top of page
  • Writer's pictureJanice Mather

The Art of Collecting: Tips for Aspiring Art Connoisseurs

Collecting art is a journey of passion, discovery, and self-expression. Whether you're a seasoned connoisseur or just starting, this guide aims to offer valuable insights for aspiring art collectors. From understanding the local art scene to making informed purchases, we'll navigate the fascinating world of art collection together.

Navigating the Calgary Art Scene

Embracing Local Art

Calgary, with its vibrant artistic community, offers a rich tapestry of creative expression. From galleries to street art, the city is a canvas in itself. Understanding the local art scene is crucial for discovering hidden gems and supporting emerging talents.

Finding the right sources is key to building an art collection. Galleries, art fairs, and online platforms all offer unique avenues for art acquisition. We'll explore the diverse options available in Calgary, helping you make informed decisions.

Purchasing art paintings requires a discerning eye and a thoughtful approach. It's not merely about acquiring a visually appealing piece, but also understanding the depth of the artist's technique and the emotional impact it conveys. Here are some key considerations to keep in mind when buying art paintings in Calgary:

1. Understanding Art Techniques: Familiarizing yourself with different painting techniques is crucial in appreciating the skill and artistry behind each piece. Whether it's the intricate brushwork of an oil painting or the vibrant palette knife strokes of an acrylic piece, recognizing these techniques adds a layer of appreciation for the artist's craftsmanship.

2. Exploring Art Movements: Calgary's art scene encompasses a diverse range of styles and movements. From the bold strokes of abstract expressionism to the meticulous details of realism, each movement carries its own narrative and artistic philosophy. By understanding these movements, you can align your preferences with artists whose work resonates with you.

3. Assessing Emotional Resonance: A great piece of art has the power to evoke emotions and stir the soul. When evaluating paintings, consider how the piece makes you feel. Does it convey a sense of serenity through its calming colors, or does it ignite a spark of excitement with its dynamic composition? Trusting your emotional response is an integral part of finding art that truly speaks to you.

4. Engaging with Local Artists: Calgary boasts a thriving community of talented local artists. Engaging with them allows you to gain insight into their creative process, influences, and the stories behind their works. Many artists in the city welcome conversations with collectors, providing a deeper connection to the art you're considering.

5. Seeking Expert Guidance: If you're new to art collecting or exploring a style unfamiliar to you, don't hesitate to seek guidance from experts or gallery professionals. They can provide valuable insights into the artist's background, the significance of the piece, and its place within the broader art landscape.

By approaching the process of buying art paintings in Calgary with a combination of knowledge, emotional resonance, and expert guidance, you'll not only acquire visually captivating pieces but also build a collection that holds personal meaning and significance. This thoughtful approach ensures that each painting becomes a cherished addition to your evolving art journey.

Understanding Art Styles

Exploring Contemporary Art

Contemporary art is a dynamic genre that reflects the current cultural and social landscape. In Calgary, the contemporary art scene is thriving, showcasing bold and innovative works. Familiarizing yourself with this genre will open doors to a world of thought-provoking pieces.

Appreciating Local Art Paintings

Local artists bring a distinctive flavor to the art scene. Their works often reflect the city's unique culture and perspectives. Investing in local art not only supports the community but also adds a personal touch to your collection.

Impressionist painting by Janice Mather Calgary Skyline
Passion in Pink By Janice Mather

Making Informed Purchases

Buying Art Paintings in Calgary

Purchasing art paintings requires a discerning eye and a thoughtful approach. We'll delve into the intricacies of evaluating paintings, from understanding techniques to assessing the emotional resonance of a piece.

Finding the right sources is key to building an art collection. Calgary, as a hub of artistic creativity, provides a plethora of opportunities for art enthusiasts to discover and acquire exceptional pieces. Let's delve deeper into these diverse options:

1. Art Galleries: Calgary is home to a vibrant array of art galleries, each with its own distinct character and selection. Whether you're interested in contemporary art, traditional works, or niche genres, galleries offer curated spaces that allow you to immerse yourself in the world of art. Some notable galleries include the Esker Foundation, Contemporary Calgary, and the Glenbow Museum, each offering a unique perspective on the city's art scene.

2. Art Fairs and Exhibitions: Throughout the year, Calgary hosts a variety of art fairs and exhibitions that showcase the talents of local and international artists. These events provide an excellent opportunity to explore a wide range of art styles and connect with both emerging and established artists. The Calgary Stampede Western Art Show, for example, brings together a stunning collection of Western-themed art, while the Inglewood Art Walk highlights the neighborhood's artistic spirit.

