How To Buy A Painting

“I’ll Know It When I See It”

 This phrase is well known to gallery owners and is often said by customers who have been searching in vain, and sometimes for years, for the perfect painting for their homes.

While “Eureka!” moments do of course also occur, when customers find the picture that they have always wanted, you can with a little thought and advice dramatically increase your chances of this happening for you ; significantly reduce the time and effort to do so ; and more importantly be confident that you have made the right choice. After all, you could be paying hundreds of pounds for a limited edition or original painting and will be looking and living with it every day…. so it’s crucial to get this right.

An oil painting commissioned from a photograph

To begin your search, say for a painting, you must first appreciate the shere numbers involved. There are thousands of artists, all with unique styles, producing multiple pieces of painting in different sizes each year in hundreds of different physical and online places. Galleries can only display a small fraction of this work at any time and photographs online can at best only be indicative of the true likeness ; so you really must see the painting before purchase to decide whether this is the one for you. Your chances then of finding your painting this way are extremely low as you visit numerous galleries and spend hours online, relying solely on random chance and blind luck to be in the right place at the right time. This is likely to be a very frustrating process !

You can however make your search much more enjoyable and easier if you can consider beforehand the major factors involved in any purchase of painting – budget, size, subject, colour and style – and decide on your broad requirements first, as these will help determine possible artists and at least allow you to begin looking in the right place and in the right way.

A visit to a large local independent gallery, such as Quay Art in Padstow, will help you considerably with this as we will be able to give you appropriate advice, show you a large range of paintings from a wide variety of artists and different art publishers – and not just those on display – and guide you to narrow down your requirements to a broad set of criteria that are both realistic and achievable.

Some brief points to consider are ;

Your budget is the key factor in determining the painting you can buy due to the wide range of prices ; it’s exclusivity eg. original work will typically cost more than limited editions ; and the reputation of the artist concerned as nationally recognised artists can often cost more than local artists. There also Interest Free Finance and Payment Plan options available that enable you to spread the cost of your purchase over time rather than making an upfront lump sum payment and these could also have a bearing on your available budget.

Artists tend to produce their work in certain sizes so the space you have available will influence the choice available to you. This will determine the overall framed size of a painting and whether it needs to be orientated in landscape of portrait format. You should always allow for a clear border of wall around your painting, say 15 cm, to help highlight the painting in your room.

The specific subject may be difficult to decide initially but a look at the broad categories of limited editions and original paintings available should help you determine what you are most likely to be happy to have in your home. This is particularly important for joint decisions between partners as your tastes and preferences may differ !

The Completed Commissioned Painting

It is also possible to Commission your favourite artist to paint to a size to fit the space available or to depict a desired scene or favourite location. Commissions are normally produced at similar costs to work already produced by the artist but you will need to be absolutely sure of what you want before going down this route. It is often best to find a similar painting in style, colour and size etc and also have a photograph(s) of what you have in mind in order to give as much guidance to the artist as possible, while still allowing them to add their own perspective and unique interpretation.

We at Quay Art are familiar with this process, particularly as we have our own Artist in Residence, and can help and advise you on achieving what you want. You should however note that not all artists produce commissions and it can take several months depending upon the time of year and their workload to complete the work.

The colour, or more likely palette of colours, of a painting is often something that is already a known requirement particularly if it is for an existing room. In this case, the painting will need to complement the main room colours. You should note that Quay Art offers local customers a Try Before You Buy Service which will enable you to hang your picture in your room to make sure it’s completely right before final purchase.

If you are building a new home or redecorating rooms then painting your walls in a neutral or white colour first is highly recommended. You can then live in the room and see how your furniture and painting fits before choosing to add any further colour onto a wall or walls. It is after all likely to be much cheaper to repaint a wall than to replace a painting.

As you consider the points above you will begin to narrow down your requirements and as a consequence also begin to select the style of painting you prefer which in turn will begin to identify some artists of more interest to you. A discussion and visit with us at Quay Art about these artists will then enable you to see whether their work, and similar work they may have produced before, is most appropriate for you.

While painting is a very subjective experience, the way in which you go about finding your ideal piece need not be so and does not need to rely on blind chance. Some early thinking about your possible requirements, together with the appropriate assistance and advice, will make your search far more pleasurable and successful. And even if  you do not find your painting immediately you will now be looking in the right way and are far more likely to Know It When You See It !

Call 01841 533 534 or Contact Us By Email for an informal chat.

A Contemporary Art Gallery in Cornwall