Original art for $75, a pro shares tips on how to buy art

On Saturday, Sept. 12 from 1 – 4 p.m., the High Museum of Art will host a one-day event for art lovers.

During the Monster Drawing Rally, 75 local artists will create live works of art in conjunction with the exhibition “Sprawl! Drawing Outside the Lines.”

Not only can guests watch the artists create works of art, they will also be able to purchase the artwork produced by the artists for $75 each.


Three groups of 25 artists will work in consecutive one-hour shifts to create original works of art for the audience. Click here for a full list of participating artists to date.

If more than one person is interested in buying a single work of art, a card draw will determine the winner (highest card wins). Proceeds from the sale of artwork go toward the future purchase of drawings by Atlanta area artists for the High’s permanent collection.

The Monster Drawing Rally is free with Museum admission. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.high.org.

And since we’re talking about buying art. Here are a few thoughts from Barry Gordon, founder of MaxSold, a downsizing and estate sale auction service, on how to buy art without getting duped. MaxSold has a hub in Atlanta and runs auctions throughout the metro area, so if you don’t score the art of your dreams as the High, check out one of their upcoming events.

Here are Gordon’s tips for anyone buying art:

Know your medium: Watercolor versus oil; what’s the difference? Watercolor paints are made of pigments and water, and are generally done on paper. Oil paintings require a more sturdy backing, such as canvas or linen, because oil paints are made of pigments that are mixed with drying oils, such as linseed, poppyseed, walnut or safflower. Watercolors typically do not have any tactile texture, while oil painting are textured and take a very long time to dry, thus making the paint resilient to the touch, even years after it was applied.

Is it real?: Watercolors are notorious for fooling even the most ardent art buffs. Because of the lack of texture in watercolor paintings, the naked eye can’t always detect the real deal from faux masterpieces. To decrease your chances of being duped, grab a loupe and get looking. If you see pixels, steer clear, the painting you are examining is a print. Remember, pixels = prints.

Signed, sealed, delivered: Most people know to look for an artist signature when buying a work of art, but taking a look at the back of a painting can be just as telling of value, if not more. Is there a gallery stamp, gallery tag or title? Also, is there any documentation to verify provenance? These things can verify the authenticity of a painting and help determine if you’re overpaying or getting a bargain.

What’s your type?: If you’re not sure what art style you are looking at, stick to the these three basic categories: landscape, portrait and abstract. Generally speaking, landscapes are worth more if animals and humans have been included in the painting, as they require more work and attention to detail. Also, when shopping for landscapes, beware of oilettes. This sneaky tactic mimics brush stroke textures to trick buyers into thinking they are buying an oil painting instead of a print. Typically, paintings of taverns and historical buildings fall prey to the oilette technique, so keep an eye out if an old-time European cityscape strikes your fancy.

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