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Celebrating the Past, Present & Future

Time to buy art? Here’s how!

By Holly Harman

Are you thinking about buying a piece of fine art or print, and aren’t sure if you’re making a wise purchase? You want to know if you’re getting a good price and what it is you’re really buying. Is it an original or print? What is the medium? These are some of the many questions you might have and should have if you are going to be spending your hard earned cash. But don’t worry; there is plenty of good art out there for everyone and every budget. Getting educated first can really make that purchase a pleasurable one, that gives you joy the rest of your life.

A fun way to get started is by attending fine art and craft festivals. You can meet artists and talk to them about their medium (what materials they use to create with; watercolor, oil, pastel, clay, photography, etc). Find art; look at a lot. Read art books. Visit museums and galleries. If it’s a print, what kind is it? Remember, the smaller the number edition, the more potential it has for increased value. Look for quality.

On the money side of collecting, art has potential for great value and can be speculated on for investment purposes. But for a true collector, that should be about last on your list of reasons to buy. Look for mid-career artists with at least 10 years in the professional art market, usually painting full time. Although…buying art created by a talented emerging artist can end up being a great value, and occasionally one ends up with quite a valuable piece of art down the line.

The bottom line is, good art makes you feel something special inside, whether it’s an original, or a good reproduction. Make that feeling the most important part of your purchase and you’ll never go wrong.

Holly Harman & Terry Cosgrove are owners of The Art of Coffee a coffee shop and art gallery in Montross. Holly is an acclaimed watercolorist now living on the Northern Neck after spending her formative years in California art circles. Terry recently retired from a 30-year career as a Navy photojournalist. In addition to supplying the perfect “espresso shot” they are focused on painting and photographing the people and places that make the Northern Neck such a wonderful place to live.


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