What I Get for Taking Time Off

I spotted a great all-around stand up paddle board for fitness paddling, touring, river running and light surf; it has a 6 in. thick design with more air volume for larger paddlers. I have to tell you about it. Suddenly I got excited about taking a rare vacation off from my art enterprises and this board set my mind going. There is always room in your garage for an inflatable SUP. You can also throw it back in the car or even take it on an airplane as you jet off for a new adventure.

The one I like has 280 liters of volume and the board provides, so they say, optimal performance and stability for paddlers who weigh up to 240 pounds. If you know what double sidewall construction is, you also know that it increases durability and streamlined appearance. The performance according to reviews rivals a hard board so why not go inflatable. It rolls up compactly after you deflate it; thus it is easy to transport and store.

This board has PVC construction that is really heavy duty and which can stand up to abrasion and considerable abuse. A foam deck pad gives you a nonslip surface for riding control. Wait…there’s more. Nylon fins flex in order to absorb impacts without breaking. You can interchange fins as they are removable. This means in effect that you can customize your board to suit the kind of water you are riding. Tracking and turning can be just the way you want. When you are ready to go home, you use the inflation/deflation valve. It will work reliably every time. To tote the deflated board with ease, there is a sturdy handle in the center of the board, which means no hassle carrying. There is also a handle up front and on the tail. These assist in holding onto the board during a swim. Plus, D-rings allow for various options if you want to attach a gear or a leash. A carry/story backpack comes with the board so you get your money’s worth. You can add a high-pressure pump as an accessory, a valve adapter, and a handy repair kit. So now, let’s get going.

And I did. I was out on the water trying multiple times to stand up for a longer time on the inflatable SUP. I spent quite a time at it and got better in a couple of hours. I was starting to get tired and knew it was time for safety reasons to take a break. One more ride, I said however. It was the last one of the day. I will tell you why. I fell off at an odd angle and twisted my leg causing my ankle to swell and hurt. Yikes. I was a goner and done for the day. I rode to shore on my stomach and hobbled to my waiting terry beach towel not a few feet away. I rolled up in a ball of pain. But I won’t avoid riding again one day. It was great fun.

Protecting Investments

When you visit museums, you might notice some little machines sitting in a corner or two that clock the room temperature or that also purify the air from dust particles that might cling to paintings and damage the surfaces. Art is a precious commodity and you can’t expose it to the elements. It is a known part of art conservation to ward off the invasion of dust. It is interesting that few people do this at home, even if they have a reasonably sized art collection of their own. They just don’t know what it takes to keep a collection intact. It is not a matter of dusting with a feather duster now and then, although that can help. I am the wiser and have purchased an air purifier for dust control, not for allergies and odors. As any homeowner knows, it collects fast in nooks and crannies, cracks and crevasses, before your very eyes. What it does to art would surprise you. It takes its toll over time requiring some expensive cleaning and maintenance by the experts.

Art is an investment, one of the seven basic types that includes bank accounts, stocks, bonds, real estate, currencies, commodities, and tangibles like art. As such, you want to maximize your profits if you intend to sell it, rather than just enjoy it for itself, at the top of the market. If it isn’t protected, it could lose value if it becomes damaged. An air purifier is an easy enough device to own for this purpose. If you have allergies or are sensitive to smells, it will serve you in multiple ways. Collecting art is a responsibility. You monitor your stock and bond portfolio, don’t you, checking price movement, etc. You also want to monitor your art, whether it consists of works on paper, paintings, sculpture, or ceramics. Part of monitoring is to watch for dust accumulation. This is particularly important for delicate paint surfaces, especially oils. You can protect your collection with careful scrutiny. If you haven’t added an air purifier to your arsenal of protective tactics, by all means do so now. They come in all sizes and prices so you can select the perfect one for the size of the room that houses the bulk of the art. If you store things in an attic or basement, get one for that area as well.

