. Children love to paint and draw, & I can still remember that as a child, having my masterpieces displayed at home & shown off to guests were moments of bursting pride.
So how exactly do you go about starting an art collection, and what about getting that eclectic, collected-over-time-and-from-a-wide-variety-of-places look? First, start with what you love. I'm constantly on the lookout for art that catches my eye and makes me stop my busy day just to stare at it for a minute. Second, browse the internet and look for recommendations from blogs and online magazines for unique sources. Speaking of blogs and art sources, here are a few places that make me pause from my speed-surfing on the web to take a second glance.
Kate Lewis Art
How do I describe Kate's work beyond: I LOVE IT!? It has a wonderful combination of tradition (the French style chair frame, for example), fun, whimsy and charm (it's striped and floating). Visit her website HERE to view her online gallery and read her blog HERE where she chronicles work-in-progress.
Another great source is Daily Painters where original paintings from a large number of artists in a wide range of styles and subjects are showcased, most priced very reasonably.
This painting called Plimoth Watch is by artist Chris Greco and is for sale for $183. Details HERE.
Figs by artist Jonathan Aller is another beautiful example of the kind of work available at Daily Painters. Details HERE and Jonathan's blog HERE.
The pastels, above, Nantucket Red, Carolina Coast, Bird Nest are by Karen Margulis. Visit her gallery HERE.
Sometimes you have to "weed-through" what you find, dismissing plenty of work that you find unattractive, boring or even downright distasteful, but then you find something that makes your heart say, awww...
My Number One by Kim Roberti HERE.
Etsy is another place where you'll frequently find great deals on beautiful art. Right now, Art by Karena is hosting a giveaway of an antique print of decorative capitals from the Etsy shop Design du Monde.
If you want to check out local artists, take a look at the walls of local eateries in your city. Some bistros and other restaurants will decorate the walls of their establishments with works from local artists that are for sale. When travelling, visit local art galleries and look up dates for local art festivals in the spring, summer & fall.
Of course, don't forget to check out the artistic talent right under your nose... or under your feet. Commission a painting from one of the children in your life. My mom had two paintings framed that I created at age 5 on a sunny kindergarten day armed with an easel, bright paints and a fat brush. If nothing else, they're still an amusing conversation piece.
This is my daughter's 2nd grade rendition of George Rodrigue's Blue Dog. It always makes me smile.
By the way, how is the shopping going? Art makes a great last-minute Christmas present!