art collection

Who's For Dinner... or is That Tea?

There are both advantages and disadvantages to being a self representing fine artist. A definite perk is that I get to meet, at least online, the people who will own my work.  Just as the client enjoys the story behind the painting, I like to learn why the painting touches the heart of the collector. Who's For Dinner?, a 48" x 48" black, white and silver oil stick and oil painting cat portrait of a silver Main Coon cat was purchased by a collector in Great Britain. The gracious owner sent me the photo above to show the painting in situ.

Some people buy their art totally from their heart and worry about where it will go later. The painting evokes a memory, or emotion or visceral reaction to the colour and/or texture.  They will find a spot for it somehow. They will switch around the room or the art in their home to suit the art work.  To them, that is part of the excitement and discovery of purchasing new art they are passionate about.

Who's for Dinner. Large scale Main Coon cat oil and oil stick painting by Christine Montague in situ at new home.
Who's for Dinner. Large scale Main Coon cat oil and oil stick painting by Christine Montague in situ at new home.

However,  it is equally valid to buy art with the intention it blends in with a particular room's decor. The paintings size, colour and texture, will add to setting's ambience. The painting will complete the room, not competes with it.

On the other hand, one may purchase a painting to be the focal point of a room. The art work's  size, subject (or lack of it), colour, and texture will dramatically call attention to it. The rest of the decor, like moons to a planet, will rotate around it. The decor will compliment it.

As I self representing artist I am fortunate in that I  get to hear the positive reaction to my art in person. There are many advantages to having gallery representation, but as a gallery artist, one often never knows who has purchased the one's paintings,  or where they go. But to be honest, although I get to meet the collector, and I always wish that the client has a lifetime of enjoyment from my art, in the past I never gave much thought where the client displays the art in their home.

Last year, I delivered a large Lake Dreams Series painting to a client's home where it got the approval of the decorator. The clients loved the painting's subject and mood, which they saw at the Arts on the Credit art fair, but they were specifically searching for an art work that would go with their newly decorated room. In particular, the painting needed to go with a pair of beautiful taupe chairs.  Fortunately for me, the painting really did look spectacular in the room, which was a calm and freshly designed setting. And  I was surprised how my painting of a dock and sky reflecting in the dark lake water, became a more formal art work in this environment. With hindsight,  I realize I should have asked permission photograph the painting in place.

So imagine my delight, when recently, and unbidden, the lovely photo above arrived in my mailbox.  In this case, I know the collector bought a painting he was passionate about.  He discovered it online and loved the portrait and scale of the Main Coon cat painting. But doesn't this photo also show he created a dramatic, yet fun,  focal point for the room, as well as an attractive decor choice? Don't you love the giant Main Coon cat sitting above those lovely gold chairs and black lamp? I am glad "Who's for Dinner?" made it safely from Toronto Area to Great Britain, and if  "Who's for Tea?" is a preferred title, I wouldn't mind at all.

A Winter Treat - Don't Miss Sommer Art Show Opening. A Five-Fold lesson in Visual Arts Vision, Legacy & Generosity

Being a visual artist in Canada is a rough haul, but there are certain wonderful people one meets along the way that lighten the load, and encourage the journey. There are also certain art shows and  venues that enlighten the path. Here's how an upcoming art show, A Lasting Gift: The John & Gisela Sommer Collection January 8th - Feb 6th (Opening Jan. 16th) carries the five fold whammy of John & Gisela Sommer,  The Sommer Collection, Art Gallery of Peel, Sybil Rampen, and Joshua Creek Heritage Arts Centre. For many years, Georgetown's John and Gisela Sommer have been enthusiastic supporters of  visual artists in the GTA*, particularly in the western region of Halton Hills and Peel.   Many a visual artist has been the lucky recipient of their generous support  either in word or deed. The Sommers not only collected art, they exhibited it at Gallery Sol, their home turned gallery, in Georgetown, Halton Hills, Ontario.

I first met John, when, as juror, he awarded my painting Top Award at a juried art show. A few months later,  I discovered that this soft-spoken and lively gentleman, and his charming wife Gisela, were popular visitors at the Williams Mill Visual Arts Centre in Glen Williams, where I just opened a studio. John often made reference to the Gallery Sol, which was, at that point, after decades of being open,  was winding down.

My mistake was in assuming it was a showcase for regional artists. What I didn't realize was that the Sommers had an incredible collection of contemporary printmaking, painting, sculpture and photography that included Andy Warhol, Jack Chambers, Leonard Hutchinson and David Hockney. Luckily, I will get a another chance to see this art, and so can you!

The Sommers have recently generously donated their art collection (ensuring their legacy as well as that of many regional artists) to The Art Gallery of Peel (Peel Heritage Complex, Brampton). This art gallery, in the midst of transformation into a remarkable new venue across from Brampton's Gage Park, is temporarily closed. Until then,  200 of these art works will be on exhibition at Joshua Creek Heritage Centre in Oakville, Ontario.

The grand opening of this art show and opportunity to meet the very wonderful John & Gisela Sommer is Sunday, January 16, 2011, 2 - 4 pm.  Joshua Creek Heritage Centre Gallery . Click here for map.

Oh, and as for Joshua Creek Heritage Centre, and artist & visionary Sybil Rampen, who created it, that my friends,  is a whole other incredible story of inspiration, generosity, and legacy! Click here to read more.

*Greater Toronto Ontario