Art collecting is not for everyone. It takes a keen eye, a willingness to pay the price for quality, and an effort at preservation. If you satisfy these requirements, you may well be the perfect candidate. Most people enjoy art on its own terms as a powerful expression of emotion emotions and aesthetic skills. They aren’t always in it for investment profit. Dealers are the ones who know how to market and sell art at the prevailing prices. The average art buyer is not in this realm. It doesn’t mean you won’t look at art collecting as a professional endeavor. If so, buying an air purifier may be your first act as such.

Recreating Gallery Conditions at Home

Collecting art is a passion for many, whether at the home or the office. It is a calling to be sure. You acquire examples from a given time period, artist, or style to create a microcosm of the world’s inventory. It takes a practiced eye, some significant funds, a place to hang and store the works, and the will to proceed. I cannot say enough about forming a collection as a pastime.

I have been known to indulge myself so I have developed some tips and tricks over the years. Some pertain to cataloguing a piece and establishing provenance, or the history of ownership. Others have to do with understanding materials, methods, and the chemistry of inks and paint. For the latter, you begin to learn the role of conservation of your collection to keep it in tip top shape. It is all about preserving the pristine nature of any particular work of art.

You can recreate gallery conditions at home with a little research and foresight. First, however, you will want to frame your art for protection. A frame around an oil painting, for example, creates a visual edge and also prevents damage during transport. Matting, glass, and a frame for a work on paper enhances its image and also creates a barrier with the world at large. Once the works of art in your collection are in situ in your home, you then have other issues at stake. For me, living in a humid climate, I need to control the environment and the degree of moisture in the air. This can damage works on paper in particular, causing foxing and mold spots. Since these are difficult to repair, it is best to combat the problem with advance preventatives.

A dehumidifier is the device I use to do the job, just like galleries and museums. You often see them sitting inconspicuously in the corner. A console model that is portable and rests on the floor or a cabinet is fine. The size to select depends on where you are housing your art. If wall mounted and stored art are in the same room, you need to figure the square footage overall. If the entire premise is involved, you need a larger “whole house” model. In any case you want adjustable controls and all the bells and whistles.

Dehumidifiers are often used in basements to control unhealthy air quality, mold, mildew, and allergens. When dealing with an art collection, it is a bit of a different matter. You are not so concerned about breathing comfortably and restoring health and well-being. By contrast, you are preserving inanimate objects. The principle of operation, however, is the same. You can eliminate the spread of mold colonies (and related odors) while you dry out the environment. Any art collector who cares about maintaining the quality of the contents should purchase the correct one.

Don’t confuse the sister appliance, the humidifier. It does just the opposite and spews moisture in the form of steam or mist into the air. You may need this for a child with asthma, but as for the priceless things in your possession, it services no real purpose.

An Interesting New Voice

One thing I enjoy when buying a piece from a gallery show is meeting the artist. I love to be able to ask questions about interesting art and finding out the artist’s inspiration. I’ve gotten excellent advice on display locations, lighting tips, and other ideas on how to highlight pieces from talking to their creators.

There was a piece that caught my eye. It had lots of swirls and dots in a myriad of colors. It didn’t look like it had been thrown onto the canvas but it did not have any kind of brush strokes that I could see, either. It was very intriguing, colorful, and evoked a sense of creativity and energy in a way that I haven’t seen before. I was fascinated and asked if I could speak to the artist before purchasing the painting. It turned out that the artist was there, she was only a few feet away. As a matter of fact, she was happy to chat with me.

I asked her about the painting that caught my eye and she told me that it was a “manifestation of a heated discussion” between herself and a friend about politics. She represented the swirls, and he represented the dots. On the things that they agreed on, the colors were the same. For the ideas that they clashed on, however, she used contrasting colors. Her face lit up and she animatedly used her arms to gesture at the different aspects of the painting.

