Wednesday, May 13, 2009

How much Paul N. Norton worth?

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Paul N Norton watercolor print
Well the first question is who is Paul N. Norton?

"Paul N. Norton (February 15, 1909 in Moline, Illinois – 1984) was an American artist. The son of a railway clerk, Norton painted more than 500 watercolors in his career, and also created many memorable logos for companies such as Dairy Queen, Pella Windows, and others. His paintings can be found hanging in the White House, U.S. Capitol, the Iowa Governor's Mansion, and Tahoma Vista Village among others."

Recently it seems there is a spike in number of people trying to figure out how much Paul N. Norton's artworks worth. And there seems to be a lot of art prints floating around. As with any art it is only worth what people are willing to pay for it, but I did some research and here is what I found out. Disclaimer: This is a guideline and personal opinion only – this is not a proof or solid fact, so use it wisely.

I will not mention all the sources that I had to researched over the years for one simple reason, there are too many and not all of them look very reliable. The feeling I got from my research is this:

High quality art print on watercolor paper can range from $50.00 to $500.00. The price is based on how rare the print is and this is including the frame. I have not yet come across artwork that is not a watercolor so I would say as long as it is a watercolor it and it is an original it can probably go as high as $5000.00.

Limited edition prints will fetch more, but again I haven't seen or heard about any of them. However, there are many high quality prints on watercolor paper and the most common question is "Do I have an original or a copy". Most of the prints have brown protective paper glued to the back, but an easy way to determine if it is an original or a print is to use a magnifying glass. If you see dots it is not an original. Watercolor paint is absorbed by the paper and sometimes even 'bleeds' through it if a lot is used, so dots or sharp end at the edges is a good indication that you are dealing with a high quality print rather than original.

Please do not e-mail or call me to find out how much your Paul N. Norton art worth. You can post a comment here and I'll reply. If you have sold an original or art print please share you experience here – solid figures are appreciated. 

There are a lot of great information accumulated in the comments over the years. If you read them all you'll probably find your answer.

A PLUS ONE is always appreciated: 

In the end the best advice is – contact your local art gallery and they should be able to give you an estimate, if not then you are working with the wrong gallery.

My Paul N. Norton watercolor print for sale.

Mikhail Onanov

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Exhibit or exhibition – what is what and what is right?

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Original oil painting of Russian church in Moscow in the Winter
Recently someone asked me if there is a difference between exhibit and exhibition and what is it? I can see why this question comes up since many artists use these terms interchangeably.

In the art community either one will work when talking about a public showing of artwork, many other places will accept either one as well. So, from the point of view of communicating with others, it really doesn't matter. The difference is in the definition and if one wants to go an extra mile and use these terms correctly.

If we keep the use of these words to the artist's world, then:

Exhibit - is an artwork that is part of collection of other artworks or a sole artwork being presented in a public showing. In other words exhibit is a single piece of art that is part of the Exhibition.

Exhibition - is a public showing of art (usually multiple artworks but can be a single artwork). In other words exhibition is a way of showing multiple (or single) exhibits to the public. Exhibiting - is a process of showing artworks that are part of an exhibition.

Interestingly enough even Wikipedia has definition for exhibition where exhibit and exhibition are considered equally the same:

-- Art exhibitions are traditionally the space in which art objects (in the most general sense) meet an audience. The exhibit is universally understood to be for some temporary period unless, as is rarely true, it is stated to be a "permanent exhibition". In American English, they may be called "exhibit", "exposition" (the French word) or "show". In UK English, they are always called "exhibitions" or "shows", and an individual item in the show is an "exhibit". --

Hope this will clear things up a little,

My on-line Art Exhibition

Mikhail Onanov

Friday, May 8, 2009

Oil paintings – more oil paint or less?

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How much oil paint to use and what are the criteria for using more or less oil paint when creating an oil painting? The answer might not be so simple but there are a few general guidelines that can be followed. Here they are:

Portraits - it is obvious that the face on the portrait has to be flat, there are many reasons why, but unless it is an abstract painting any 'ups' or 'downs' will create additional shadows base on where the light source is located and can ruin the artwork. As long as the face is flat everything else is just based on style -Either enough oil paint can be used to just barely cover the canvas, when the canvas texture is still visible up-close, or more can be used to make sure that the texture is hidden. The first approach is safer since the paint most likely will not crack, the second one requires more experience but the basic rule is - to prevent cracks the later layers of paint should be thicker than the previous ones.

Besides faces the rest of the painting can be done virtually in unlimited number of ways. The most common approach is to keep the thickness of paint consistent throughout the oil art, and it used a lot in the classic impressionism paintings by many famous artists. It doesn't have to be this way.

Paint can be used to put emphases on some objects in the composition and to create a 3D feel to artwork. Here is an example of landscape oil paintings where the center of the painting is flat, but the trees and leafs were created using much more oil paint making them appear closer. In some parts of the painting the paint is up to half an inch above the canvas surface.

Shadows in this case is not an issue, since in this landscape painting different position of the light source will create an impression of seeing this park at the different time of the day. The one thing that will work against this painting is a direct light source aimed in the middle of it, it will hide all the intended effects and will make painting look good instead of exceptional. This never happens in life, homes or galleries never have a light source directed to the middle of the painting, and if it is not aimed from the side then it will be from above.

Portraits can be 'enhanced' the same way. The face has to be flat, but no one said that the rest of the painting has to be flat as well. The rest of the painting is left to artist’s imagination and a lot can be done there. Again, combination of colors, texture, light source and many other things is what makes the painting 'work' and if it was as simple as following the rules then everyone would be a great artist.

See more Oil Paintings that are done using some of the techniques described above.


Mikhail Onanov

Friday, May 1, 2009

Edgar Degas – Nudes for everyone or you rather race a horse?

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Degas – poor with high expectations from his parents – sounds like a perfect recipe to become famous artist. The one thing he had on his side is his death. In his lifetime he sold only one artwork to a museum, but there are many, not as fortunate artist, that sold none during their lifetime, and now their art sells for millions of dollars. So why is Edgar Degas famous anyway?

There are many ways to interpret his popularity after death but it is better to start with his life. He was 'all over the place' – paintings, sculpture and pastels. He picked probably a passion and topic that was not so popular at the time – history paintings. The thing that worked against him the most is his believe that an artist could have no personal life. Combination of these factors worked very much against him plus, as any artist knows, you need a little bit of luck on your side and he probably had none. But then the competitions was pretty tough too, Monet as one of them, and impressionism was still new.

Edgar Degas made it, too late, but still... It gives hopes to other artist out there, and it is sounds more and more like 'Forest Gump' life story. In the end, many years later, when many artworks were lost to social cataclysms or end up in private collections, there were not so many left, and eventually some artcritic or a good businessman came across Degas work and decided that they are as good as any and can compete with well known artist at the time. Sculptures, Dancers, Horses and other art, which was not covered much by other artist, this was the perfect opportunity to present his work as unique and "one of a kind".

In the end Degas is known for his dancers, horseracing, sculpture and nude artwork, but during his life he was always leaning towards history paintings. Every artist would like to be famous, but "do you rather be famous for who you are or what people are told you are?" Better to be famous whichever way than being no one, but civilization is not over yet, and who knows there might be another artist around the corner that will be "it" soon.

Art is strange, fascinating, dangerous, exciting and wrong subject to write about, because there is no right, no wrong and no maybe – it's just art – some make it someone not, some sells someone not, someone is not an artist and famous and some is an Artist and not... Too many unknowns but one thing is certain it is ART.

Mikhail Onanov