HOW TO DRAW: Making It in Oil When You Discover the Right Artists

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Making It in Oil When You Discover the Right Artists

What matters about the price of a painting is that you have the money and don't mind spending it on what may be a work of art. Liking the painting is reason enough to buy it - this says absolutely nothing about where you're going to put it in your home or office, where it fits in your collection if you've got one, or whether you hope it will appreciate in value. Looking at it pleases you and, as a person of some means, you don't mind indulging your whims or your serious intentions.

The reader will note that I have not resorted to rocket science to answer the questions about paying a high price for the painting or whether its worth what you're about to shell out. A gratuitous aside - look for super-talented American artists; in Europe, with the value of the dollar dropping like a stone - you'd really better be sure of the value of the piece because you're going to pay a great deal for liking it.

As for knowing whether your purchase is going to appreciate in coming years, I can only wish you luck. Somehow I doubt that those people who helped to turn early Thomas Kincaids into an art empire had any idea they were building up a fortune in oil paintings. Nor did those Russians who happened along a road in France while Van Gogh was painting a haystack or Gauguin was working alongside him during their brief time together. They paid a pittance for paintings that are now immortal and shared with visitors to the Hermitage in St. Petersburg. They knew only they were buying into a new turn in art called Impressionism.

It's a bit harder to answer whether you will always like what you've bought. Generally speaking, I think the more universal the subject is the more likely it will retain your interest. If you liked a haystack in 1875 it is unlikely that you will change your mind about it twenty-five or more years later. On the other hand a picture of your girl or boy friend might not captivate you many years after the sitting. But it might because a rather nebulous factor called "artistry" enters into the equation.

The space available here does not permit an extensive study of the word or concept of artistry. Let me really cop out and say that artistry is why we look at a Titian, a Michelangelo, an El Greco, a Rembrandt, a Delacroix, a Manet, a Renoir, a Picasso and so many more artists decades to centuries after they painted and still see something timeless and glorious. Individual taste, of course, enters into one's estimation of an artist. I, for instance, freely admit that I cannot imagine myself seeking out a coffee-table collection of Kincaid paintings for inspiration. On the other hand any Van Gogh painting fills me with wonder no matter how many times I look at it.

Permit me another personal aside. The French used to display the Impressionists in the Jeu de Paume Museum in Paris. You entered the museum in such a way as to be struck by the utter magnificence of the genius all around you. Everywhere you turned there was a painting so beautiful that it almost took the breath away. Was I influenced by having been told in advance that I was going to see a collection of some of the greatest oil paintings ever put on canvas? I cannot answer that question with any certainty. What I can say without fear of exaggeration is that seeing those famous paintings all about me was one of the most singularly beautiful moments of my life. I doubt that taste, artistry, or anything else influenced me. I believe that it was a purely emotional response to overwhelming beauty.

When I think about what some of the early purchasers of many of these masterpieces paid for them, I can only think how extraordinarily lucky they were. It is in sheer envy that one realizes how many of these great works are not in the world's great museums but are housed in private collections, hidden from a world of art lovers not fortunate enough to be ultra wealthy.

"Uniqueness" is another quality that I would mention as a factor in determining whether a painting might achieve greatness. Here again uniqueness might be in the eye of the beholder. Let me again give a simplistic definition of what I mean when I use the word "unique" - whether in a piece of music, a sculpture, a building, or a painting, it's like no other that has come before it. Beethoven's 9th Symphony, Michelangelo's Pieta, Frank Lloyd Wright's houses, or Da Vinci's Mona Lisa are indisputably one of a kind, never emulated, never equalled.

This is not to say that we no longer encounter artistry, universality, and uniqueness. Since true greatness is rare, finding these qualities in a painter is most unusual - not impossible since genius is usually random, but you don't happen upon it every day. Early in 2007 my wife and I became exceptionally excited over the discovery of Laura Mostaghel, an American painter working out of her studio in Florida. Ms. Mostaghel was already becoming known in the circles of the rich and famous; many of her clients are household names. We are very pleased that Laura permits us to feature her entire catalog of works - oils, watercolors, vases, jewelry pins, tiles, and ceramic boxes.

We are flattered that our taste seems to be contagious. The discovery of the works of Laura Mostaghel has visibly grown since our introduction to them. Elsewhere in I have written extensively about Laura's work and why they will fill an art lover with joy and gladness. Look at her work - all of it - at

Robert D. Forst, Ph.D, is an avid art, opera, and classical music enthusiast who has lived all over the world always seeking to acquire a cultivated taste in art, crystal, and paintings that is reflected in our e-commerce store. He enjoys sharing his knowledge and expertise as a contributing editor at - a site that offers information concerning original oil paintings and watercolors, Romanian Crystal, Limited Edition Romanian Vases, one-of-a-kind hand-painted ceramic vases and boxes, and a great deal more. He and co-owner and spouse, Nhora Lucia, research the Internet in a conscientous effort to offer the lowest prices available for the stock offered in their catalog. Our special connection with the world-famous painter, Laura Mostaghel, allows us to offer her entire catalog at the same prices as those found at her Florida studio.



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