I think there are two issues that make it so hard for us all to get art work up on our walls; figuring out what we like and then having the confidence to show everyone else what we like. A couple of months ago I was very lucky to be invited down to the south coast for the day to visit the headquarters of King & McGaw who produce a huge range of affordable art work and rare and limited prints that they sell online as well as being the leading supplier of many of the greatest galleries and museums across the world. They also collaborate with artists and even host a local artist in their studio space – these guys really love and know good art. When we met the founder of the company, Gyr King, he said something that really stuck with me, which was that if people go out and buy a piece of art it’s quite likely that they will walk away with it under their arm facing in so that no one else passing them on the street can see it. Choosing art work can feel so very personal and there’s almost a sense of embarrassment about sharing those choices with others and therefore I think it puts people off altogether. I want to try and give some advice today to help you choose art work that will work best in your home and hopefully if you feel more confident in your choices you will be more willing to actually getting it up on the walls for all to see!
Feel a connection
The first thing I would say about choosing art work is you need to feel a connection to a piece. Maybe it reminds you of something, someone, somewhere. Maybe it makes you think about a certain time or event. Maybe it transports you back to a special holiday. It could be that the artist is local to you or even the name of the painting has special meaning to you. Whatever it is, try to find a connection with a piece of art work and it will mean so much more to you and you will be much happier to give it pride of place at home. When people come round and ask you about it you can give the back story as to why you chose it rather than having nothing to say when they ask you about it. I chose Irises in the Garden by Van Gogh as it reminds me of a garden where we used to stay for holidays when I was a child. I would really love to add this Van Gogh print (that used to hang in our family friend’s kitchen and so reminds me of happy times we spent there) as well as a couple of others to make this big blank wall on our first floor landing a real feature.
A really good way to start figuring out what type of art work you like is to look at images of interiors that you like either in magazines, on Pinterest, Instagram or on blogs. Hone in on the art work they have on the walls and try to pick out which pieces you prefer – are they abstract, modern, vintage, impressionistic, landscapes, florals etc? Maybe they have something in common like the colour or theme? Keep a record of the pieces you like so you can refer back to it and it will help you search for art work in the future using the key terms you have come up with. I have realised that I absolutely love portraits and seem to have built up quite a collection of them. The Portrait of Ann by L.S. Lowry is one of my favourite portraits as I have seen it so often in my friend’s home and my mum’s home so it almost feels like Ann is a friend too! Therefore, I always use the key term ‘portraits’ whenever I search for art work. I love this portrait and want to add it to my collection next.
Try something new
Don’t be afraid to experiment when choosing art work and try something new. Whilst at King & McGaw, Gyr King spoke about his love of abstract art and how he never gets bored of looking at it and exploring what is going on in the painting. I’ve never owned any abstract art work and I’m not really sure it is my style, which is fine, even though I can really appreciate it in other people’s homes, but I came across this Vogue photograph by Cecil Beaton and I really love it and see it as an abstract piece. Yes, I love the colours and composition but I also love the fact that I look at it and every time I do I try to figure out what is going on just like I would for an abstract painting or print. It has already stopped quite a few of my friends in their tracks who have asked about it (Mimi also loves it because she thinks the woman is Elsa from Frozen because of her dress – lols).
The one ‘rule’ as it were that I use to try to help people choose art work if they’re really stuck is to think about colour. If you are trying to choose a piece for a certain room or spot in your home and you are really struggling pick out a colour from your interior and choose a piece of art that ties in with that colour scheme. I just love how my Irises print picks out the Inchyra Blue of my hallway woodwork – it’s just perfect. A landing is a great place to display art as it gets seen so much more than you think it would both when you are on the landing going between rooms as well as the view from the room. I can see this print both from my bedroom and Mimi’s room and the bathroom so actually I think it is one of the most looked at prints in our home.
I really believe it is worth investing in pieces of art for your home just as you would a piece of furniture or rug; it makes just as much difference to the overall feel of a room. King & McGaw specialise in producing affordable art and for less than £100 you can get a beautifully framed by hand high quality print that will last in your home forever. I took a tour of the headquarters and saw the art being printed and cut and the frames being hand painted. It was such a treat to see all the hard work, care and preservation that goes in to making a beautiful framed print and when my choices arrived at my home I was so impressed with the final result. The colours are vibrant and the frames strong and everything is finished beautifully. If you would like a print for your home do take a look at the King & McGaw site and here are a few of my favourites:
I hope this has been helpful as I know so many of us never finish off rooms in the way we would want to for lack of art work. One of my favourite games these days is playing musical chairs with my prints – I’m constantly moving them around and trying them out in new places. It’s quite amazing to see how much impact they can have on a space.
Hope you all manage to stay cool today!
*This post was a paid collaboration with King & McGaw.
I can offer my readers a 15% discount on all framed or unframed prints, excluding Rare & Limited, using the code KATY15. There is no minimum spend.