Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Buzzard or Eagle?

Are you a person who can look into the sky and tell the difference between a buzzard and a bald eagle? One bird is known and revered for its majesty; the other is seen as a scavenger whose eating habits include regurgitating road kill and then eating it again. No-brainer you say to recognize which bird is which, one has a distinctively white head and tail. But, if it were only that simple! Most people don’t know the American Bald Eagle doesn’t get a white head until it reaches the age of three years, so it would be easy to mistake one for the other. With a trained eye, however, and sharpened instincts determining the difference is not that difficult. If you know a few things about eagles and buzzards you can easily determine the difference from quite a distance. For one, eagles fly with their wings out almost perfectly straight, while a buzzard’s physiology tips their wings up toward the sky. An osprey, another large bird that can easily be mistaken for either species flies with its wings tipped down slightly. So watching the bird in flight is an important strategy.

I bring this subtle discernment up to address the issue of art collecting. Perhaps you are a novice art collector or someone who wants to collect, but your are wary or a little confused about what to buy. If you’ve read this blog much at all, you know what I’m about to say. “Buy what you like first and foremost.” There is great art out there that is affordable, and many of the works found at Buyoutsidethebox.com are quite affordable. But what about the: “is it a buzzard or is it an eagle question?” Will the art you purchase appreciate through the years?

Well, this is a question not easily answered but certainly approachable. Who would have ever guessed that a half-century ago toymaker Mattel would create and market a doll with the name Barbie and that collecting these dolls would appreciate your investment far beyond what the stock market could do for you had you put your money there instead. Especially if you left the dolls untouched in their boxes rather than taking them out, cutting their hair and pulling their heads off as so many us did.

Just like bird watching, savvy art collecting skills can be acquired through education and practice. For instance I might advise you to watch for exhibiting artists, and this might be good advice, except for the fact that for every rule there is a rule breaker. There are some wonderful artists out there that aren’t into exhibiting. Some of them are so busy producing and selling, they don’t have time to advance their reputation in this manner.

After the golden rule of buying what you like, I would advise you to watch art. Yes, watch it. More and more art is available to us on the internet, as well as in private and public galleries, and often in public places. Read about art, but watch it most of all. The more practiced your eye, the more sophisticated and honed your tastes will become.

The level of skill involved in a piece of art is sometimes obvious, and sometimes not so readily evident. When you watch art and become practiced at viewing it, you will come to appreciate skill in time. It will be the raw talent of an artist that will first draw you to a work, but it will be the skill behind the creative process that will bring you back again and again, whether you understand the depth of that skill or not. For instance take a look at this painting “Vibrato” by Alberto D’Assumpcao. In addition to an intriguing image that draws in immediately, we are challenged by a level of skill that behooves us to return to the image.

Enjoy!....Ruth Mitchell

(c) 2006 - Ruth Mitchell - all rights reserved

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