The Simple Guide to Art Collecting

The Simple Guide to Art Collecting

Since the dawn of time, people have had the compulsion to organize and be artistic.  I’ve stood in front of pieces and wept unexpectedly. I’ve stood in front of others and had a purely joyful reaction or abstract sense of wellness, or coziness from others. And yes, sometimes I stand and feel nothing.

Varnishing Oil Paintings

Varnishing Oil Paintings

Anyone who's done any research quickly learns that there are some structural problems that can happen when oil paintings are varnished before the three to six month drying time.

Of course, as artists that sell work, this is somewhat problematic. We don't necessarily like storing pieces for that long. Fortunately, times change. New studies and experiments happen. While I'm not a chemist or materials expert, I am a researcher-type and I'll share some art "street talk" about it here.

Making Giclees in Scale/Proportion to Originals

This is a brief post, just stopping in to make a public bookmark for myself, really. 

If you are going all in the canvas print market or just dabbling, one of the first challenges you'll run into is that the original dimensions of your paintings don't necessarily scale up or down to a popular sizes, i.e. easy to frame for most people. 

Below is a link to Century Editions, who has kindly posted a chart showing scaling options.

Link opens in new tab:

Canvas or Panel?

Canvas or Panel?

Looking for quick advice on how to choose a panel or canvas for oil painters? Read the post and click the blog post title to get to the video link.

Beyond Bob Ross- Relax with How to Paint Videos

So... I look up more about him, and sure enough, he was an art forger before he hosted his TV how-to show. I should have known. I have a "thing" for British art forgers, artists, and gardeners I guess. The accent, the paints, copying old masters, the flowers... ah... all so peaceful. And there's always Bob Ross:)

How Being a Small Town Artist Can Help Your Career


By Thimgan Hayden

I was talking to an artist currently living on an island in Alaska. A small island. They were struggling with feeling alone artistically and bemoaning the fact that, with so few people, there was little support for building a career there.

If you find yourself in a space like this, let me encourage you. You have a unique opportunity to own your niche! You are “the artist.” If you are one of a few artists, you are still the only one expressing yourself the way you do and you’re poised for a place of confidence.

If you are independently wealthy and an artist, that’s fantastic.

For the rest of us, I’m going to give us some tough love.

Are you blaming yourself for not being a “better” painter? sculptor, singer?

Let’s assume you’ve gotten some honest feedback and you know you’ve got something special. If that’s the case, stop blaming yourself. Your skill is probably not what’s holding you back. Everybody knows of some Grandma Moses or expressionist painter (I’m a painter so I mostly know about other painters) that became famous in spite of their unpolished art. There are lots of them! Breathe deeply! You can do this!

There are two ways that I can think of to stay alive and be an artist starting out:

Be financially supported by someone or something else.

Be willing to have at least part of your income come from some other venture/s other than your art.

Either one of these choices comes with a mindset that may take cultivating.

Your successful creative mindset is going to look like this:

*Relax and let your art be what it is and stand on its own. Don’t force it to bear all of the financial pressure.

*Most art comes from a place of plenty in yourself; physically, spiritually, or emotionally. If you force it to bear financial pressure, it puts unrealistic expectations on your fans and yourself.

*Be willing to understand that being an artist, to the public, is like you being a story, a theme, a collectible, in their life’s narrative! You, and your story, and your art bring them something that resonates with them and helps them tell their story! 

Because of this last point, I have come to accept and even love the “B” word- Branding.

In a small town, there is no one better at being you than you.

As long as your work/your story resonates with a group of people, you have the opportunity to take center stage easier than you would anywhere else.

If there is a distinct, unifying character to your town and the people that live there-even better! Try to tap into the subjects, the colors, the interests that pull a town together. If you’re a desert dweller, you’ve got sand, muted greens and bright sunsets. By waterways, you have blues and greens.

Most art consumers don’t go into the market with a check sheet of technical criteria.

Initially, your buyers or fans are drawn by your art combined with what you represent to them, then comes your increasing exposure and more people seeing or hearing your story, then come the credentials, the press, further exposure, etc. At some point, those scorecards may come out, but they tend to be judging your popularity, which may come from how you wield your technique, but a large part of that equation is the authentic you.

