How to shop for art at art festivals and galleries

Contemporary landscape paintings at art festival

Are you headed to an art festival or a gallery? Both are fantastic places to purchase art. You’ll be able to see and get a feel for a lot of different art. At art festivals and at galleries that show multiple artists, you’ll be able to see a range of art styles, sizes, colors, mediums (what the art is made from), and prices. And, at art festivals, you’ll likely get to meet the artist!

Getting to talk to the person that made the art often strengthens your connection to the art – you know the person that made it and will probably get to learn about their process and inspiration. Then, when people come over to your house and admire your art, you’ll be able to tell them all about the piece and the person who made it! How cool is that?

Three steps for a successful art-buying experience

First, in my dozen-plus years of selling art, I have learned that are two types of art shoppers: Those that buy the art they love and don’t worry about where they will put it, and those that shop for a specific spot in their home.

If you’re the first type, you probably don’t need my help! If you’re the second type, read on for three tips that will help you purchase the perfect piece of art for your home.

Step 1: Take photographs

Dining room that needs art

Photograph the wall that you want to put art on. It helps to have a straight-on shot as well as a couple photos of the wall from different angles. Even better, photograph other parts of the room to really capture the space. Bring these photos with you when you go shopping for art. Even though artists and gallerists aren’t necessarily interior designers, they are creative people who will be able to recommend art to fit in with or complement your existing décor.

Step 2: Measure!

Image shows how to measure a space to determine what size art you need

Measure the area in which you want to hang your art. For example, if you want to hang a painting above a couch, measure the width of the couch as well as the height from the top of the couch to the ceiling. If you want to hang a painting in the center of a dining room, measure the width of the wall. You don’t need to determine what size art to buy, as long as you have the space measurements and photos, the artist or gallerist will be able to recommend the right size art for you!

Step 3: Determine your goal

Landscape painting hanging over bath tub in high-end bathroom

What role do you want your art to play in the room? What feeling or mood do you want the art to evoke? Do you want the art to tell part of your story or remind you of anything? Are there certain colors or subject matters that would lead you to this goal?

For instance, you may have a stressful job and work from a home office. A piece of art that feels peaceful or calming could be a good fit. Soft blues, greens, and earthy colors tend to feel peaceful. Anything from an abstract painting, to a detailed ocean scene, to a contemporary painting of a bouquet could fit the bill here.

Or perhaps one of your fondest memories is playing in your grandparents’ front yard as a kid while they sat on the front porch and watched the sunset. Maybe a painting of a beautiful sunset would make you think of them and smile every time you saw it.

That’s it! Photograph, measure, and determine your goal. And, oh yah, don't be afraid to ask questions of the artists and gallerists!

Check out all my other blog posts about collecting art here.

Any questions? Send me an email at

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