Thursday, November 25, 2010

Giving the Gift of Art - Part 1

In the first installment of Giving the Gift of Art, we've asked the artists of the Finding Fine Art team to tell us a bit about their experiences giving and receiving art as a gift, as well as selling their art to others to be given as a gift.

Jazz Green has a theme going with birthdays.

"A patron, who has since become a good artist friend bought a small piece of my work at an exhibition many years ago for her birthday and it was on her birthday too - she said it made her day - it was lovely to know that! Then she recommended my work to a good friend of hers who then bought a series of works for her landmark birthday! On another occasion I had to secretly deliver a painting to someone's house late on Christmas Eve as he wanted it to be a big surprise for his girlfriend on Christmas morning - but it also happened to be her birthday! Another person bought a large work to mark a partner's life/work-related event, so it seems that landmark life events such anniversaries, retirements, weddings, etc are special moments which are aptly acknowledged through the acquisition of art.

Art is special and people buy art for special reasons."

 Carrie Venezia shares her experience creating commissioned paintings and giving art to loved ones.

"I'm working on a couple of paintings for customers right now that are going to be gifts this holiday season. I love that! It's commission work so I have the pleasure of the story like; the women giving a painting to her very best friend of her kids from a vacation they spent together; you get the idea! There are sad ones too; a loved one passes and it's a gift of a memory shared. I feel like I know them just a bit, so it's a different kind of pleasure in creating the work. A very different feeling then when I'm just creating for my own purpose. However, with that sometimes comes a little anxiety. Something I need to work on!

Whenever the chance arises to give my art as a gift to family and friends, I take advantage of it. It doesn't always happen at holiday time or on birthday's but the times in between, when it's not expected. That's really fun!"

Michelle Pryor shares the thrill of knowing your art is being given as a gift.

"I've always given art and handcrafted items as gifts for the holidays and they have always been well received. I take care to match up the art to the person I'm giving it to so that it will be meaningful to them.

I've also had people buy my art and give it as gifts to friends and family and I've gotten feedback that the recipient loved it.

Of course, we as artists love making each piece - but when someone chooses something that we created, then gives it away as a token of love or affection....well that's the pinnacle, isn't it? It fills my heart with joy to know that what my hands created spread happiness to others."

Paula Manning-Lewis has a great idea - an art swap!

"I have always given my art to family and friends for Christmas, birthdays and wedding gifts. They are always appreciated.

Something I have also done the past couple of years is put together an art swap party where I invite all my artist friends and we trade art to give as gifts or keep for ourselves. It was a huge hit and a LOT of fun! Plus, my family gets different art as gifts for a change of pace!"

Who wouldn't love a Brooke Wandall original as a gift?

"I usually give artwork to my friends and family over the holidays and they adore getting handmade presents especially original artwork!"

 Monica Stevens appreciates the value of art as a gift.

"I always give art to friends and family for the holidays, whether they be pieces of my own or pieces that friends have created, including paintings and pottery. I have found that my friends and family are greatly appreciative of the pieces I choose for them, and it gives me great joy to choose pieces I believe they will like and will suit their personal tastes. Of course, it thrills me when I visit them and see that they have proudly and prominently displayed the pieces I have chosen for them. To me, the holidays and gift giving are about helping my friends and family to be happy and feel cherished and cared about. Art is truly a wonderful way to show them that I care about them and value them. I also appreciate receiving paintings and pottery that my friends have created. It reminds me of them, and I treasure these gifts, as they have been personalized just for me!"

Michelle Arnold has found that special places represented in art are appreciated.

"I have had people purchase my art as gifts because they were of places that were meaningful to them - where they had spent time or vacationed. I have also had people commission paintings or drawings of special places as a gift (and I would like more people to do so!)."

Marilyn Fenn shares her experience giving the gift of art.

"I have given a few original paintings/drawings and a few hand-pulled prints to some of my best friends and to family members, and they seemed to really love receiving a gift of my art--especially when they are allowed to select the piece they want (from a limited selection). It's a lovely feeling when you visit them to see your art on their walls, and to hear them gush over the piece they received.

