Original art is a great way to express yourself and your own individual style right in your own home. Why buy a mass produced piece when you can have a handmade work made by someone who has put a piece of themselves into their creation.
Some people feel a little intimidated when they walk into an art gallery because they don't know much, or indeed anything, about art. I say you don't need to know much about art, you just need to know what you like and what you don't. If you are buying a piece for your own home, buy something you fall in love with because you'll have to live with it for a long time. Clients most often buy a piece because it resonates with them or produces a certain feeling or reminds them of a certain time or place.
If you're unsure of something, ask. At The Manly Gallery I like to let clients browse at their leisure but I always let them know I'm here if they need me. I don't like to follow clients around and pester them, because I know I like to be left to take in the work myself and then ask questions if I need to.
If someone is an absolute beginner, I usually start by explaining the difference between the mediums such as watercolour, acrylic, oil, pastel etc. From there most people usually get a feel for one medium over the others.
The pieces you buy don't need to be expensive. Invest in the best piece you can afford and then build your collection around it. Look for quality pieces by emerging artists or inexpensive smaller pieces by well-known artists. Buy prints or giclees to get you started if you can't afford originals.
If you're not sure about the size of a piece you like, make a paper cut-out the same size as the piece and hang it in the space for a few days to get a feel for the overall size.
Hang your pieces in the places they will make the biggest impact or where your eye falls when you move around the space. Change your collection around regularly and everyone will think you have more work than you do. You will also have a fresh perspective on your pieces when you view them from a different position within your home.
Be creative with the way you hang your pieces, mix frame styles, colours and sizes to get the look you're after. Don't think of art just as something to hang on walls, think about beautiful hand blown glass, ceramic pieces, bronzes, woodwork and sculpture to complement the pieces of you have.
Most of all, enjoy your original art. Know that an artist put a lot of love and care into the piece so that you can enjoy it for a lifetime.