JULIE CHRISTENSEN Portraits and Landscape Oil Paintings

Frequently asked questions about buying.art


























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Buying art can be scary, because the investment is usually substantial and people’s tastes can change.  If you are thinking about becoming an art owner, but worried about making the leap, check out these frequently asked questions.

Q.    How do I choose a painting that’s right for me?

A.   The best thing to do is go with your gut.  If you look at a painting and think, “This makes me feel good,” you’re on the right track.  Ask yourself three questions: “Do I love this painting?”  “Is the size right for the room I want to hang it in?”  “Is the piece in a price range I can live with?” 

Q. How do I know how much money to spend on a work of art?

A.   Only you can make this decision.  Think about how much you spend on other luxury items:  computers, cars, entertainment systems, stereos, and vacations.  Put the cost of the painting in perspective.  People buy new computers for $1000 – 3000 every five years or so.  A painting is a lifelong investment.  It won’t wear out or need more memory! 


Q. Why do paintings cost so much money?

A. Paintings can seem expensive.  You may think that the artist is charging too much.  Few artists are rich, however, and the following example will explain why.  If you buy a painting worth $2000 from a gallery, the artist generally gets half.  So, at $1000 a painting, if the artist paints 20 paintings a year, he or she will make an annual salary of just $20,000, and closer to $14,000 after taxes.  None of this takes health insurance or IRAs into account. For oil paintings, which dry slowly, paintings can take an average of two to six months to complete. I average about five good painting a year. You do the math and decide for yourself if you still think a $2000 painting is overpriced.


Q. Is it wrong to buy art to match my furniture?

A.  No, of course not.  Just as a good framer will choose a mat and frame that compliment the painting, a green couch (for example) might enhance a pivotal part of the artwork, even draw your eye up to look at the piece of art.  When you consider a painting, it’s important to think about the space you’re going to hang it in.  Is it a small area or large?  How high are the ceilings?  What color is the wall?  Is there a lot already going on in the room (curtains with busy prints, other pieces hanging on the walls)?  When you consider a piece of art, you need to consider the space you plan to display it in.  This doesn't mean that you say to the artist, “I'll buy this if you will paint that corner green to match my sofa.”  Most artists are pretty sensitive people, and it helps to remember that paintings are personal and meaningful to them. 


Q.  How do I care for an art piece?

A. Oil paintings are easy to care for.  You basically just dust them.  It’s best to keep them out of direct sunlight and to avoid moisture.  Oil paintings are not displayed under glass, so unlike watercolors, they are easier to transport.  Wrap them in blankets and plastic wrapping when you move.  You can even dust (gently) with a damp sponge from time to time.


 Q. What are my responsibilities as an art owner?

A. By law, you are not allowed to alter your painting in any way.  That means that you can’t paint over part of it.  Although you own the painting, you are not allowed to make reproductions and sell them, unless you are given permission by the artist or the artist’s estate.

 Q. This page didn't answer my question.

A. Email me and I'll try to tell you what you need to know.

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contact: juliechristensen@gmail.com

all images and content are copyright 2003 Julie Christensen