Scared to buy Original Art?

Are you are an intelligent, affluent, sophisticated consumer who knows nothing about contemporary art or how to buy it? Believe me, you are not alone, and it is not your fault. The art market is intimidating, confusing, and rife with over-priced rip offs.....

You are justified in being confused and cautious. Most of my neighbors think nothing of spending thousands on window treatments, but are terrified of buying a $500 piece of art. Unlike other cultural experiences, such as the theatre or dance, buying art is not a transient event. If you make a mistake, it hangs there on your wall proclaiming to the world your lack of taste. This fact scares the hell out of most people which is why they stick with their posters from college or pictures they pick up on vacation. Thus, you often see exquisitely decorated houses without good art. Decorators are no help either; they are just as intimidated and unsophisticated as you. But - never fear -

The Art Lady is here to get you started.

Learn About Art, Learn About What You Like, Learn About Yourself!

Actually, there's only one step - LOOK, LOOK, and LOOK some more. The quickest ways to get started are:

Surf the web for images - There are millions of wonderful web resources (Click here for some of the most important links to good art

Use Local Resources -Visit local fine art museums and libraries. Every town has a local museum associated with the city or a local university. Local libraries have art books and magazines to browse. Take courses at local universities, attend lectures sponsored by local art organizations and museums. As you fill your eyes and mind with images, here are some things to think about:

"I don't know anything about art, but I know what I like". This is probably the most common phrase an art dealer hears. To a certain extent, it is true, but remember the corollary - "The more art you see, the more you know what you like."

Everyone has a different reaction to the images they see, depending on their personal psychological makeup.

Look at all different styles of art with an open mind. As you do, write down the names of the artists you like the best.

This bit of advice from my wise friend Jeanne Frank whose new book, Discovering Art : A User's Guide to the World of Collecting is a wonderful source for beginning art aficionados. After a while, you'll notice the works of art that appeal to you all have something in common. It may be softness, boldness of color, or a color itself. Perhaps you are attracted to blues, grays, or a compositional element such as the consistent use of deep space. Maybe there is a subject matter that unites all the work to which you are attracted such as landscapes, realism, abstraction, still lives, or florals. When Jeanne first analyzed what drew her to a work of art, she realized that it was pictures of people. As she says - " It's as simple as that!"

VISIT THE LOCAL GALLERIES- Find galleries through listings in the local papers and local arts organizations. While these galleries might have the best of your local artists try to avoid the tacky galleries. (Click here to learn how to spot a tacky gallery)

ASK QUESTIONS when visiting galleries - questions such as "Can you tell me about the artist? Do you have other things by her that I may look at"? Ask whatever questions you can think of, and don't let youself be intimidated even if you're dressed in sweats and sneakers.

SIGN GALLERY GUESTBOOKS - You'll receive notices of art openings. Most art openings are casual affairs and it's easy to meet collectors, the artist, and find out more about the local art world. Openings are a great opportunity to ask more questions. People in the art world love to talk and give out information. 

SUBSCRIBE TO MAJOR ART MAGAZINES -Here are links to some of the best!