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.


Leslie Hawes said...

What a great post!
I fall into the "I just like it" category of art appreciation. Your post made me aware of how much more there is to gain from owning original art.
I had heard some of those exact sentiments from folks who have my art, but it hit home coming from an artist who is also collector.
Thanks, Stacy!

Stacy said...

Thanks Leslie! I was surprised when I really thought about it how much owning original art meant to me, which is why I decided to share.