Buying, Collecting, and Framing Art for Your Home

Buying, Collecting, and Framing Art for Your Home
Anna Horsnell

That iconic first view of Cape Blomidon from the 101 highway. The landmark tree marking your approach into Kingsport. These are signs of home to many: familiar, reassuring, pleasing. It’s that type of connection that often attracts someone to a piece of art. Perhaps it is the simple beauty of a painting, the dramatic effect of the photograph, or an emotional response to that piece of sculpture. The decision to buy art is personal.

In conversation with Simone Labuschagne from Wolfville’s Harvest Gallery, she offered suggestions for those interested in purchasing art. With a wealth of professional artists in the province, the choice is wide and varied. What do you like? What attracts you? What is your preferred style? Describe the space where you hope to place the art, and of course do you have a budget in mind? Your answers can help the gallery suggest ideas, and if you are a collector, the gallery can guide you in the right direction to a particular style, or artist. Harvest Gallery also offers an approval program that allows you to try a piece of art in your home before purchasing it, or if you prefer, they will help you choose and even assist with hanging the artwork. “Don’t hang it too high,” adds Labuschagne, “and make sure it speaks to the other pieces in the room, providing balance.”

Ron Hayes from ArtCan Gallery and Café in Canning also shared his thoughts about purchasing art. His advice? Choose what catches your attention. That personal connection is important. “There is a level of education with buying anything,” he explains, “and buying original art is an investment.” He recognizes that entering a gallery for the first time can be intimidating for some people, however most galleries actually provide a friendly and relaxed atmosphere. “A chance to slow down, learn, and enjoy the work,” he smiles. ArtCan also offers an approval process to try a piece of art for a week, as well as an art rental program. Owning that special piece of art you have your eye on is doable.

The frame on a piece of art can often make or break the overall impression. Rick Penney from Rick’s Frame & Art in New Minas has tackled everything from limited edition prints and original paintings to family mementos and (technically not art, but notable none the less) a signed tail rotor from a helicopter flown by Prince William. His advice on framing artwork? “Frame the art for the art, not for the room,” he emphasizes, “If the piece is framed well, it will go with the room. It doesn’t need to match the room itself, and individual pieces don’t need to match each other. Just make (the art) look good. Have fun. Art is a joy of life.” The frame should complement the artwork, not distract from it. Other important considerations can protect or greatly increase the longevity of your artwork as well, such as using proper materials like acid-free matting and conservation glass. If the cut edge of the matting stains brown, that’s a tell-tale sign the material is not acid-free, and the artwork may be damaged over time. Penney offers other sage advice regarding lighting, “Keep everything out of direct sunlight if you can. It’s the level of brightness, even if not direct sunlight. The very thing that allows us to enjoy art can destroy it.”

Original art is something to be treasured as an integral part of your home and the atmosphere you hope to create. That favourite painting or piece of sculpture can also become a special memory of home, passed down for future generations to enjoy as well.

Thanks to Harvest Gallery, 462 Main Street, Wolfville; ArtCan Gallery and Café, 9850 Main Street, Canning; and Rick’s Frame & Art, 9325 Commercial Street, New Minas.

Image: Family Tree by Ronald Hayes