Then I just had to ask her about how she was creating these fabulous techniques and she started to laugh. She tried to say it was privileged information but then relented and told me her secret: she had the best air compressor for paint sprayers, a really old model – they just don’t make them like they used to, she tells me. She works in a large warehouse slash studio and runs an electric air compressor to operate a pneumatic air gun. THAT’S how she’s able to make the swirls and dots without any brushstrokes! There were no brushes! I couldn’t believe it when she told me. It was such an interesting concept to me. I would never have thought to use something that I consider to be so industrial and labor associated with fine art, but somehow she can do it.

We chatted some more about her workspace, her motivations, and her recommendations on where to hang it–she was disappointed that my kitchen walls weren’t wide enough, but I assured her that it will fit in the dining room. She was incredibly pleased with this idea once I told her about my frequent dinner parties with friends where we have fairly intense discussions of our own. She told me that she wouldn’t have allowed them to sell it to me if I didn’t have somewhere to display it that was in the spirit of the painting. Interesting, huh?

She even offered to let me come see her create another painting, and of course, I took her up on it. She assured me that her workspace is large enough that I won’t get covered in paint (although she did admit that I will have to wear protective gear as that there is something of a “blast radius” for the paint) and that the air compressor isn’t actually all that loud when it is running. This is very exciting; I love seeing the process one goes through to create fine art!

Repairs in a Pinch

The viewing room in an art gallery is a very elite place to be. Most important ones have them. If you are a prospective client and are taken there for a private showing, you are in luck. You will get absolute attention, flattery, and concern for your every need (plus some free coffee). The everyday lookie loos (most gallery visitors) do not merit this advantage. They have to see what is on the walls (the current exhibition) or at best they can invade the “back room” where the storage of art is the main purpose. Usually you can’t go in alone and there lies the difference in degrees of personal treatment. Gallery staff are notoriously snobbish! Just try getting past that young receptionist who just got her MFA and has something serious to prove. The chip on her shoulder is of a monumental size.

For the elite, the viewing room has to be a nice comfortable space off to the side of the main showroom, and should be furnished with a small sofa strategically placed in front of a large blank wall. There should be few distractions (maybe a sculpture on a pedestal in one corner for an effect). Often there is a glass door. The desired works of art are brought in by gallery helpers one by one for the final judgment process. The director assesses the response and silently signals these helpers to stay put or proceed as the reaction dictates.

Of course, everyone is hoping you, the prospective client, will make the right decision and show your good taste by selecting among the tangible candidates offered be they paintings or drawings. It is okay to ask to see more of course. It is part of the gallery experience and everyone should get a chance to participate.

I remember being in one noted gallery where a rather portly client sat on the sofa and ripped the fabric of the arm cushion as he tried to squeeze into the chair. It made a distinctive sound, but there was only the merest hint of awkward silence before the director dashed off to some unknown hidden arsenal and returned in a flash, with a special upholstery staple gun in hand. In seconds, the tears of cushion fabric were quickly reunited and everything returned to normal. Without another word, the showing of art proceeded without another hitch. This is one tool you should keep around for quick fixes! You might have to reattach a piece of canvas to the back of a wooden picture frame or affix a poster announcing your next show to a wall. Who knew the lowly stapler could save people’s jobs.

Collecting art is very enjoyable, particularly when you can make the gallery rounds on a regular basis. If you frequent the same places, the staff will get to know you and welcome each visit. If they know your taste, they will brings special things out for your review. Once in a while, you might get treated to the viewing couch; and if so, savor the unique experience. It means that as a collector, you have truly arrived.

Surprise gift from a friend

When you collect art, you develop a fine-tuned eye for perfection in everything. You learn what makes for quality and what degrades to schlock. Your expectations are on high. In fact, you start to get picky about everything in life. Whatever has an aesthetic dimension is a target for taste. I, for one, accept no compromises.

Sheets are no exception, which is why they come in extraordinary thread counts of Pima or Egyptian cotton. People who want the best expect silky softness, durability, and strength. No holes allowed, even after several years’ time. No fraying of edges, no pilling, and no fading of color. In short, you get what you pay for, and it can run in hundreds of dollars. Good things cost!