I hope you find this helpful in your journey. Peace.

Using Lead White in Oil Painting with Cadmium Colors

Using Lead White in Oil Painting with Cadmium Colors

Old masters' oil painting techniques fawn over the creamy, textural properties of white paint that contains lead. It dries quickly, has dreamy body (yes, still talking about oil paint), and has a certain warm silver cast to the color that adds an old master's look to your work. I was taught to be afraid of the paint interacting with other, synthetic paints, like cadmiums, but...

Love Story, Love Art

Love, love, love.

In addition to painting, I love reading and growing plants.  I used to read

a lot

when I was young.  My backup career ideas as a teen were Library Science and English Literature.  Like some of you may have, I quit reading fiction when I got BUSY.  A few years ago, my mom gave me a hardcover copy of “I Capture the Castle” by Dodie Smith (who also wrote the original 101 Dalmatians story and hit plays for the


stage), and I got re-hooked!

I like romantic stories and classics and some poetry, and that overflows into my painting life and always has.  One important piece of being an artist is BEING an artist; that is living life as a story.  The things I can control-doing my best to make them beautiful- and the things I can’t control- doing my best to make the most good out of them.

I’ve always loved reading artist’s biographies and journals.  I’m fascinated by the connections between what they painted with how they lived.  The more I know of their lives, the more emotion I pull from the work.  If I have a real life encounter with an exhibition of paintings by Manet or Cezanne, for example, I am powerfully moved-even if their work hadn't been of noted interest to me before.  There is something about connecting the story of their lives with their original work that I find so moving.  

I do a lot of thinking about "why buy art?  Why watch art?  Why make it?"

There is much I could say about this topic and I’m interested in what


have to say about it, and today I’ll just share this thought: Art and the making of it and the living of it is part of a story, the story of the maker


the story of the person who collects it.  At that point our stories meet and mingle.  The art expresses something of the buyer’s taste and experience that the painter shares with them.  The artist’s accomplishments become part of the collector’s personal story.  I LOVE this tapestry.  Story is so beautifully human.

Still Life Inspiration from Sir William Nicholson (1872-1949)

Still Life Inspiration from Sir William Nicholson (1872-1949)

 I almost have the feeling that he would set about to paint something and honestly not know how he was going to pull it off. I don’t think he had any doubt in his ability to pull it off, it’s more that he was unafraid of different techniques and even rather unconventional points of view- odd angles, even including rather odd items or compositional elements. His unique perspective makes his work feel fresh to me.

On Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Big Magic”

This week I’ve been reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s latest book “Big Magic-Creative Living beyond Fear”.  I haven't read "Eat, Pray, Love" or "Committed: A Love Story" or "The Signature of All Things" but I may.  
When I read, I’m not the sort of person that feels that they have to agree or disagree or come up with some sort of pronouncement.  It’s enough for me to get a golden nugget of information or inspiration.  I wasn’t always this way, but I am now.
I got really excited by Gilbert’s description of herself as a child.  She describes herself as a very fearful child that wished for example, when at the beach, that everyone there would come out of the water and read so she wouldn’t have to worry for their safety.   That is familiar to me.  My parents would agree that I shared some traits with young Ms. Gilbert.

She goes on to describe her encounters with the creative spirit.  She experiences an Idea as an entity that comes knocking, asking for you to help bring it to life, and if you pass on its offer, it’ll visit someone else.  She has some examples from her own life that are fascinating enough for you to go read them yourself.  Again, after getting over the strangeness of the concept, I had to agree that I have felt that sort of “magic” in my own life.  I found that after reading about Gilbert’s experiences, that understanding creativity in this whimsical way, for me, helps me feel less fearful as I step forward in my productivity, whether it be painting, writing, or doing business or making new connections.  I feel more aware when an Idea comes knocking, more conscious as I accept a project or turn it down.  And I’ve been doing it for years, but without the sort wakefulness that Gilbert has cultivated.

Featured Pieces November 2015

This is a quick blog entry here, to post pics of some recent pieces and

one piece

that is shockingly NOT SOLD that should be!  Look below!!

Several of the newbies make good pairings..

