Tips to help your Art choices

Your home is your castle. This is where you spend your time, you relax and you invite close friends into. Here are some tips for making those important decisions around how you can make sound lasting choices.

Love comes first

This is the most important of all the tips. Don’t buy an art work for your home that you don’t love and enjoy. I don’t care if its not a Russell McKane original. You have to live with it. You have to love looking at the work. If your motivation is something other than this then your purchase purely an investment. (see investment tips below) An art work is not a cheap mass produced product you buy at a home depot store. A good art work will last until you are in your old age. It will travel with you. It will define your memories of home.

Great art keeps on giving.

A great art work keeps on giving – otherwise it will just blend in and become invisible. It is why I suggest you make the work a feature in the room not simply a decoration. An art work gives in many ways: – they give emotionally – peace, aspiration, tranquility; Art gives visual stimulation – somewhere to rest your eyes, find invigorating; It can even provide a challenge and confronting your thinking.

Focus of your room -tips to think about.

What is the focus of your room? Which ways do chairs face? Where do the users spent their time in the room? How do they relate to each other? Consider what art work you want to be looking at? Your partners chair may face another direction – what will they be looking at? Don’t forget that partnerships require joint decisions.

Consider a rooms function

Consider the rooms function. Don’t put an art work in a Media Room. Leave this space for the dark panels and quality sound. The rarely used formal lounge may need a bigger visual statement but don’t put your favourite here or you won’t get to enjoy it much unless this is also your retreat room. The kitchen would need a smaller brighter work. Some rooms need more abstract works.

Size can matter

Size matters to a point. If it is to be a feature painting then yes size is important. How many small photos , prints and frames do you have that end up cluttering a room and not really being looked at? Size is also determined by the intended location. A hall way needs smaller works.

Branches number two

Location matters

Locations can have hazards -tips of things to be aware of: Warning. Be careful don’t put an oil painting over an wood fire place it will get smoke damage. A professionally framed and sealed, art work on paper or art photographs, under glass, suit these locations as do 3D sculptures in hardy materials. Also be aware of direct sun. Works on paper and textile are particularly vulnerable. Oil Paintings are more hardy. But all things will fade and be damaged in harsh sunlight. Glass art is the exception. – A better choice for those locations.

Lighting matters

Lighting matters. As my paintings are painted outside normally in bright sunlight, without good lighting in their new location they can look darker than intended. So plan some feature lighting. My works look great in well lit rooms. They also look fantastic in dim rooms with gallery lights focused well.

On Exhibition at Purple Noon Gallery

Art first – decoration later

Thinking of redecorating then buy the art work first and decorate later to get the best out of the art work in the room. If you buy a work because it will match the current décor, then you have ignored point one above. If it can do both great it’s a win win. I have clients who have redecorated to highlight the work after sitting and contemplating it for some time.

New build

Then buy or commission art works for your new home. Art work is surprisingly less expensive than most components of a new build. Put it in you budget and plan your décor and lighting around it. Here’s a tip. If you are using an interior designer then remember you are the owner of the castle – let them know you want this art work here- please design around it. Also consider this for Art treasures you already own.

When to buy now or later –

I bought a wonderful painting from a fellow artist many years ago when we were first married renting our house. Many years later after many moves it has always been a focus of setting up our new homes. It has bought so much pleasure and visual stimulation. Thirty years later all I can say is I didn’t pay enough for it. It has outlasted all our appliances, carpets, bits and bobs now buried at various tips.

An art work is about ongoing lasting pleasure. Not rapid throw away consumerism. My tip is to buy now and enjoy. Invest in fine art. Not just my art. NO! As you have many rooms, locations, functions and associated emotions, so your aesthetic needs are also many. Artist’s bring many hours of time and skills to their work to bring you aesthetic pleasure. You will build a varied collection over time. I would be more than happy if you chose some of my work. But just as happy to help with you with choices and recommend other artists to you for your consideration.

Art works are unique – delays can mean you miss out on the work you really had your heart set on. Most artists and galleries are happy to come to arrangements to help you reserve you favourite work.

Investment Tips

Firstly let me be clear, purchasing art work as a monetary investment is high risk and fraught with dangers. While the art world, much like the old Salon system, is built around investors the vast majority or great art and artist’s don’t play in this small pond. Friends often joke my work will be worth something when I’m dead. Its a gamble I’m not invested in. Friends, buy my art work now so I can enjoy painting with a glass of red wine, and be a thriving artist, not a starving artist. But jokes aside great art work does cost good money. So what are you investing in and what matters?

Invest in what?

You are investing in yourself – first and for most. All humans operate with an innate aesthetic need. It’s why we all react to great sunsets and marvel at tiny creatures. You feed this need in many ways. In music listened to, films watched, appreciation of a fine wine, or touching a silky shirt. Our senses do need satisfying. Visual art is wine for the eyes. Perhaps this is why the idea of distilled art – human visual pleasure centers distilled on to a canvas make art such an experience that can live and relived time and time again. What’s the difference between your four walls and a prison cell? The things you put on them to give you aesthetic pleasure.

An art work is an inheritance

The art work you have may not significantly appreciate in value. But hopefully if made right it will outlast you and be passed down through the family. Art ends up containing the memories that attach to them through our shared lived experience. Maybe in the future works like my cider gum trees will be the only survivors of species long extinct. Or document a culture not past- dare I say then robotized. Art has always been our cultural memory. In the future it will be a part of history.

What are NFT’s

Well a unique art work is by its nature an NFT: A non-fungible token.

“Non-fungible” more or less means that it’s unique and can’t be replaced with something else. For example, a bitcoin is fungible — trade one for another bitcoin, and you’ll have exactly the same thing. A one-of-a-kind trading card, however, is non-fungible.

The current hype is around converting digital – highly copy able files into non copy able form by attaching them to crypto files like bitcoins – which without the unique art are fungible. A fancy way to continue to trade in the money market. One off Art works has always been NFT’s. And Art prints were signed and numbered to maintain a sense of tradable value. So investing in an art work is much the same as investing in crypto NFT’s – EXCEPT.

Except you get to look at and enjoy the work. Something you can’t do for the digital file that is the crypto NFT. Unfortunately too many good art works, Van Gogh’s and the like, are in bank vaults and not on walls as the value makes them too risky for owners to enjoy. This breaks principle number one above. It is also why should I die the art work may go up in value as McKane’s are now in short supply. Or like many artists in history be come unknown with the passage of time.

Talking about that. Due to the way I paint and the time taken to paint each painting it does mean I am only able to have a limited output per year. This is a factor in my pricing. But in the last 40 years I have completed approximately 80 major paintings. Shared with my teaching gig its not been a bad effort. Now I am painting full time – given my age I will be lucky to paint 300 works before the proverbial bucket claims me. Two of my fav artists – Jackson Pollock only painted 365 works. Johannes Vermeer painted 34 (that can be attributed to him). Vermeer was a Sunday painter – only painted on Sundays – held down a ‘normal’ job for the rest.

My works currently sell for less than the minimum wage per hour factoring in all costs. – artists universally sigh and say oh well what’s new. But they are rare NFT’s.

Why an original?

Tip: An original is not so much about the rarity one off one of a kind attraction. Although this is an investment factor. An original has a presence that is not found in a print or digital screen image. There are interactions between oil linen, and the viewer that no amount of copying can recreate. You are again investing in the pleasure of looking at an original. Next time you visit friends try this out. Spend time in front of an original work and then in front of a print or photo and contemplate the difference.

It is why I paint in front of the original tree in the landscape and not a photo. It translates differently- it becomes a distilled experience. This is then embodied on the canvas and comes to your lounge room.

Will it last.

This really matters. If you invest good money in good art it should last. I only use the best fine Belgium linen. This is the sort that Rembrandt used and still holds his paintings today. Beware of the cheap cotton canvases sold at most non specialist art suppliers. (more on this in my frequently asked questions.) How do you know? Turn the painting over look at the canvas- hold it up to the light. Think of thread count like good quality sheets. Linen is always light brown in colour.

The stretcher matters – the wooden frame the linen is stretched over – it needs to be acid free. (Hint: Radiata pine is not). Some artists paint on wood or other substrates. No problem is treated right – most ancient icons are painted on wood panels. But again beware of modern boards bonded by chemicals- MDF for example.

The paint matters – high quality permanent pigment paints that last over time. Particularly reds and yellows and violets – these are expensive and often toxic pigments. I only use Art Spectrum – Paints – Australian made and world class for quality. The paintings I painted 40 years ago look as good today as they did when painted.



So hit the button below and choose a painting? Yes and no.

Browse the Gallery. I suggest develop a wish list, top five paintings you could live with. The think of Number one above- which ones do I really love or connect to? Get off your phone and hop on a big screen. See it large. Take time to envision these works in your special place. What connects to me? Which do I get excited about? Allow yourself to dream. Put it on your bucket list. Let me tell you about two customers.

The first saw the work in an exhibition. Fell in love with it but couldn’t afford it at the time. So she went away and saved. 18 months later I get a message asking if it is still available. I had never met her. It was a risky strategy as many others had been interested in the work during this time. – Fortunately it was available and she now is the very happy owner of a wonderful painting she worked to own.

The second has always liked my paintings for over twenty years and unbeknown to me had ‘owning a Russell McKane painting’ on her bucket list. Then she saw the painting – not long finished come across her social media. She contacted me and shortly after I was able to hand deliver it to her and have a great chat with a cuppa tea underneath the painting newly installed on her living room wall.

These two satisfied customers shares one thing in common, a heart response to the work. If you have that heart response then the fit will be right and your next question is how. Contact me to reserve the painting while you make your decision.

You may be the third type of person. You are used to buying art and quality is important to you. The same applies- connect to a painting first. Then contact me to reserve the painting and work out details.