A collector kindly sent me these home installation views of my paintings. I love the arrangement of these pieces with personal photos and other art. Integrate and Regrowth are paired together and Efflorescence is centered between a photograph and a wall sculpture.
I’ve compiled a summary of information for those that own art or are thinking of buying a piece but have a few questions regarding the care of artwork.
Tips for Hanging and Arranging Art
Before putting holes in the wall, get someone to hold pieces up so you can take a step back and see how they look. Otherwise, you can trace the outline of each piece onto Kraft paper and cut it out. Then tape the outlines to the wall using blue painter’s tape. This will allow you to move the outlines around until you are happy with the arrangement.
When hanging a single piece on a wall, the center of the image should be about 56”- 60” from the floor. The larger the piece of art, the closer to 56 inches it should be.
When hanging a pair of works, one above the other, treat them as one large picture regardless of their individual sizes. Find the center point between them and use the 56”-60” rule.
For spacing between art on the same wall, use two inches between larger pictures. If they’re all smaller works, use an inch and a half between them. The same rule applies to the spacing above, below, and on either side of each frame.
When hanging art pieces above furniture, the grouping should ideally be about 2/3 the width of the furniture below it. (For example, if an art grouping is being hung over a 60” sofa, the ideal grouping would be about 40” in length.)
When hanging artwork over a sofa or other furniture, leave 4”-8” of space between the top of the sofa/furniture and the bottom of the art.
Arranging multiple works can be done as a grid or the current method of clustering varieties of styles and frames together. These arrangements can be small or take up the entire expanse of a wall. They can even be arranged from floor to ceiling. Start in the middle and work your way out.
Unique Ways to Display Art
Hang art above a shelf of personal objects and collectibles with similar colors to the artwork
Divide a group of frames on mounted picture ledges. Lean and overlap frames; stagger the height of the frames for visual interest.
Highlight a particular work of art by hanging it against a contrasting wall color
Use the “rule of threes”: odd numbers of objects are usually more visually interesting. This works with both symmetrical and asymmetrical arrangements.
Consider the shape and size of your wall surface. A long narrow wall would be a great way to spotlight a tall work of art or multiple small pieces. Even the smallest wall space can be utilized as long as the art is the right size and scale for the area.
Try creating a gallery wall in your stairwell for visual impact
Display a collection of works in the corner of two walls
Hang works centered along a single line just above eye level and let it wraparound to the next wall
A variety of styles and frames can be unified when sharing one wall of color together
Try displaying art on a slanted ceiling
Hang art along the staircase itself
Display art on the back of a door (just be sure the art will not hit the wall when the door is open)
Hang art directly on bookshelves
Try displaying small works of art above door or window frames
How to Create a Gallery Wall in a Small Space
Even if you live in a small space, there’s no need to limit your art collection. A gallery wall is a great way to display your collection and can make a bigger statement than just a single piece. They can provide a small space such as a stairway or a bathroom wall with a strong visual impact and really pull the viewer in. Gallery walls have a personal feel because they consist of works you’ve collected over time, possibly during your travels, and they may take a little time to fill. For this reason, you could opt to do a gallery wall in a more private space of your home. Otherwise, you can simply arrange a small collection together and rearrange as pieces are added over time.
Should Art and Color Scheme Match?
Art can match your color scheme, but it certainly doesn’t have to. In fact, art with a contrasting color scheme can add a visual point of interest to your décor. It can add a pop of color to a neutral color scheme. A colorful work of art can liven up an otherwise boring room.
It would be best to collect what you love first (especially since original art means there’s only one available) and figure out the wall arrangement later. You can always rearrange your collection as pieces are added. And if you really feel the need to match your color scheme, you can always add accent color items such as pillows or lampshades that match a color or two in your art.
Track lighting and recessed cans are the preferred types of fixtures for lighting artwork because of their flexibility for aiming at artwork. Recessed lighting with adjustable heads have a clean look, however they are not as flexible as track lighting.
MR-16 low voltage bulbs are popular for lighting art because of their compact size. They emit a small amount of UV rays which are filtered by the glass lens that comes with most MR-16 fixtures.
PAR 30 bulbs are larger than MR-16s and have a standard screw-in base. They are commonly used in recessed cans and track lighting.
Incandescent flood lights are not suitable for art lighting.
UV light rays are present in sunlight and small amounts in fluorescent and halogen lighting. They cause fading and should be avoided as much as possible.
Light placement should be set so that the light strikes the wall at 30 to 45 degrees, measured to a point at eye level on the wall, approximately 60” from the floor. So for an 8-foot ceiling place your track or recessed cans 20” to 36” away from the wall and for a 10-foot ceiling, 42” to 60” away.
