Thursday, September 23, 2010

Why I am an Art Collector

Central Moravian church
approx 2.4" x 1.6" (6cm x 4cm)
graphite on paper
©2010 Stacy L. Rowan

As I work to prepare for my Open Studio I've been considering the question of why I buy art. I found it an interesting exercise so thought I would share my answers here.

I am somewhat ashamed to admit that my first purchase of original art was catalyzed by the re-decorating of our family room. How cliche, right?

But truthfully I had had my eye on a couple of artists whose work I loved for a few years, and the re-decorating project supplied me with the excuse I felt I needed to allow myself to buy original works of art.

What attracted me to these two artists is the way they use light in their paintings. One painting I bought is of a rocking chair sitting in front of a window. The other is of an exterior door in Alexandria, Va. But in my mind, the true subject in each painting is the bright sunlight.

The light in each of these paintings stops me in my tracks even now. It calls my attention and demands that I take a closer look.  And when I take a closer look I find new things to thrill me and make me fall in love with the painting all over again.

Sometimes it’s a delicate change of color on a wall, or a subtle altering of value in a shadow. It might be a nice sharp edge in the foreground or a soft edge that quietly connects two elements in the painting. I marvel at knowing the hand of an artist created these subtleties. I appreciate his skill and try to infer his technique.

The act of making  these new discoveries also does a few other things for me.

One it reminds me to be present. If I can still make discoveries in these paintings after looking at them every day for years, what would happen if I looked closely at other objects or even the people in my life? What would I discover if I was fully present? What am I missing if I am not?

The second thing these paintings do is allow me to escape from the hustle bustle of daily life. Both paintings are of simple subjects bathed in light. There is a calm about them, a quietness. While I am studying them I am transported somewhere else, someplace relaxing. Ahhhh…

It’s similar to reading a good book. A good book can feel like a mini vacation. It can capture my attention so fully that I don’t hear what is going on around me. Looking at a painting can provide the same effect. A moment or two of peace to collect myself.

Lastly the way the light in the painting turns a regular everyday item into a beautiful object of art reminds me to be mindful of the simple beauty and blessings in life. It is a tangible reminder to approach life from a place of gratitude.

Now that I know what it is like to live in a home with original art on the walls, I no longer need an excuse to make an art purchase. My art collection represents so much more than just a group of pretty pictures.

I am sure the reasons people collect art are as different as people are from one another. Why do you collect art? I’d love to hear what your art collection means to you.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Autumn is Here!

Hello loyal readers! I'm zipping in today for a quick update in case some of you were wondering if I was extending my summer break into the autumn months. As lovely as that might sound when my alarm first goes off, by the time I'm fully awake I find that I'm happy to be back in the swing of things.

Much of my time right now is being put towards preparing for my Second Annual Open Studio (details below). In addition to matting up some paintings that have been patiently waiting in the "complete and ready to mat" pile, I have also been trying my hand at some miniatures.

I seem to have picked up quite a collection of little, bitty frames. Their cute size and agreeable price make them hard to resist. And although I only pick up one or two at a time, their numbers have multiplied to a point that I could no longer ignore them.

So I've been sitting down with my charcoal and graphite pencils and having some miniature fun! The timing couldn't be better since these pieces will allow me to offer some lower priced original works at my Open Studio.

Echinacea Buffet
charcoal on watercolor paper
3.5" x 2.5"
©2010 Stacy L. Rowan

Now about that Open Studio... It is being held this Friday, September 24th and Saturday, September 25th in my home (because that is where my studio is). Unfortunately, since it is in my home, I'm not comfortable opening up the invitation to the general public. While I know that all of my readers are normal, sane people, there are some ... ummmm ... let's just say less sane people out there on the internet.

I promise I will share pictures and an update of the event and throw in a little extra surprise to make it up to you. Think of it as a virtual version of the Open Studio.

If you happen to be a local collector, and for some reason did not receive your invitation in the mail, please drop me an email. My address can be found in the column on the right. Thanks!