Fortunately, I got a set of fine sheets as a gift from a friend as a surprise for a birthday. They are superb! My critical eye has found no flaws. I always expected drawings or paintings to provide such thrills—not mere utilitarian items. Who knew you could be so pleased with an expanse of fabric. You feel like inviting people over for a touch and feel, just as you would for a new acquisition. Too bad sheets are under wraps beneath the duvet and not open for public inspection and adulation.

All my old sets are folded neatly and removed from the closet. Those in tip top condition are going to Goodwill or a charity for a donation. The others are toast. How can you go back to basics when you h have had the best? I will have to think of a really nice gift for my friend in return on the next special occasion.

Good things come in small square sheet-shaped packages in pretty patterns and colors. I could rhapsodize forever. Sometimes making a fuss over nothing is fun. I am used to going on about a color palette, shape and form, composition, and space. I am fond of evaluating brushwork, a fine line, and exceptional light and shade. This time I am into texture—the tactile wonderfulness of a sheet. The feel is on the body should be subtle and never harsh. How do people put up with ordinary cotton?

If you want a splurge that will impact you every night, I would vote for high-end bamboo sheets. People skimp on strange things. Of course, I wish they would spend more on real art instead of posters, too. But seriously, it can be amortized to next to nothing over time. Think of it as pennies of day and no more. Every time your bare foot hits the bottom fitted sheet, it knows the nature of the sublime.

I hear that there is even something that is 1500 thread count for just a single ply. Can you imagine? It would be like sleeping on a cloud. Egyptian cotton in any case is warm in winter, cool in summer, and super eco-friendly. So it hits all the buttons when it comes to linens. They are readily available online for about $125-150 per sheet. You want the same quality for your pillow cases, of course. You face also deserves a heavenly treat.

Why Do People Feel the Need To Collect Fine Art?

People always find it difficult to explain their hobbies to the people who do not necessarily share them. Many people who are not sports fans are baffled by the existence of people who are cheering at the matches, and it’s going to be tough to explain to them why buying all of the memorabilia is so important. Collecting fine art has the advantage of being one of the more respectable hobbies that people can try, but that doesn’t mean that fine arts collectors are never in a position to defend their interests.

Some people aren’t interested in art, and some people would have a hard time justifying the time expenditure involved with collecting anything to themselves and others. As such, fine arts collectors are still going to be in a position to explain to people why they do what they do.

People have been compelled to create art since the beginning of time for a reason. It’s a way of externalizing emotions and modeling the world in a way that would be difficult otherwise. Art allows people to communicate with one another in a special way that lacks many other parallels. The people who create art are putting something of themselves out there in a way that other people can understand.

The individuals who collect art are the people who are fascinated by the creations of these self-expressive people. Self-expressive people have messages to send to the world, and arts collectors want to internalize these messages and make them their own. Creating art and sharing it with other people is ultimately a highly social exercise, and it is a social exercise that many people can conduct for years.

Being a Collector in the Twenty-First Century

If you want to get started on art collecting today, you’re going to be in a much better position than the people twenty years ago, let alone thirty years ago or more. You can find a good portion of what you’re looking for online. You’ll be able to join entire communities of online collectors who are all interested in the exact same topic and the exact same niche. You can swap tips with one another, and you can get the sort of introduction to collecting that you’d never get under other circumstances.

It’s easier to find information on the fine arts that you will want to be able to collect today. Gathering information before the Internet was basically a minor form of detective work. Today, you can investigate a particular painting that you might want to purchase much more easily than you would have ever thought possible. Having access to the right amount of information can help defend you against forgeries, which are a common hazard in the antiques trade.

Antiques dealers will sometimes try to pass off forgeries as the real thing, and the smaller vendors are going to do so with even more gusto and less shame. On the one hand, these people are going to be much easier to weed out thanks to the advances associated with the Internet. People can avoid the unscrupulous antiques dealers altogether, because they can easily read customer reviews and learn the truth about the establishment before they use their services.