Tips for Hanging Art in Sunlight
Truth be told, the best way to hang art would be in a cool, dark area void of any windows or fluorescent lights. However, this is completely unrealistic and while some works like watercolor cannot be exposed to sunlight, there are some that can withstand some sunlight.
Oil and acrylic paint can typically withstand sunlight, with very little fading. There should be no bare (unpainted) areas of canvas showing, though, since sunlight can damage canvas.
Works on paper such as watercolor and photography should never be hung in direct sunlight. Even indirect sunlight can cause fading. UV plexi glass frames can minimize damage but will not prevent it entirely. It would be best to hang these pieces in an area such as an alcove without windows. Indirect sunlight would need to be limited to no more than several hours a day.
How to Move Art Safely
You should always pack fine art yourself. If you’re using a moving company, they must have experience with fine art, and provide references if at all possible. To be safe, though, it would be best to do it yourself.
First wrap the art with glassine paper, taping the paper to itself (not on the art). A clean cloth (free of any stains or dyes that could transfer) can also be used, especially for sculpture. Cover with a few layers of bubble wrap and hold in place with packing tape. Before boxing, cover the bottom of your box with tissue paper or Kraft paper, place art inside and continue to surround the art with more paper along the sides and top of the box. Be sure to mark the outside of the box as fragile and with “up” arrows as needed. Purchase crate or mirror boxes, or see if your local art supply or home décor store has any extra boxes they would be willing to give for free.
Art is sensitive to heat and humidity, so unless you are using temperature-controlled storage during the move, it needs to be relocated as soon as possible. Letting it sit in the box to acclimate to the climate for a day or two is fine, but it should be removed from the box soon to prevent any warping.
If you have a large collection, you may want to consider hiring a professional art handler. Find someone with many years of experience moving art. If you are moving far, use a company with climate-controlled trucks to avoid any damage from heat or humidity.
Sometimes I receive installation images from people after they’ve hung my work in their home. It’s always nice to see my work again and how it looks in its new space, plus if it’s been included in groupings of work by other artists, that’s always nice to see. So these are a few shots featuring paintings from my In Our Veins series and Beneath the Surface series.
I recently became the proud owner of one of local artist Donald LeBlanc’s totems. It’s from a collection of wooden totems he produced- I believe this one is #4 (?) from 2010. Needless to say, I love the piece. While in the gallery, I did not immediately know where I was going to put it, but I knew I’d find a spot. Keep in mind my home is currently in transition and many rooms have yet to be painted. I quickly discovered that I had many possibilities for this sculpture. With five colors in it, I found that either one or several colors were a perfect or close enough match to existing colors elsewhere in the decor. The fact that it is wooden also works with an existing collection of wooden folk art objects that I own. Even the size allows for many possibilities because it’s roughly 7 inches tall (just guessing off the top of my head). Not to mention that once all the walls are painted to more neutral and muted colors, it will allow for even more options. After moving the piece to various locations, I finally settled on the bedroom. It just so happens that my accent wall is similar enough to the base of the piece that it works.
I titled this post ‘serendipity,’ but really, when it comes down to it, there is no accidental good fortune involved. We are visual creatures. We respond in different ways to various colors or patterns and will gravitate to particular ones. Take a look in your closet or in your home and you will find that there are certain textures, colors, and/or patterns that tend to repeat themselves. Which is why when you are drawn to a particular work of art, what attracts you to it is probably the same thing that attracts you to other aspects of your life. So the real question is not whether a work of art matches your sofa, but whether or not it matches your life and desires. Does it evoke the feelings you wish to have when you walk in that room? Does it bring you joy? Maybe it reminds you of a pleasant memory. That sofa you have may be comfortable, but it doesn’t carry the emotional weight of a work of art. And eventually your sofa will need to be replaced- that work of art will be in your home and that of future generations forever. Don’t worry about whether it matches. It will. If a work of art speaks to you, you can’t possibly ignore it. It was meant to be.
As some of you may know, I do not offer prints of my work. I’ve only ever had a handful of people ask me if I make prints of my paintings, so I’ve never felt it was a popular item. I even took a poll and people were 100% interested in Original Work only. Many would rather have a small painting than a reproduction. With that said, I thought it would be useful to give an overview of prints for those of you on the fence about offering prints or if you are looking to purchase a print.
First, the term “print” has become a bit muddied. I use the term print here because that has become the common understanding, however, print actually comes from the process of printmaking. Printmaking involves creating an image by etching, drawing, or carving on various media such as wood, copper, linoleum, stone, fabric, etc. and inking the design before pressing it by hand or through a printing press to transfer the image. The original work used to create the fine art print is created by the artist and destroyed by the artist afterwards. Hence, the edition of prints is limited.
