//Episode#4: “Determining the Right Size for Artwork”

Episode#4: “Determining the Right Size for Artwork”

Episode#4: “Determining the Right Size for Artwork”
The size of the artwork is one of the five basic things to consider that I spoke about in episode One.

Too small or too large can make the area feel awkward. Artwork should make you and your visitors feel comfortable. When you see the right size for the art piece on the wall you will know it. And for that reason, I highly recommend taking a photo of your wall. Using Photoshop or another image editing program, you can create a rectangle on your wall, in the photo, move it, resize it and discover the best size and exact location.

During this process, you will be considering whether the piece should be horizontal or vertical. A horizontal piece will work well over a bed or couch. You can usually tell by the area what is needed. Another option to consider is to hang several smaller pieces rather than one large piece.

To help determine the size of your rectangle in the photo, it helps to take the photo of your wall straight on including a sofa, bed or an area of known size that can be used as a size reference. You can then measure on your computer screen, with a ruler the known size and the rectangle to calculate its size.

If you are not technically equipped to take a photo and edit it, you can physically tape a large piece of paper to the wall. You can experiment with different sizes or add sheets of paper to see what size works the best. Some people use painter’s tape and mark four spots where the corners could go to show the size options and location.

For a piece over a couch or a bed, a rule of thumb is to make the artwork cover 80% of the width of the couch or bed. The minimum width would not be less than 66%. This is not a hard and fast rule, but a piece that is wider than the couch or bed looks wrong and dominates the space visually. Too small and it looks like you put up a piece that you had left over and hung it for the sake of hanging it. Start out at 80% and adjust from there.

As to how high to hang it, the general rule is that the piece should be hung 6-12 inches above the back of a couch.

Keeping a notebook is a good idea for taking and recording measurements and noting possible sizes to look for. The notebook will be of great value when you go shopping at a store, art festival, or look online.

As mentioned, one can also consider a grouping of pieces. Two or three vertical pieces side by side can take the place of one larger horizontal piece.

A wall area with many pieces is referred to as a gallery wall. In figuring out the arrangement for a gallery wall, one can lay out a number of pieces on the floor before hanging to determine the best possible layout. Usually, the larger pieces go on the bottom row to give a correct sense of balance.

The downside to a grouping of pieces is hanging them in alignment.

One time I printed vacation photos for a couple on 78 small canvases to be hung in perfect rows and columns. I hung them all myself. Perhaps in a future episode I can go over hanging techniques. Let me know if that would be of interest.

If buying unframed pieces, one should take into account whether or not they will be framed later and make note of the additional inches that the framing will add to the size.

One question that frequently comes up on positioning of artwork is: do you center the artwork relative to the wall or in relation to the furniture. Centering the artwork to the furniture usually works best. This frequently comes up when one room transitions to the next with no dividing wall or room divider.

One can think of room elements in terms of settings. A rug with a sofa and chairs would be an example of a setting. One would center the artwork relative to the setting rather than the wall. One might think that centering on the wall would be logical, but it doesn’t look right and goes counter to the design of the individual settings.

Many people will make the mistake of selecting artwork that is too small. They will see a beautiful 8×10” piece that they fall in love with. They bring it home, put it on the wall and realize that it they need something much larger to fill the space. A piece one holds in their hands will look a lot smaller on an open wall.

Have fun and start your journey in buying your artwork fearlessly and with certainty.

In closing, the size of the artwork is important. Take the time to figure out the optimum size by taking a photo of the wall and creating rectangles in a picture editing program on your computer to represent the possible sizes of the artwork. Alternatively, tape up large pieces of paper on the wall or use painter’s tape to show the four corners of a rectangle to see how different sizes look. A large piece over a couch or bed should be no more than 80% the width and greater than 66%. Two or three pieces can fill the place of a large piece. When planning the position of the artwork, center it relative to room settings or furniture rather than the total width of a wall. Keeping a notebook is a great place to record what you need for your artwork when shopping so that you know what you are looking for.

If you enjoyed this episode and are listening to this podcast on iTunes, please write a review and consider giving it a 5 star rating.

The next time you visit the Tampa Bay area, visit “Menaul Fine Art” and “My Favorite Art Place” in Clearwater at 1750 N. Hercules Avenue.

Menaul Fine Art offers limited edition abstract surrealistic artwork for your home or business. If you are having trouble finding the right size and color for your wall, we have the unique ability to customize our designs to work perfectly with your décor. Visit us online at www.menaul-art.com.

My Favorite Art Place is the home of Canvas Zoo, Menaul Art Printing and Image Creations of Florida. We can print your photos or artwork on canvas or a variety of fine art papers. We are the experts at custom picture framing and can assist you in selecting the ideal matting and picture frames to enhance your photo or artwork. Visit us at www.myfavoriteartplace.com.

Episode#3: “Selecting Artwork Using Color”
As mentioned in Episode 1, some people buy artwork because they simply love the piece and don’t care whether it coordinates with the rest of the room. This is ok. Things don’t have to coordinate if it makes you happy. Some dissonance due to lack of color coordination can actually work effectively by drawing more attention to a favorite art piece. For other people, the whole purpose of the artwork is to coordinate everything together in the room.