Many people are interested in spotting a simple formula for finding the right antiques dealer. Often times, however, the answer involves getting established in a community that is interested in antiques. These people will be able to point their friends towards all of the best antiques dealers, thus allowing them to take shortcuts. The people who these folks revere tend to become well-known in the first place because people in the antiquing circles recommend them to their friends and to their fellow hobbyists. The people entering those circles for the first time should try to locate the individuals who more or less already rose through the ranks to become well-known within a niche.

One of the great things about antiquing and fine arts collecting in general is that it is a set of hobbies that has been around for quite a while. There’s a lot of unexplored territory when it comes to the hobbies that were created during the Information Age. The only real unexplored territory when it comes to fine arts collecting and antiquing is how all of it is going to be affected by the Information Age and the people who are involved with it.

Becoming Skilled at Antiquing

Becoming Skilled at Antiquing

Before people can truly become skilled at antiquing, they need to know a lot about the areas that they’re interested in studying. People who are only superficially interested in say, Victorian art, aren’t going to be able to recognize the real thing very skillfully. They also won’t have that much appreciation for the real thing even if they do manage to actually get their hands on it. Antiquing really isn’t for the fainthearted. You need to have a certain amount of passion and discernment in order to truly manage to become good at antiquing in almost any niche.

When it comes to fine arts, you should know a lot about materials, art tools, and techniques and how they apply to the eras that interest you. You should know what kinds of artwork were popular in a given era. You’ll be able to recognize authenticity that much more easily that way, and you’ll be able to weed out all of the forgeries.

Learning about all of this stuff is going to help you feel really immersed in your hobby, which is part of what you should want in the first place. Knowing about all of the tools that were used to make the artwork that you love will help you feel a lot more connected to it. Knowing about how the artists actually went about creating the art is going to have a similar effect. When you know about the styles of artwork that were popular in a given era, you will learn something about that era in the process, making you feel as if you’re a part of it in a way that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise.

Really, you’re becoming skilled at antiquing to make sure that you actually succeed at getting the real thing when it comes to antiques. However, you’re also becoming skilled at antiquing in the sense that you’re really learning what the hobby is all about and why people feel compelled to hold onto these artifacts of the past in the first place.

The Line Between Commercial Art and Fine Art

Many of the people who are not heavily involved in the art world may be somewhat uncertain how to separate commercial art and fine art. Indeed, plenty of the people who are actually in the art world are going to run into the same problems, because there’s a degree of subjectivity in this enterprise. In some cases, the answer is very straightforward. No one is going to question that art from Vincent van Gogh is fine art, since he is considered one of the most important artists in history. With the more recent artists, the situation can become significantly trickier.

However, while art is subjective, there are still limits to subjectivity. There’s a reason why certain works of art become popular and why certain works of art become obscure. There are also reasons why people will end up preferring certain works of art over others. The fact that art is subjective but not too subjective only makes the situation more complicated than it would have been otherwise.

Thomas Kinkade is not regarded as being a fine artist. His works have sold like hotcakes, and many people consider themselves fans of his. However, the people in the fine arts world have a tendency to look down on the works of Thomas Kinkade. The fact that his work has been mass-marketed is going to alienate the people who pride themselves on supporting the work of artist who put a lot of effort into each individual paintbrush stroke.

Some of the subject matter of his paintings, with their idealized rural landscapes, is going to be off-putting for the people who love art that is more edgy and shocking. While a lot of modern art is stereotyped as consisting entirely of simplistic abstraction, people still certain paint landscapes today. However, these are landscapes that will involve a person’s own unique style. Many people think that painters like Thomas Kinkade cheapen their work by distributing it in this manner.

People can argue for years about what constitutes fine art and what doesn’t. However, there is a clear separation between the ways in which certain people approach art and the ways in which other people approach art. Many people will choose Thomas Kinkade paintings because they are purely decorative. Plenty of them will look pretty in someone’s living room, and they’re usually purchased on that basis alone.