3. Online Platforms: In today's digital age, online platforms have revolutionized the way we discover and purchase art. Websites like offer an extensive selection of original artworks and prints, making it convenient to explore and acquire pieces from the comfort of your home. These platforms often provide detailed information about the artists and their works, enabling you to make informed decisions.

4. Local Art Markets: Keep an eye out for local art markets and pop-up events in Calgary. These gatherings often feature independent artists and artisans who showcase their creations directly to the public. It's an excellent opportunity to engage with artists, ask questions about their work, and discover unique, handcrafted pieces that may not be available through traditional channels.

By exploring these diverse avenues for art acquisition in Calgary, you'll have the opportunity to connect with the local art scene, discover hidden gems, and curate a collection that reflects your personal taste and appreciation for creativity.

Art Prints: A Worthy Addition

Art prints offer an accessible entry point into the world of art collection. They allow you to bring the beauty of original works into your space at a more affordable price point. We'll explore where to buy high-quality art prints in Calgary.

Art prints offer an accessible entry point into the world of art collection. They serve as an excellent way to bring the beauty and essence of original works into your space at a more affordable price point. Unlike original paintings, art prints are reproductions of the artist's work, meticulously recreated to capture every detail and nuance.

Advantages of Art Prints:

  1. Affordability: Art prints are generally more budget-friendly compared to original pieces. This makes them an excellent choice for individuals who appreciate art but may have budget constraints.

  2. Accessibility to Iconic Works: Many renowned artworks are held in private collections or museums, making them inaccessible to the general public. With art prints, you can enjoy replicas of these iconic works in your own home.

  3. Diverse Styles and Artists: The world of art prints encompasses a vast array of styles and artists. Whether you're drawn to impressionism, surrealism, or contemporary abstract, you'll find a wide selection to suit your taste.

Where to Buy High-Quality Art Prints in Calgary:

  1. Galleries and Art Fairs: Many galleries and art fairs in Calgary offer a selection of high-quality art prints alongside original pieces. These establishments often curate their collections to ensure that the reproductions maintain the integrity and essence of the original work.

  2. Online Marketplaces: Online platforms have become a popular avenue for purchasing art prints. Websites like provide a diverse range of prints, allowing you to explore different styles and artists from the comfort of your home. Look for platforms that prioritize high-quality printing and materials.

  3. Local Artisan Markets: Calgary hosts various artisan markets where local artists showcase their creations, including art prints. These events offer a unique opportunity to engage with artists directly and discover distinctive pieces that may not be readily available elsewhere.

  4. Specialized Print Shops: Some print shops specialize in producing high-quality art prints. They use advanced printing techniques and premium materials to ensure that the reproductions capture the essence of the original work.

By exploring these avenues, you can add a curated selection of art prints to your collection, allowing you to enjoy the beauty of iconic works and diverse artistic styles. Remember that while art prints are reproductions, they hold their own value in enhancing the aesthetic and cultural richness of your space.

Cultivating Your Taste

Trusting Your Instincts

While it's valuable to gather knowledge about art, trust your instincts. Your emotional connection to a piece is ultimately what makes it a meaningful addition to your collection.

Exploring Diverse Genres

A well-rounded collection often spans various genres and mediums. Don't be afraid to explore new styles and artists. This diversity adds depth and interest to your collection.

Sunset on a shoreline on Vancouver Island
Island Magic Marcus Zee

Caring for Your Collection

Preserving the Beauty

Proper care ensures your art remains a source of inspiration for generations to come. We'll discuss simple yet effective techniques for preserving your art, from framing to climate control.

Proper care ensures your art remains a source of inspiration for generations to come. To maintain the integrity and beauty of your collection, it's important to implement effective preservation techniques. Here are some key considerations:

1. Framing and Mounting: Choosing the right frame not only enhances the visual appeal of your artwork but also provides essential protection. Opt for archival-quality materials to prevent damage from UV light, moisture, and pollutants. Additionally, use acid-free matting and backing boards to ensure the longevity of the piece.

2. UV-Protective Glass or Acrylic: When framing your art, consider using glass or acrylic with UV protection. These materials filter out harmful ultraviolet rays that can cause fading and deterioration over time. UV-protective glazing helps preserve the vibrancy and colors of your artwork.

