You don’t have to be an art connoisseur, but if you are buying art- you should understand what you are getting. Read on for some helpful descriptions.

So, I have painted, in fact I have a couple of my pieces in my house, which makes me an artist. Unfortunately, I just don’t draw a crowd and should definitely stick to designing, but you can call my paintings originals, because I painted them, with my own hands and without others contributions – and I signed them. That’s the definition of an original painting.

Original paintings offer the biggest return on your investment and if I die tomorrow and someone finds a portfolio of work I’ve done and somehow sees a value (perhaps someone with a vision disability), I could become a great. Most often, an artist’s value goes up after death. They are “discovered” and their pieces become “collectable”.

Limited editions are the next best thing to an original. For the sake of fantasy, let’s say while I am still alive, someone discovers my painting and hits me up to mass produce a piece. As an artist, I can charge more if I limit the number, sign each one and number them in the order they were completed. I can also go in and detail the print or add color/strokes etc. Since this was a reproduction of my original and I signed them with my own hands, I just created a limited edition.

Giclée’s are where affordability and quality marry. A giclée printer is a high-quality ink jet printer that uses archival ink. Archival ink is pure color and so intense that it can last 80-120 years. The term Giclée is French for “to spray or to squirt” (in French, the definition probably sounds a lot more attractive).

If I was an artist or bought the rights to a great painting, I could set up a printer to print on canvas and mass produce the piece. One piece of art after the next that is so precise many would not know the difference from original art. I could just sit there watching the latest version of Jeff Lewis’ “Flipping Out” and paintings would multiply off the printer. All I have to do is stretch the canvas!

When giclée’s are printed onto a canvas and stretched, they can either be sold just like that or they can be hand embellished. Hand embellishing can be a simple, clear top coat that is brushed so what’s below looks like hand painting or it can actually be paint that is applied to the print to add texture and movement. This can trick you into thinking you are buying an original. Giclée’s are often a little higher in price because of the quality but they are not originals and should not be sold that way. Although they can add value to your home in terms of aesthetics, they don’t add value as an investment.

This is where things really get tricky, so hang in there… Hand paintings are hand done so why aren’t they originals? They are if they are hand painted by one person, but when there is a line of painters lined up and each person is painting one section of a piece over and over again- it’s hand painted but not an original. The assembly line painting concept is brilliant, they look like originals and they are affordable and they get knocked out like donut holes, canvas after canvas, stroke after stroke, color after color and rack after rack.

So what do I think? If you would rather invest in the stock market, a rock collection or coffee from Starbucks everyday than art – no judgement here, just know what you are buying. I think you can have a great collection of originals if the budget allows. I also think you can mix things up and maybe as you can, pick up an original for rooms that you entertain or spend a lot of time in. I also think you can put hand paintings everywhere if they are right. To find out what is right, tune in next week for “are there rules to art?”

Bottom line is, I think art is one of the most important parts of any room and any décor – so happy art hunting (at Lee Douglas………..of course)!