I really wanted new artwork for our dining room, but couldn't find anything unique within budget (which was pretty much non-existent...Billy literally laughed when I asked him what our budget for artwork should be).
We do own one piece of legit, fancy art. An original Diana Hsu watercolor framed behind archival glass. Its on my short list of things to grab if my house is on fire.
(after my children, of course :)
Here it is...my iPhone camera doesn't do it justice:
I bought this back when I had a (paying) job, no kids and could do luxurious things like drink wine and buy artwork at art fairs on a whim. Those are days of the past.
My new idea for procuring a masterpiece for our dining room came after Max asked if he and Sully could sell some of their paintings. So I let my little entrepreneurs give it a shot. Standing out on the sidewalk with a little sign and their art, they were so hopeful.
I couldn't believe the amount of people who stopped. A FedEx driver, neighbors, businessmen in sleek black cars, mom's in vans...all picking out their favorite painting and giving the boys $2. One person mentioned that he couldn't tell the difference between their paintings and some of the abstract pieces he'd seen at art shows. Hmm...if you didn't know who painted it maybe they could pass in a modern art gallery to an untrained eye.
Their paintings sold-out in about an hour, but I put the dudes back to work.
"Hey, want to make some for Mommy?" I asked them.
They were excited to have commissioned work :)
Here's the result hanging in our dining room. If you tilt your head and squint a little it almost looks fancy, right? I mean...if I told you I bought these at the Plaza Art Fair you might believe me.
I paid $2 for each painting and $40 total for the IKEA frames. My masterpiece for $48! Plus the boys are super proud.
Here are some tips for commissioning work from your own little artists:
1) Pick the palette. I knew which colors I wanted so I limited their palettes to those colors only. My goal was for the paintings to look like a unit, so giving them each the same colors (and hiding the others) helped achieve that.
2) Give a little direction. When they asked for input I let them know if I thought an area needed more green, yellow, etc. And I also let them know when I thought it looked "perfect". Watercolors can get really muddy if you let the artists keep going so I gave them I new piece of paper before the one they were working on got too overworked.
3) No need to buy the super expensive tubes of watercolors, but we did take a step up from Crayola. We used a Windsor-Newton set of watercolor tubes which was about $10.
4) Definitely get special watercolor paper. It makes a huge difference. And the 12x12 sheets fit perfectly in the 20x20 Ribba frames from IKEA.
5) I'm considering getting some of the non-reflective glass cut for each frame because the glare is kind of distracting and it will help protect the artwork from fading.
There you have it! Fancy artwork that is literally priceless.