Bright or dark. Small or large. Modest or outspoken. It's hard to find an art category with more diversity. No matter the style or theme you're looking for, there will be a painting for you.
>First art category that comes to mind? Yes, paintings. It is the best known category that can be found in the art world. But please, do not confuse “best known” with oldest or most common. Most common would be prints and the honours of oldest would be either drawings or sculptures. With that knowledge, how come that paintings are still the best known category?
The reason is that paintings are a lot more than something pretty to hang on your wall. The act of painting has always been one of the most powerful tools people have to remember events, people, landscapes and so on. Before photography was invented, drawing and painting were basically the only tools people had to capture their memories. Hence that paintings play such a vital role in our history. There is so much to learn from them. They teach us about historical battles, castles and warlords. But also about religions and how they changed over time. And about people. In the olden days having your portrait made was an important part of upper-class culture. It allowed you to show off your wealth and your family. People stood still for days to make sure the portrait master captured them in just the right way. These portraits give historians tremendous insight into who played important roles in history’s key events.
These days paintings are less about capturing historical events and figures and more about expression of feelings, emotions and opinions. This twist is actually quite recent. A century ago it was considered quite vulgar to paint anything that wasn’t found in the physical world. Therefore, the first abstract artists were not celebrated as they are now. Piet Mondraai was one of the pioneers of abstract, or spiritual art. In his own words:
“Art is higher than reality and has no direct relation to reality. To approach the spiritual in art, one will make as little use as possible of reality, because reality is opposed to the spiritual. We find ourselves in the presence of an abstract art. Art should be above reality, otherwise it would have no value for man."
It took a lot of guts and setbacks to break with the establishment, but Mondriaan managed to do it. His work influenced architecture, fashion, design and more. He managed to go from outcast to cultural influencer before his death in 1944.
Paintings are found in all shapes, sizes, colours, styles and so on. The key difference is the style. It basically defines the artist’s intent. There are many, many different styles to choose from. We already talked about abstract paintings, but other popular styles are pop art, street art, neo-expressionism or even money art. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The main thing to remember is that there are no wrong choices. Just different tastes. You should always take your time to discover yours.
Style might be the big one, but there are so many aspects that are important to paintings. Materials and mediums for example. Every artist has preferences when it comes to creation. A lot of artists love the thickness and the high quality of oil paint. Especially abstract artists who want to create different textures and depths in their paintings can’t get enough of the stuff. Another very popular medium is acrylic paint. Especially pouring artists use it. This is due to the fact that acrylic paint is very liquid and can be used by simply pouring it on a canvas. This might sound simple, but it’s not. Creating a high quality composition by pouring acrylic is an art not many master.
It doesn’t matter what your preferences are, there will be a painting that you love. The main quest is to figure out what your preferences are. There are many questions that you can ask yourself, but it is better to experience it. Experience the difference between abstract and pop art paintings. The ones created with acrylic and the one created with oil. Once you have enjoyed this quest it’s time to start thinking about where you want to start your collection.
Your emotions have guided you towards a style. Now it’s time for a bit of rationality. Ask yourself where you want to expose your new painting? Is a huge white wall or maybe a smaller space in an already quite busy interior? These are important questions to figure out which shape or size you should get. Hanging a very small painting on a huge wall will not do it justice.
Last important thing to consider before you can add a new painting to your collection is the price. There is a painting for every wallet. Always ask yourself how much you can spend. Even though investing in art can yield tremendous payoffs, you do have to consider that your money will be frozen for some time. And, parting with a stock portfolio is a lot less emotional compared to parting with your painting. You might not want to sell it at all.
If you need any help with selecting your new painting let us know! We’re happy to help.
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