I also gave a framed giclee print of one of my paintings to two of our favorite local musicians when they got married. Now whenever we see them, they always comment on how much they love that piece, and how nice it looks in their dining room.

Finally, every so often, I will make calendars of my latest paintings and give those as Christmas gifts. These are very popular, but have also been a bit time-consuming in the past. If I found a quicker way to produce them, I would probably do it again. It's a great way to keep your art in the minds of your loved ones (and whoever else you think might appreciate and use such a gift)."

Nancy Jean has filled her shop with gift worthy art. 

"In my shop, I'm trying to concentrate on smaller works for gift-giving and trying to market them almost more as objects than wall art. I'm hoping that if people think of them more in terms of something they can hold in their hands, maybe that will feel more gift-like!"

Debbie Shirley shares her joy receiving art as a gift.  

"I love getting art as a gift! I have been fortunate enough to have been given a number of original pieces as gifts from various extended family members and friends. As a result, nearly every piece hanging in my house has a special meaning to me because of the association with the person I got it from."

Dotti Berry has a beautiful story about receiving art on her wedding day.

"One of the most special art gifts I have ever received was for our wedding. We received other very special art gifts but this one had a special story which enchanted everyone who knew it. An artist friend who was very reclusive came to the wedding (completely surprising me as he never makes this type of appearance), bringing a beautiful painting which had a special significance to me. I hadn't ever seen it before, but as soon as I opened it later I realized why he had chosen it for us. I think of that thoughtfulness in recognizing a motif special to me every time I pass by it. I'd also like to mention that even though others were dropping off gifts that day, everyone instantly gathered around and became interested in the contents since they could tell it was a painting and could sense the gravity of the presentation. My friend wanted me to wait to open it until later and I honored his wishes (we weren't opening gifts at the reception of course but there was so much interest I would have done this if he wanted us to). When my friend brought the painting in to the reception, we were greeting guests on the other end of the room. A few of our guests came up to me and led me over (by the hand!) to see my friend holding the painting. There was a circle of people gathered around him, smiling quietly. There was something magical about them standing there in a respectful but joyous hush, recognizing that "Art" was being given as a gift and supporting that moment."

Jessica Torrant

So this holiday season, instead of getting caught up in big box shopping and Black Friday mayhem, consider the gift of art for your loved ones. Clothing goes out of style in a year, every home has more than enough nick-nacks, and gift certificates are so impersonal (unless you are getting one from an Etsy seller, that is!). The gift of art is a gift that, like a fine wine, just gets better with age. Not only does original art gain monetary value in time, it grows in emotional value as well, which is really what's most important. It is something that won't be a great fit for everyone on your list, but if you know someone well, have listened and payed attention to what they appreciate, purchasing art as a gift won't be as daunting as it's made out to be. In fact, it can be a real thrill picking out the perfect piece for that special someone!

Join us tomorrow for another Fine Art Friday celebration with a focus on art as a gift. Search the Treasury on Etsy using our tag "fineartfriday" and if you're inclined to make a treasury, think about art as a gift and be sure to tag your treasury with fineartfriday AND "gift guide".  Part II of this special "Giving the Gift of Art" blog post will be a collection of gift worthy art discovered on Fine Art Friday (tomorrow) which will be published on Sunday. In the meantime, stay away from the crazy shopping, make yourself a cup of tea, and enjoy some art this Friday.

(PS Happy Thanksgiving to our US readers!) 

Curated and written by Jessica Torrant.


  1. Fantastic and heart warming little stories. I couldn't agree more, art is such a thoughtful and endearing gift!

  2. Lovely picks you have here and a great article!
    The first few choices would have gone nicely in my Find Art Friday treasury--in fact I may have included some of the same artists.

    Julie D'Arcy

  3. This is great! I love giving and receiving art! It is always original and unique and lasts a lifetime.

  4. great post Jessica, thanks for including my story and painting!

  5. Love these stories...and wonderful art as well. Thank you for including my little painitng!

  6. wow, wonderful collection of talented artists!

  7. wonderful article, fabulous stories - an inspiration to all... thank you!