Buying An Abstract Painting
You may be mistaken in thinking that buying a piece of abstract art would be a simple thing to do. You just select the work you want... and buy it!
The truth will creep up on you as soon as you look at the first painting "it is not quite the right one, so I will look for another".
Here is the first realization - and question to ask yourself - why exactly is this piece you are looking at "not quite right"? The answer can be manifold:
1. It includes a colour I do not like
2. I am not sure it will go with another item in the space I would like to place it
3. A slow realization that a certain personal undesirable association is being emitted from the painting
4. It looks great but I am not sure it will fit the space
5. It is just right but the price is a little bit more than I wanted to pay... and the list goes on.
Although I do not have all the answers I will endeavour to reveal, from my own personal experiences, a few solutions.
So, you see a picture you like but the colour combination is wrong. Put simply the thing to do is to contact the artist and tell them your dilemma. You will find that some of them will either be able to reproduce a similar work in the colours you prefer, or they will be willing to notify you when and if they produce a work that might be nearer to the colours theat you require.
If size is an issue then I would advise the same as above - contact the artist and tell them the problem. I believe you will receive a similar reply to that which I have written above.
Make sure that when you do make a purchase that the artist is offering a return policy. I have a ten day return policy which means that if you buy a painting and hang it in your space - if within ten days of purchasing it you become uncomfortable with it for any reason and you cannot live with it, then you may return the piece and your money will be returned. An important point here worth mentioning is the fact that you have made certain decisions on buying this piece of work, therefore it is worthwhile mentioning it to the artist which will enable them, if they so inclined, to produce a work that has omitted the undesirable entity. This way you may well end up with a work that will be of greater value to you - having communicated your dilemma.
Price can be a tricky challenge - but many artists offer different ways to help you buy the piece you want. If, for instance, the piece you like is too expensive for you then you have a number of choices. Perhaps the most preferable choice is for you to negotiate the price with the artist. However, please bear in mind that the artist has produced a totally unique painting - there is nothing like it in all the world! Also spare a thought for the fact that the artist will have spent time struggling to get the work out onto the canvas. A well known saying is that a piece may well have taken only a few hours to produce, but you should also take into account the years the artist has been at work - so if someone says to me "it can only have taken you three hours at the most" I reply "no... it has taken me FORTY YEARS and three hours!" If you keep these in mind then negotiate with what you might see as a realistic price for you and a price that will have taken the above into account for the artist.
Some artists will not barter prices - but they may be willing to sell you the work if you pay by installments. You have to ask yourself here "Do I REALLY want this piece?" If you answer yes then you will find the money... because you want to - you want the work.
Let us say that you see an artists work - you love the style - you would very much like to have a painting on your wall... but you see nothing that grabs you. Try contacting the artists and commissioning them to painting you a picture... this way you may be able to influence the end result by instructing the artist to use certain colours, or specific shapes. Or if they are not inclined to work that way then they might put you on their mailing list that will inform you when their latest piece is about to go on show - you will be offered "first refusal".
One final thing worth mentioning is the fact that a growing number of artists are making their works available as high quality giclee prints. These reproductions are very close to the original work, and some of the reproduction houses actually ensure that every brush stroke has the appropriate texture and "feel". So in many ways you could purchase a work that is almost identical to the original piece except for one very big fact - the price of the print. The print will be of a limited edition, making it a collectible investment - and it will have been checked, numbered, and signed by the artist.
If none of the above proves to be useful to you then the simplest thing to do is contact the artist and just talk to them, tell them what you think of their work, what you are looking for - anything... just communicate with them, and I think you will find that you will not only buy yourself something that you will love and cherish ... but you will also bond with the artist themself in a way that you could never do if you walked into a place selling paintings and chose a piece hanging on a wall.
About the Author: Tim Seaward is the author of "Buying an Abstract Painting". He is also a practicing fine artist living and working in the UK. Visit his site to find out exactly what he paints. http://www.ablot.com or mailto:tim at http://ablot.com (replace "at" with "@" for the actual email address).