Sunday, July 17, 2016

Art Collecting 101: Tips for Getting Started, Part II

In Art Collecting 101: Tips for Getting Started, Part I you'll find advice on hunting with an open mind, collecting with or without a spouse/significant other, art and decor, plus more.

This installment (Part II) includes where to shop for art and other resources for gaining art collecting know-how.  Hope it helps! I didn't cover everything originally promised for this issue BUT a really neat painting in progress is calling my name in the studio. (Hope you don't mind.)

Where to Shop for Art
A scene from the back of our easels at the Quick Draw Sale at Plein Air Easton 2016


Plein Air Festivals/Quick Draws

Since I just returned home from participating in Plein Air Easton's Quick Draw in Easton, MD, pointing you in the direction of plein air competition exhibits to start your collection is at top of mind. People sure had a great time watching artists start and progress through pieces that were then immediately judged and offered for sale. (I received an honorable mention -- a third prize award in the non-competition artists segment of the Quick Draw for my piece "Moonvine Alley" by Judge Tim Newton -- a 25-year collector and Chairman of the Salmagundi Club in NYC. It's still available for $650 through my web site.) If you missed a major event in your area -- most event web sites will link to artists who participated there in the past ... and those artists are likely to have pieces painted there. At this year's Rittenhouse Square Art Show in Philadelphia, a visitor united the owner of a Victorian home with a painting I'd created the previous year in Wayne Plein Air. You never know.

Gallery Art Walks/Studio Tours Local to You
A peek through the window at the Artists' Atelier in Great Falls, VA.
I share a studio at 756 Walker Road, Great Falls, VA with nine other artists at the Artists' Atelier in the Village Centre. This year, through December, we are one of three joint studios on the Green that are open on First Fridays Art Walk in the Village, 6-9pm where collectors can join the artists, enjoy the latest art off the easel and start their night on the town. Something like this is hopefully going on near you. What a great way to connect to the local artists community ... and you may have some great artists as neighbors. Get to know them.

I'm also part of a group called Great Falls Studios that sponsors a Fall Studio Tour the third weekend in October with over 50 artists participating in home or joint studios in a variety of mediums. Check your local or state arts organizations for similar events.

Online: Blogs and Web Sites 
Be selective here so you don't get tired of us ... but sign up for email newsletters or subscribe to blogs of artists whose work you love. Blogs generally contain more regular updates including works in progress or daily paintings or art news. Visitors to my blog at: get the story behind the art when it's freshest in my mind. Email newsletters are more infrequent -- monthly or quarterly for "bigger" news. (You can subscribe to my newsletter through my web site:

Most of my personal online sales come from collectors who have seen my art in person or purchased from me in the past. The biggest obstacle is being able to get a feel for the piece's presence when viewing it online. If someone is interested in a piece, I correspond with them as needed ... taking photos to show how the piece is framed and to scale with something else to help the purchaser get a better sense of how it will appear in their home.
I've also purchased plenty of art online from individual artists' sites. So, I trust shopping that way personally and have been totally satisfied.
There are also plenty of sites out there that sell on the aggregate, representing many artists -- selling originals or reproductions. I'm not an expert on those. It seems a bit overwhelming to me.
Fine Art Festivals -- Finding One Near You
Booth visitor at the Wickford Fine Art Festival in Rhode Island
This one's not complete but here's a calendar of some top festivals -- locations and dates -- brought to you by You can also search by location to find one near you.  Of the ones listed, I'll be at the Shadyside: Art Festival at Walnut Street in Pittsburgh on August 28th & 29th and the Alexandria King Street Festival in Old Town Alexandria, VA on September 17th and 18th. But I'm also going to be at the Loveladies Fine Art Festival on Long Beach Island NJ on July 23 & 24 and the Armonk Fine Art Festival in Armonk, NY on September 24th and 25th. Best bet: if you enjoy shopping for art at festivals -- get on the mailing lists of the artists you love. I definitely want you to know if there's an art event or festival coming to an area near you. (Hint. You can sign up for my email newsletter at and see a list of upcoming events at: I would rank this as a pretty terrific way to shop for art, especially at one of the top festivals in the country. You see a good representation of an artist's favorite pieces in their booths and each booth is set up as a mini gallery. It's one of the easiest way to take in a lot of different styles, mediums in a vibrant setting.

"Market Day," oil, 36"h x 48"w went home with a collector who'd been searching for years for a major piece ... she found it at the Wickford Fine Art Festival in my booth ... in her hometown.
There are obviously lots more options ... places to find and purchase original art. This is a start to bring out the art hunter/huntress in you.

Publications for Art Collectors
American Art Collector Magazine: Monthly high quality magazine with interviews with collectors, spotlight on living artists with upcoming shows, focused guides to different art markets. 
Fine Art Connoisseur Magazine: Also focused on the collector.
More Advice -- Different Perspectives
I'd really like you to become a collector of my work ... and you won't find it in these spots ... at least not at this time. Still, here are other resources that offer advice on building your collection of original art. I'm also not endorsing these sites for a way to purchase art. Just don't have personal experience with them.

Zatista - an online art collecting source for original art, with an ART 101 advice section on art collecting here.

Invaluable's In Good Taste Blog article: How to Start a Fine Art Collection

Do You Have Other Tips to Help New Collectors or Stories to Share?
Please do! Add a comment to the blog or send me an email at:

Shonnie Johnson (we'll see how many of you know that connection) suggested considering displaying art on a decorative easel in the foyer or corner of a room if you're short on wall space ... but even if you're not. Great idea!

Thanks for reading!


Phone: 703.403.7435

May through December:  First Friday Art Walk, 6-9pm, Artists' Atelier, 756 Walker Road, Great Falls, VA. The Atelier is also open on Wednesdays, noon to 4pm and Saturdays, 10am to 2pm (or whenever an artist is in there working.)
June 21-August 15: "Fresh Fare: the Still Life Show" Solo Exhibit, Triny's, Great Falls, VA.  14 of my original still life oil paintings on exhibit at Triny's Tex-Mex Grill in Great Falls.
July 18-29: Salmagundi Club's Non-Member Painting and Sculpture Exhibition, 47 Fifth Ave, NYC. "Heart of Telluride" accepted into exhibit on view in the Upper Gallery.
July 23-24: Loveladies Fine Art Festival, Loveladies, NJ (on Long Beach Island)
August 27-28: Shadyside: the Art Festival on Walnut Street, Pittsburgh, PA
September 17-18: King Street Art Festival, Alexandria, VA
September 24-25: Armonk 55th Annual Outdoor Art Show, Armonk, NY

No comments: