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How to collect artwork that resonates with you

How to collect artwork that resonates with you

You have big empty walls in your home and you know you want to fill them with original art, but finding the right artwork seems daunting. What color do you choose? What subject matter? What should the paintings mean? How do you find these artists? Read on to find out.

1. Choose art that speaks to you

If you're browsing online for art, and nothing seems to stand out to you, chances are you haven't found an artist that resonates just yet. A lot of people come to me online and say "I saw your paintings, and I just knew I had to have one when I couldn't stop thinking about them." Not only is that an amazing compliment, but it's one of the ways people know that my style is what they want for their home. Because my unique painting style resonated with the viewer, they just had to become a customer, because they couldn't live without the painting or paintings they saw. If you feel this way about a piece of art, it means you love it. Buying it is your next step. 

Recently, a customer of mine said she had a spot in her living room vacant for 7 years searching for the perfect painting, and when she saw mine she knew she had to have it. She purchased it on the spot! It was an amazing feeling for us both. It just so happened to be the day I finished the painting that she discovered me and my work. What a compliment!

Sometimes it's hard to find a piece that does resonate because we have a certain style of painting in mind, but once an artist has articulated that unique statement piece, it's like everything clicks and voila! Your dream piece is right in front of you.

Leah Nadeau and Twenty First Century Exposition

Here's the work that sold the day I finished it, after a collector said she'd been waiting 7 years to find the perfect painting. (Photo by Olivia Mckay).

2. It makes you feel something

The best art makes you feel things you can't describe.

When I was in college there was a temporary installation that I saw at a Museum in Oakland, California and I'll never forget it. It was a camper from the 1930s with the inside styled as if someone was still living there. It was dark and rainy with gas powered lamps and sound looping thunderstorms. It was moody, and it smelled like antiques and made me feel...almost as if I had lived in another time and had been transported there. It was an inexplicable feeling and I wish I knew the artist that made this installation. I think about it all the time, because it made me stop dead in my tracks and just...exist. Buy art that makes you feel indescribable emotions, that makes you think you've been transported somewhere else.

3. You love looking at it

There's nothing better than paintings that you can stand in front of for hours and never get bored.  If you love to look at a painting and spend time with it, chances are it's a great investment. Oftentimes, I find myself staring at my own work and finding little details I never noticed before. I've been told many times from collectors that they had been looking for paintings that they could get lost in, and when they saw my work they knew they'd be occupied for hours, taking in every little detail. If you find a painting you love to look at and spend time with, it's the one for you.

Art from my Heart by Leah Nadeau

A public art project I did in 2021, that permanently lives in Grosse Pointe, MI. I was told by a friend that works nearby that she notices new details on this work every time she sees it.

4. Determine your favorite subject matter

When looking for original artwork, explore different subject matters to determine which you feel speaks to you most. If you love portraits, search for artists that specialize in the portrait subject matter. If you love landscapes, finding a landscape artist that resonates is your next step. Instagram is a great resource for finding artists of all subject matters. You can even search for keywords like "abstract portraits" and it will help you connect with those artists. 

I use the Instagram search function all the time to find other artists, restaurants, interior designers, you name it.

5. Get to know the artist

It's important to feel connected with the artist you're going to be supporting. I like to get to know them through their social media presence before I buy their work. That way, I feel like when I purchase their work I have a small piece of them in my home, a chapter of their life on my wall. If you don't like the artist as a person, you might have a hard time also connecting with their work. 

Lastly, here are some signs you love a piece of art:

You keep coming back to look at photos of it

You can't stop thinking about it

You feel inspired by it

You will know when a painting resonates with you. If you can't afford it currently, but don't want to live without it, many artists take payment plans. I personally use Shop Pay here on my website to offer payment plans. 

How do you know when you have to purchase something? Comment below! I would love to know.

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Chris Keyworth - August 12, 2022

Leah – thank you for this great article, and thank you even more for the great artwork. Unfortunately, I don’t own a piece of yours yet, but I hope to change that in the coming months – your work certainly “checks most every box” you list above in this article with me. Count me as a big fan of your work and, hopefully soon, a customer… just need to finish my first floor renovation and picked the perfect spot and perfect piece, I think.

Regards, Chris

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