Digital prints, reproductions, or giclees are printouts of an existing artwork, usually printed by someone other than the artist, and are never truly limited as anyone can print the image again since it is digital. (There is no plate to destroy.) Regardless of the quality of the reproduction, these type of prints do not go up in value as they are not an actual fine art print. In addition, many of these prints are not even produced with the original work of art present, therefore the colors in the printout will vary from the original.
That being said, I am an artist and having actually studied printmaking as part of my college curriculum, I do have a bias for original art. However, if you are a fan of Van Gogh, for example, the only way you can feasibly own an image of his work would be through a reproduction. Be sure to look for high quality, archival materials- meaning they will hold up over time and not fade- when purchasing your prints. Prints can fade easily not only due to UV exposure, but also humidity, temperature, and even the air.
So next time you are considering a fine art print or a reproduction, here is a glossary of terms to look for:
Aquatint: A process imitating watercolor or wash drawings by etching a microscopic crackle on the copperplate intended for printing.
Artist’s Proof: An early set of prints pulled for the artist’s own use, marked as A.P. Sometimes (10-30%) higher in value than the regular edition prints.
Drypoint: Engraving technique, especially on copper, in which a needle is used for producing furrows having a burr that is often retained in order to produce a print characterized by soft, velvety black lines.
E.A.: (epreuve d’ artiste) French for Artist’s proof.
Edition: A number of art prints of the same image, all the same size and as close to identical as possible.
Etching: Image created on a metal plate, glass, etc., by the corrosive action of an acid instead of by a burin.
Giclee:Printed artwork or photograph produced by using a high quality digital inkjet printer.
Intaglio: Incised carving, as opposed to carving in relief.
Linoleum Cut (or Linocut): A relief technique using linoleum rather than wood.
Lithography: Image created on a flat, specially prepared stone, with some greasy or oily substance, in which printing ink sticks to the greasy areas.
Mezzotint: A method of engraving on copper or steel by burnishing or scraping away a uniformly roughened surface.
PA: (Prova d’Autore) Italian for Artist’s proof.
Silkscreen (or Serigraph): a printmaking technique in which a mesh cloth is stretched over a wooden frame and the image is painted on the screen or affixed by stencil, and printed by having a squeegee force color through the pores of the material in areas not blocked out by a glue sizing.
Woodcut: Carving into a block of wood in which prints are made from the inked relief areas.
I was inspired to post a poll question on Facebook after a few recent requests for prints. As of now, I do not have prints available and have always been iffy on the subject. The inquiries and sales of my work have all been original paintings, which is my own personal preference since I have an art collection myself. However, I have to ask:
What do you prefer to own? A large print (let’s say 11″ x 14″) or a small painting (we’ll use my paintings as an example, the smallest being 5″ x 5″)? Or would you rather save for a large painting you’ve had your eye on? I’d love to get as much feedback as possible to get a more accurate account.
I recently purchased a wall sculpture by Fred Daspit and thought it would be nice to share some photos of a few pieces from my art collection. I spend a lot of time showing my work, meeting other artists, and obviously hanging out in galleries, so it’s no surprise that I’d get the collecting bug. It’s one thing to hang your own art in your home, but to have work from other artists in different styles and media is entirely another.
As I was taking photos, I started to consider why I purchased these particular works of art. Given the fact that I am an artist, I thought it might be interesting to consider collecting art from the buyer’s perspective. Obviously I enjoy the art in my collection and find it aesthetically pleasing, but clearly there’s more to it than that. So what drives one to buy art? I think this is something all artists, myself included, have asked ourselves at some point in time. I don’t know that there is any one answer, given there are different buying
“styles” out there. However, I do think there are a few common traits amongst buyers. As I said, I buy art because I like it and most people like the art they purchase (those that purchase art solely as an investment may not necessarily like the work).
As an artist, I also understand the value of art. I’m well-aware that it took a hell of a lot of time to create that masterpiece I’m about to buy, and it’s only fair that the artist is paid for their time and skill. I don’t give away my work, so I certainly don’t expect anyone else to.
Another factor is liking the artist. It’s not just about liking the work, but also liking the person behind the work. I have purchased from artists I never met, or met after the fact, but most works are by people I know and like. Those I don’t know personally have a good reputation amongst the art community, though.
Lastly, the fact that these artists are in the public eye on a regular basis serves as a great reminder that I should buy their work. And when I say public eye, I don’t necessarily mean they are featured in the news or received some big accolade. It could be their personal emails to me or a postcard invitation to a show. Anytime I see their name, it just reminds me of their work and the fact that I would like to own a piece.
Some people buy on impulse, some buy because it’s just a great deal, but I think it’s safe to say that all of us should get out there and meet and greet if we want to sell art. With that said, if you would like to see and learn more about my work, be sure to check out my website at www.AmyGuidry.com.