Art and You (this is an article I
wrote for a Vancouver magazine)
are like most people, visual art is not even on your
radar screen. Paintings to you are something to hang over
the fireplace in order to achieve that 'designer look'.
Visual art, you think, is something only the rich, the
snobbish and the sophisticates buy. Stuffy art galleries
using various sales gimmicks to justify their high prices
sometimes reinforce this view.
Art is much more than that and it can be to you as well.
You do not need an art education, grounding in art
history or a ton of money. Appreciation of art has to do
with developing your sensitivity to it, which, in turn,
expands your perception and so enriches your life. Visual
art is called "visual" for a reason - you
should not need pages of explanation in order to
understand the work's message. The impact of a work of
art is usually subtle, so you have to quiet yourself and
allow the work to 'speak' to you. If you let it, it will
affect you in a unique way that cannot easily be
described by words - remember, it is visual, not written
art. The impact will depend on the quality of the work as
well as on how far you have developed your sensitivity.
Some art is designed to shock but this is mostly because
the artist is trying to get noticed by art dealers and
What we are talking about are original works of art, not
prints or reproductions. I believe that an artist
transfers some of his/her life energy into an original
painting, as well as some element of 'universal energy',
which is what makes the painting a work of art. When you
stand in front of a painting by a true master, such as a
Picasso, for example, you can feel his energy vibrating
from it - the painting is alive.
So how do you develop this sensitivity? Spend some time
looking at art - ideally, go to major art museums, or
even a variety of art galleries will help you understand
what kind of art you respond to. While the selection is
limited locally, the Internet is a good medium to do some
research and find out what style and type of art appeals
to you the most. Remember, all art is subjective, what
you like may not appeal to others. When you find out what
kind of paintings you like, you can focus on those and
maybe even read some art books. As for buying, keep in
mind that galleries charge about 50% commission and so
double the artist's prices. While payment by installments
is usually available, many artists are self-representing
and not affiliated with a gallery and can potentially
offer lower prices. The main thing is to know what you
like and let that guide you. Art critics have
historically been mostly wrong and buying art for
investment is akin to gambling.
My own paintings are vibrant, sensual and expressive. My
inspiration can come from almost anything: the shape of a
tree branch, the curve of a human body, a cloud, a melody
or a story. I carry this inspiration with me as I keep
sketching and experimenting until I arrive at an image
that is my artistic response to that inspiration.
Painting itself is like a dance, it has to flow
effortlessly and naturally, and it does, provided I can
lose myself and connect to the creative flow.
I regularly post my new paintings on my Web site:
http://members.shaw.ca/martisart/ where my buyers can
stay in touch with me and purchase my art. I have had a
very good response so far and have been selling my work
steadily, mainly to buyers in the USA, but also around
the world. By selling directly rather than through an art
gallery, I am able to keep prices low and am gratified by
the enthusiasm and joy of those who receive my artwork.
They always say that the original is so much better than
they even imagined. That is because the photos of
paintings they see on the computer do not radiate the
energy of the original. I also periodically exhibit in
All art copyright by
Back to my art gallery