Color affects us emotionally and has symbolic significances that differ by culture. There has been a lot written on the subject from psychologists and marketing experts.

Most of us have a favourite colour or prefer some colours over others. This is because we tend to surround ourselves in the colours that have a positive impact on our mood.

According to Wikipedia:
Color has long been used to create feelings of coziness or spaciousness. However, how people are affected by different color stimuli varies from person to person.

Blue is the top choice for 35% of Americans, followed by green (16%), purple (10%) and red (9%).

A preference for blue and green may be due to a preference for certain habitats that were beneficial in the ancestral environment.

There is evidence that color preference may depend on ambient temperature. People who are cold prefer warm colors like red and yellow while people who are hot prefer cool colors like blue and green. Some research has concluded that women and men respectively prefer “warm” and “cool” colors.

A few studies have shown that cultural background has a strong influence on color preference. These studies have shown that people from the same region regardless of race will have the same color preferences.

Wassily Kandinsky was one of the first pioneers of colour theory. A renowned Russian painter and art theorist, he is often considered the founder of abstract art. Kandinsky believed the following colours communicate the following qualities:
Yellow – warm, exciting, happy
Blue – deep, peaceful, supernatural
Green – peace, stillness, nature
White – harmony, silence, cleanliness
Black – grief, dark, unknown
Red – glowing, confidence, alive
Orange – radiant, healthy, serious

When decorating with color, I suggest that you become consciously aware of how color affects you and the others that will be living or working in the space you are decorating.

Like anything else, consult with others, but your opinion counts the most since you are paying for the color choices in your space.

When the colors in the room are neutral, such as beige, white or grey, you can’t go too wrong with the color in the artwork. Neutral colors in the décor present the opportunity to make a big statement. Splashes of bold color in an abstract, for example, can be stunning in a neutral room. The contrast between an understated color scheme and a bold art piece can be very exciting and rewarding.

The challenge in selecting artwork based on color is that most people decorate with color before choosing their artwork. The color scheme has already been established for the walls, furniture, rugs and accessories. We have to find artwork that fits. Finding artwork that is the right size, has the right colors, has a compatible style and is something you really like, narrows down the options, and can seem like a near impossible task.

But all is not lost. Usually, having just one or two of the colors in the room that also appear in the artwork is enough to make it work. Trying to match colors perfectly usually doesn’t work because there is not enough contrast visually for the artwork to have any “personality” or have presence in the room.

One can make the colors coordinate between the room and the artwork better by making a color adjustment in the accessories of the room. If the artwork isn’t quite working colorwise, adding or changing some throw pillows using a color from the artwork can make a big difference. Changing or adding a vase or glass piece with a color from the artwork can help enormously.

Another solution to finding the artwork that works is to have a custom piece commissioned. Many artists take on commissions. Find an artist whose work you like at an art festival or art show. You can discuss with them what you need. If you have done your homework, you can tell the artist what size, color and style is required.

70% of my art sales for my own personal artwork come from people who cannot find the right artwork for their home. I encourage them to pick a piece that they like from my website and request any needed changes in size and color. They will give me paint color numbers or color swatches to use to customize the color palette.

In summary, artwork doesn’t always have to color coordinate. If you have a favorite piece it can work if you like how it looks. Many people use the artwork to bring together the design of the room. Having just one or two colors from the room color scheme appearing in the artwork will make it work. If it isn’t working quite right, changing or adding accessories like pillows or vases can make a huge difference. You can commission artwork from local artists or artists you’ve met at an art festival or art show. If you’ve done your homework and know what you need, you can communicate that to the artist to get the artwork that will work for you.

Have fun and start your journey in buying your artwork fearlessly and with certainty.

If you enjoyed this episode and are listening to this podcast on iTunes, please write a review and give it a 5 star rating.

Episode#1: “Five Things to Consider When Buying Artwork”
This is the first episode of this podcast and I am very excited to share with you what I have learned as an artist selling my own artwork, as an owner of a fine art print studio and as an owner of a picture framing company.

Buying artwork can be a bit intimidating at first. You want something on your walls, but how do you find something that you like, that works with your décor and doesn’t cost a fortune.

Having exhibited at outdoor art festivals for over ten years and talking with literally millions of art buyers. I know the torture that many people go through in finding artwork. I have found that the average time to decorate with artwork after moving or renovating is two years! Why is this?

Most people don’t know how to go about it. They haven’t studied interior design or art. They are afraid of making a mistake in buying the wrong piece or spending too much money.

I am here to help you by giving you the education you need to find artwork and make good choices. Armed with the right tools, it will become a fun and enjoyable process.

When buying artwork for your home or business, there are five basic things to consider:

Identify the locations needing artwork. Write the locations down on different pages of a notebook and add notes, thoughts and ideas during the process. Make sketches of the spots needing artwork. It the artwork is going over a couch, note the length of the couch. Note the height of the wall area above the couch.

Keep these five things in mind when considering artwork for your home or business: Location, Size, Color, Style and Message. Make notes in your notebook for each location with some or all of these five things. Save paint color chips for your wall colors and swatches from carpets, curtains, pillows or other accessories that might help in color coordination. Armed with this information and your notebook for reference, your search for artwork can be a fun and enjoyable experience.

Have fun and start your journey in buying your artwork fearlessly and with certainty.