3. Proper Display and Lighting: Where you choose to display your art can greatly impact its longevity. Avoid placing pieces in direct sunlight or near heat sources, as extreme temperatures and light exposure can lead to fading and deterioration. Use adjustable lighting with low UV emissions to highlight your collection while minimizing potential damage.

4. Climate Control: Maintaining a stable environment is crucial for preserving art. Fluctuations in temperature and humidity can lead to warping, cracking, and deterioration of materials. Consider investing in climate control systems or using dehumidifiers to regulate the conditions in your display area.

5. Handling with Care: When moving or cleaning your art, always handle it with clean hands and use appropriate tools. Avoid touching the surface of the artwork, especially with bare hands, as oils and residues can transfer and cause damage over time.

6. Regular Inspection and Maintenance: Routinely inspect your collection for any signs of wear, damage, or deterioration. Promptly address any issues to prevent further harm. Dusting and cleaning should be done with care, using non-abrasive materials and techniques recommended for the specific medium.

7. Professional Conservation: For valuable or antique pieces, consider consulting a professional conservator. They have the expertise and specialized knowledge to assess, restore, and preserve artworks using meticulous techniques that adhere to industry standards.

By implementing these preservation techniques, you can ensure that your art collection remains a source of inspiration and beauty for generations to come. Remember, the care you invest in your collection not only safeguards its physical condition but also preserves the stories and emotions woven into each piece.

Displaying Your Collection

The way you display your art can significantly impact its impact. We'll provide tips on arranging and lighting your collection to create a captivating visual experience.

The way you display your art can significantly impact its impact. It's not just about finding a spot on the wall; it's about creating a curated environment that enhances the viewer's experience. Here are some valuable tips on arranging and lighting your collection to ensure it captivates and resonates:

1. Consider the Layout: Begin by envisioning the layout of your space. Take into account the dimensions of the room, the existing furniture, and the natural flow of light. This will help you determine the most suitable placement for each piece, ensuring they complement rather than compete with one another.

2. Create Focal Points: Select key pieces within your collection to serve as focal points. These could be larger or particularly striking works that draw the viewer's attention. Arrange complementary pieces around these focal points to create a visually balanced and harmonious display.

3. Experiment with Arrangement Styles: There are various arrangement styles to consider, depending on the aesthetic you wish to achieve. For example, a symmetrical arrangement imparts a sense of order and formality, while an asymmetrical layout adds an element of dynamism and intrigue. Don't be afraid to mix styles to create a unique and engaging display.

4. Balance Sizes and Proportions: Pay attention to the size and proportion of each piece relative to the space it occupies. Avoid overcrowding, as this can overwhelm the viewer. Similarly, avoid placing small pieces too far apart, as they may get lost in the overall composition.

5. Mind the Viewing Height: The optimal viewing height for most artwork is at eye level. This allows viewers to engage with the piece comfortably and fully appreciate its details. However, for larger pieces or in spaces with unconventional layouts, you may need to adjust the viewing height accordingly.

6. Lighting Matters: Adequate lighting is crucial for showcasing your collection. Natural light can enhance the vibrancy of colors, but it's important to control for direct sunlight, which can lead to fading. Supplemental lighting, such as track lighting or strategically placed spotlights, can be used to highlight specific pieces and create a dynamic visual effect.

7. Create Visual Cohesion: Consider the overall theme or narrative you want your collection to convey. Choose pieces that complement one another in terms of style, color palette, or subject matter. This creates a cohesive visual story that ties your collection together.

8. Rotate and Refresh: Periodically rotating pieces within your collection not only keeps the display fresh and engaging, but also allows you to appreciate each piece in a new context. It also helps prevent potential damage from prolonged exposure to light.

By applying these tips, you'll transform your space into a dynamic gallery that not only showcases individual artworks but also tells a collective story. The arrangement and lighting of your collection play a pivotal role in creating an immersive and captivating visual experience for both you and your guests.


Embarking on the journey of art collection is a deeply personal and rewarding endeavor. By immersing yourself in the Calgary art scene, understanding different styles, and making informed purchases, you'll build a collection that reflects your unique taste and passion for art. Remember, the most important aspect of collecting is the joy it brings to your life, as each piece tells a story and invites you into a world of creativity and imagination.

Contempory Art hanging on a wall
Janice Mather's art display for the Calgary Stampede

bottom of page