Monday, September 15, 2008

Buying artwork

This is an original acrylic painting. It's small - about 10 inches square. It's by a Filipino painter named Banang - I don't have his full name - and it's titled "Leaves." I bought it in 1990, at a small community art show, for $75.00.

And I didn't really have $75.00 to spare, exactly.

But I had to have it. I bought it, and I was very apologetic when I called [The Man I Love] and told him I'd written a check. We were a little tight for grocery money that week.

Twelve years later, I saw a watercolor that an artist friend had done. Without thinking, I said, "Rick, what would you sell me that for?" He named a price, I gave him a check. It was for a lot more than my "Leaves" painting.

But it was the same thing. I saw the work, my heart leapt, I had to have it. It made perfectly good sense to me.

When I bought my painting, my gut was telling me that owning that little 10" x 10" square of beauty and seeing its colors every day was worth taking peanut-butter and jelly sandwiches to work for lunch for a month.

Our home has other nice pieces of artwork. Some were chosen by me, others were chosen by [The Man I Love]. But it's only certain pieces that made us stretch, yearn, push, and take a risk to have.

And it's funny how those are the ones we treasure the most.

Now, I actually know people today who you would call "Art Collectors" for real, who own valuable pieces by artists whose names everybody recognizes. And when you read interviews with these people, they invariably say "I buy what I love" - not that they buy as an investment.

Do you suppose that even these collectors experience the same thing I did? Did that $3 million dollar Damien Hirst stretch the family budget? Did they have to cut back to accommodate an impulse buy?

Do you buy artwork? How does it feel when you recognize that special piece, the one you simply HAVE to have?


Lynn@ The Vintage Nest said...

There was a piece of art at a gallery at my all time favorite beach years ago. We were just married and didn't have much (any) money and this painting was priced at $ this was almost 40 years ago. That was a lot of money for us to spend and we did not get that painting. To this day Bobby G. and I still talk about that painting that we didn't buy but should have.

Queenly Things said...

I love your leaves painting and I am embarrassed to say that no, I don't buy artwork that stretches my budget. I don't think I trust my taste enough.

1blueshi1 said...

there's a huge event in Birmingham every year called ArtWalk with hundreds of artists and ALL price ranges from the thousands to the hundreds to the ten and twenty dollar photo prints that I can afford. I buy small pieces and they make me happy all year round on my desk at work and I dream about being more successful and affording the big paintings that I love to look at.

Liz said...

I just steal it off my mom's walls (she's an artist). :)

womaninawindow said...

I'm kicking myself now for not buying a small painting at our local Museum's show. I really liked it. Just short of loving it. But it's the support to that artist that I'm regretting not giving. I had some photography in the show and I kept reasoning, I have to sell a couple to cover my costs. If I buy something I'm undermining myself. Stupid! Stupid me!