September Pastoral l (Trees), 20"x16" oil on panel $2400 framed

September Pastoral ll(Path), 16"x12" oil on panel $1400 framed

Snapdragons, Peaches, Pear, 16"x12" oil on panel $1400 framed

The Grassy Slope, 8"x10" oil on panel, $800 framed

Summer Pastoral with Grazing Cows, 12"x16" oil on panel, $1300 framed

Hill in High Summer, 13"x14" oil on paper, $250 unframed

First Light Over the Lake, 9"x12" oil on paper, $200 unframed

inquire through my website here

  if you'd like to ask about any painting above!  Already have a Thimgan?  Collector's discount honored.

  Maybe I shouldn't tell -in case I can get it back- but


 that I did last year, it's only $300 and it's


for keeping cell phone chargers and other oft used ugly items.  The box is available at the Water Street Gallery.  Tell them you saw it on my blog if you buy it:).



Art Collecting with Carole Pinto Fine Arts

When I was in Baltimore in August at the Antique Show, I was fortunate to meet

Carole Pinto

, a private dealer in French art and art adviser based in New York and Paris.  I was really taken with several of the little gems she had with her, but especially a small nude and a little canal scene painted in Venice around Sargent's time.  She spent some time talking with me and kindly sent me this article she had published in 2011 in Fine Art Connoisseur and said I could share it with her blessing.

Assembling a Collection in France by Carole Pinto

My inspiration for this article came after one too many strangers

exclaimed, upon learning that I am an art dealer, “I’d love to

buy art, but I can’t afford it!” 

(click this link to read on)

See the bathing woman 2nd from the upper left corner? and a little Venetian canal painting on the far left of the table?  Those were my favorites at this booth.  I'm a sucker for French art.  Most of my favorite painters are dead French artists.


 August 2015

I got home a few days ago from a road trip with my husband, Joseph, to visit a big antique, art, and jewelry show in Baltimore. I wanted to see if there were a lot of potential Thimgan collectors there, and I think there were. I may tweak my plans a bit, but I think I got some excellent feedback and met some really interesting art and antique dealers form all over the world.

Inside three days, I whisked through hundreds of booths of amazing art, saw some favorite pieces in the Cleveland Museum of Art, and visited the Brandywine River Museum, as well as an a tour of Andrew Wyeth’s studio which he used until his death in 2009, if I understood correctly. The Brandywine River setting alone was breathtaking…some pastorals will come out of what I saw there.

I’ve never been a huge fan of Andrew Wyeth’s exactly. I’ve read biographies on him and his dad, N.C. (Nowell Convers) and don’t deny the incredible force they possessed. I’m partial to N.C. and Andrew’s son, Jamie Wyeth’s work as I mentioned in a blog entry a few years ago. Again, Andrew’s work is utter genius, some of it is just darker than I…enjoy.. for lack of a better word. I saw the Helga exhibit in Maine when I was about 20 years old and I remember the emotional force of it today.

Cleveland Museum of Art, a stunner by one of may favorite painters, Henri Fantin-Latour

I went to the Cleveland Art Museum to see works by Chardin like this one, and Fantin-Latour.

I can never see too many Corot's!

A booth at the Antique Show in Baltimore

The N.C.Wyeth room at the Wyeth Museum in PA

Taking in last moments outside Andrew Wyeth's studio

The lovely Brandywine River from a window in the Wyeth Museum

High Cliff, Coast of MainebyWinslow Homer/ American Art

High Cliff, Coast of MainebyWinslow Homer/ American Art

(above link to image at the Smithsonian American Art Museum website)

I read a good article in the October 2012 issue of "The Artist's Magazine" written by Jerry N. Weiss, titled, "I cannot Do Better Than That".

The title quote is in reference to the oil painting, High Cliff, Coast of Maine,by Winslow Homer.  Apparently, he had showed this painting a lot for 9 years before it found a buyer.  It contributed to his frequent questioning of himself in his mid-life sales slump.  In his frustration he asked his gallery in Chicago, "Why do you not sell that "High Cliff" picture?  I cannot do better than that.  Why should I paint?"

The painting is very forceful and naturalistic, but beautiful.  Perhaps it wasn't a relaxing living room piece.

At any rate, I found the article interesting and can relate to Homer's struggle to equate sales of pieces that he felt were among his best with his sense of self worth.