People in the fine arts world will familiarize themselves with all sorts of different techniques and tools in order to truly understand art, and they will try to achieve a sort of academic mastery of the subject. The people who approach art from this angle are going to select different art pieces than the people who view art in a decorative context, simply because their knowledge base and the qualities that they look for in art are different. The difference between fine art and commercial art is very much a social construction, and a great deal of that social construction is a product of the behaviors of two separate groups as opposed to a quality inherent to the art itself.

All of the Different Types of Art That You Can Collect

Different Types of Art

When discussing the different types of art that you can collect, you will inevitably risk bringing up the debate about what constitutes art in the first place. This is one of those debates that will probably never be solved, and it tends to be the sort of debate that people will raise pretty readily. However, there are certain types of collectibles that will always get categorized as art, and certain types of collectibles that will frequently get categorized as art.

Everyone agrees that paintings are pieces of artwork. People might argue about specific paintings, but when people will talk about collecting art, they’re often referring to two-dimensional pieces of art like paintings. Most people will also agree that photographs and prints are pieces of art. Printmaking itself is a very broad sub-field within the big category of visual arts.

Photography is a much more recent art form. People will find photographs that are worth a lot of money in the fine arts trade, of course. However, most old photographs aren’t going to be anywhere near as valuable as the old paintings can be, for better or for worse. Many old photographs are more interesting to the people who collect historical artifacts and primary historical sources. The intersection between art and art history can be interesting, since art pieces are historical artifacts in their own right. This intersection becomes stronger when it comes to photographs, since photographs provide more direct evidence of historical events, given their relative accuracy.

The line between cultural artifacts and pieces of fine art can sometimes blur. Very old pieces of art and sculptures are generally regarded as cultural artifacts, and they aren’t usually categorized alongside things like Renaissance paintings. However, the exact point of historical divergence is debatable.

If you’re an art collector and you really like the products of printmaking, you’ll probably have etchings, lithographs, engravings, screen-prints, and woodcuts in your collection. You might also have added digital prints in recent years. To the untrained eye, some prints aren’t going to look much different from many paintings or sketches. While lots of people think that printmaking is modern, many of the most famous artists in history have dabbled in it, and woodcuts are very old art forms indeed.

Plenty of fine arts collectors will also collect sculptures. Three-dimensional art isn’t usually going to be as popular as two-dimensional art, however. People can hang paintings on any wall. Finding a place for one’s sculptures can be tricky, especially for the people who are actually intending to collect them. Making space for dozens and dozens of sculptures can be hard, especially if you’re planning to buy the large ones instead of the small ones that could be mistaken for figurines.

These larger sculptures will practically need their own display tables, which is going to be a tall order for most people. However, lots of fine arts collectors will dabble in collecting sculptures, even if they’re going to primarily focus on paintings and prints. The line between pottery and sculptures can become fuzzy at times, because some pots are constructed in a very elaborate manner that more or less makes their more functional aspects harder to use.

The line begins to get a little blurry when people consider the cases of figurines and crafts. Some people think that collecting little porcelain figurines is completely different from collecting fine arts. Other people think that these figurines are pieces of art in their own right, and it isn’t much different from collecting sculpture if people want to own these. People who exclusively collect figurines may feel out of the loop when it comes to fine arts collecting, but they’ll certainly be in the club if they have a more eclectic approach to fine arts collecting.

The situation also gets blurry when it comes to certain types of folk art. A lot of folk art involves crafts, and some people place those in a different category. A lot of crafts are more akin to recipes than individual pieces of art: a person can make several different copies of the same thing by employing a specific formula, which is very different from a painting that was not constructed according to any sort of pattern. However, these differences are also going to be considered academic at best to some arts collectors. The historicity of folk art draws a lot of people to it, as does its sheer authenticity.

Ultimately, fine arts collectors will have a lot of choices. They can fill their homes and their art collections with paintings and photographs, and they can supplement that collection with sculptures, crafts, figurines, prints, and pottery. The people who have a collection like this are going to be the folks who are appreciating the art world in all of its complexity, in stark contrast to many of the other people who enjoy arts collecting.