What Makes Art Valuable?


I had a conversation the other day with a very good friend of mine who has been an artist all her life. She draws wonderful illustrations and has now been writing and using her art to help illustrate her thoughts in her blog Commonplace Grace.  I was telling her that I am playing with some of my images and seem to be turning them into more art feel rather than photography. Then she brought up that with all the things Photoshop can do, that this will only make her work more valuable. Is that true? Because we can simulate art with a software program does it make it less valuable?

What makes art valuable?  I googled it and found a variety of answers to the question. Some came from the art collectors point of view where something is valuable because it is old or rare. But does that mean people do not spend the same amount on new furniture that they may on an antique? One article said that the art worth the most are the pieces that were created first, a fresh idea and new perspective. But if that were so why is there so many kinds of paintings and drawings and music and books that are still selling? Others say the artist has to have died to make the art work valuable...hmm that is a real heck of a way to make a living.

I think it all comes down to the buyer. Sure there is a world of art collectors out there but are they buying for investment or because the art spoke to them? When money is involved it is funny how something you would have walked past suddenly becomes of interest because a dollar amount has been placed on it. While just recently in Belgium a pigeon sold for over $75,000!!! How many pigeon have you looked at lately?

I think the real value is in the creation. None of know why we like one thing over another but certainly if we are attracted to something there are others who will value it also.

I remember a few years back my husband gave  said he wanted me to go into an art gallery and pick out something I liked. I was so excited to be able to actually buy a piece of art from a gallery. I was living in Wyoming at the time and so a western art gallery was my first choice. I walked into a nice gallery in Sheridan Wyoming and started to look around. I was convinced I would buy a western piece, like something Tim Cox had done or something you would see in Western Horseman magazine.

But there was a framed piece hanging on the wall of  six cows in a field. Three  were Herefords my favorite breed and three White face cows looking out of the picture like I had just walked up to them in their pasture. I was fascinated by this. The art was called "Pasture Patrol" and that is exactly what they looked like they were doing. I didn't know if it was a painting, photograph or pencil drawing. All I knew was it would not leave me alone. I never heard of the artist and really did not care.

I walked away from this piece because it just wasn't what I had envisioned myself buying. As I strolled around the gallery the lady at the counter could see  my confusion and asked if I needed any help. I told I came in to buy  a western art piece but those crazy cows will not leave me along. I was confused as to which piece I should buy.

She then informed me that when a piece of art speaks to you this way there is usually a reason and she said if it were her she would buy the one that speaks to me because it probably will not leave you alone until you do. So I took her advice and bought the cows. I still have it hanging in my house and I have to admit with the decorating style I have today a western print would probably be up in the attic. The cows look fine in my country home, so I guess I made a good choice, and those cows still speak to me every time I look at them.

So what makes art valuable? I think none of us know for sure because if we are creating it we do not know who is going to buy if anyone at all.  We just should create out of the spirit of creation and not with the end goal of making a sale.

So I created the flower photograph in this post from the sunflowers I planted in my garden. The bees were buzzing all around them as they came into full bloom.

 I picked myself a nice boutique and put them in water. I love the bright cheerful colors of Sunflowers and how they make me feel.

Then this morning I realized they will not be around for much longer.   So I got my camera out and took some images of the arrangement. . I then took them into my photo editor and played with it for a couple of hours until I created something that I really liked.

So is this art? Is it valuable? Will someone every buy it? Well it is my art, it has value to me and will anyone buy it?  

I am not sure  but I know I am going to invest in a nice frame and hang it in my kitchen because I love what I created and I love the beauty of sunflowers.  I will also put it up on my website and if it speaks to someone else that would be great. But the value really lies within me the creator.

Here is a sample of the sunflowers in my garden straight out of camera. As I looked around I found the one in the finished art piece. I love these sunflowers and grow them every year. And now I have a great image of them to brighten up my kitchen.