Vindicator Logo

DECOR Learn how to choose art and to showcase it

Sunday, February 29, 2004

Decorate the room around art that you love.
COLUMBUS, Ga. -- Jennifer Campbell just liked how the painting looked.
It was nothing more than a couple of pears, painted in green, blue and yellow hues, but it caught her eye.
"I've ended up decorating my whole kitchen around that one piece of art," she says.
Artwork shouldn't be hidden in a corner. Paintings and other original art reflect your personality and should be carefully displayed.
"It's a journey," Campbell says. "You start with something that catches your enthusiasm, then you build from there."
The process begins with choosing the right piece of art.
"Art is something that gives you joy to look at," says Geri Davis, a Columbus, Ga., artist. "Putting something on the walls automatically brings life to a home."
Original art, in particular, can make a bold statement.
While it's more expensive than prints, a handmade painting shows an artist's one-of-a-kind inspiration and creativity.
"You know you won't see that piece in any other home," Davis says. "It's an investment."
Browsing through art galleries and art shows is a good way to meet artists, discover their sense of style and learn about your own likes and dislikes.
When you see a piece that calls out to you, buy it, Davis says.
"Don't buy something because it matches your sofa," she says. "Buy it because you can't live without it."
If you enjoy an artist's work but don't see a piece that you're crazy about, he or she may work within your budget to create something specifically for you, Campbell says.
"Start building a relationship with them," she says. "Down the road you might pay for one of the more expensive pieces."
Now that you have a piece you love, find a place to display it.
Often people hang a painting near a window so natural light will illuminate it.
But sunlight can create a glare, making it difficult to see the image. It can also damage the paint.
"If it's a water color that can be bad," Campbell says. "If the glass isn't UV protected, the painting can fade."
She suggests choosing a spot away from windows. Then light the painting with either a spotlight or track lighting, which makes a dramatic impression.
The larger the painting, the more dramatic the effect. However, the painting should fit the space.
One of the biggest mistakes people make is misjudging scale.
"Don't hang a small painting on a large wall," Campbell says.
When set against a large background, smaller pictures get swallowed up. Keep them in a tight corner or narrow space, she says.
If you're hanging a painting behind a sofa, be sure it fits the horizontal length.
"Take it to the edge of the sofa," Davis says. And if the piece isn't long enough, think about hanging several vertical paintings side by side.
Keep in mind that there should be at least 4-12 inches in between paintings. Pictures placed above a mantle or table should have 4-8 inches of space between the frame and furniture.
"That way if you put down a piece of pottery or vase of flowers, it won't interfere with the art," Campbell says. Instead, it will just complement the piece.
Once the painting is in place, you can play with other ways to enhance it, Davis says.
The easiest method? Color.
Drawing colors from the piece and incorporating them into throw rugs, chairs, accent pillows, window treatments and even wall paint is a sure-fire way to magnify a painting.
"If there's any red in a painting, your eye will automatically search out other red accent pieces," she says.
Like Campbell's pear painting, a piece of art can literally drive the decor of a room.
"You can even pull out colors for tile flooring or wallpaper," she says.
But it doesn't have to happen right away.
Between redecorating and buying a piece of original art, your pocketbook may take a hard hit.
"It's a process," Campbell says. "It may start with just buying a few accent pillows. Just take it a step at a time. It's a journey."