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  • Writer's pictureEileen Noyer

3 tips to choose the perfect imperfect painting

Updated: Mar 5, 2018

Whether you’re looking for a gift for your best friend or you’re an art collector seeking to expand, it can be tricky to figure out which painting is going to make a meaningful difference to those who view it.

You’re probably expecting me to talk about color schemes, composition, size, and content. And of course, that’s possible. But let’s dig deeper for a moment and talk about the core of why art makes an impression on us, and how this knowledge can help in selecting the perfect imperfect painting.

So, first of all, who are we? We are passionate, savvy and HUNGRY for connection. We yearn to feel understood, to experience a sense of belonging, to be present in the moment. To embrace the WHOLE of who we are. Easy peasy, right? Well… it’s a life-long process. At times it gets messy, frantic and directionless. It gets frustrating and mind-numbing. Our resolutions and intentions become lost in the busy-ness of life, and with it our ideas and inspiration get swept away. As Pablo Picasso puts it,

“The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.”

Why am I saying all this? Because art INSPIRES healing. It declutters the mind so that we can consider taking on a new project, learn (or relearn) to play an instrument, and to devote our full attention to a loved one when they need it most. So here are my 3 (unusual) tips for selecting art that helps us get closer to what we yearn for.

1. ARTICULATE what you long for.

Perhaps it is nostalgia, new beginnings, or to strengthen faith in your abilities. It might be to build resilience and strength during hardship, to nurture relationships, or to persist when the going gets tough. Whatever it is you long for, naming it ain’t easy. So kudos if you already have a handle on this one! We all probably have different ideas on how these yearnings are represented, and that’s wonderful because it’s all about ownership over the experience. So here’s my interpretation…

  • Nostalgia: Familiar landscapes, tablescapes (cups/dishware/fruit), and paintings of furniture and people within a room.

  • New beginnings: Sweeping skies, blooming flowers and fruit-bearing trees.

  • Resilience: Sunsets, coastal and desert scenes, and quirky (unusually shaped) trees.

  • Strength & persistence: Natural and unique landforms like waterfalls and rock walls.

2. EXPRESSION over perfection.

Forgiving ourselves and others, embracing change, and seeing the beauty in the ordinary are expressive skills. When we talk about beauty in expressive art, it’s because we embrace the risks in the unfinished edges, the unapologetic strokes of color across the canvas, and the unexpected unity within the painting. Appreciating and embracing expression is what helps us to love others as whole, imperfect beings. Expressive art inspires.

3. It’s YOUR story.

Does the painting let your mind wander to that time you went on a hike, enjoyed a Spring breeze or enjoyed a treasured moment with a loved one? Does it remind you of the flowers in your grandparents’ garden, the rocking chair you adored, or the wine you sipped at sunset? The artist creates the platform from which you create the story. Being hungry for connection is about meaningful interactions with others, reflecting on our past experiences and acknowledging who we are in this very moment.


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