Making beauty part of your life

Originally published in Enchanted Homes

Picture taken from Act I Gallery website 

A stunning piece of art can accomplish the miracle of transforming an ordinary house into a welcoming home.

“Bringing art into a home is the perfect way to express creativity and individuality, to create a personal haven and to share it with family and friends,” said Anita Ellison, the owner of Act I Gallery. “A house remains a house, but it becomes a home only when personal touches are added, when the voice of the owner can be heard throughout. We all love to spend time in the home of a person who has acquired fine art that evokes warmth, comfort, fascination, mystery, beauty and excitement.”

A passionate collector and connoisseur of art, Ellison quotes Pablo Picasso. “He stated that the purpose of art was washing the dust of daily life off our souls,” she said. “One of the greatest benefits of an art collection is the positive feelings that it gives you, lifting the moods of everyone in the room or perhaps piquing the interest of you and your guests.” In creating a work of art, she explains, the artist pours his soul out to share with others. Therefore, fine art continues to live through the viewers as they bring their own interpretations to the paintings and sculpture.

Collecting art is more complex than just finding a painting that goes with of the decor. It requires commitment and training, therefore, Ellison encourages people who want to become collectors to begin as soon as they can. “The sooner one starts an art collection, the more trained the eye becomes, encouraging the development of one’s own aesthetic sensibility,” she said. “Yes, your taste may evolve over the years, but your early pieces serve as a historical perspective of the stages of your life. Like photos of years gone by, your art collection brings back memories and continues to develop new meaning as time moves on.”

A fine art collection will become a family heirloom; something to give meaning, continuity and the unique narrative of a family’s history. “It is especially important to keep all documentation with the collection as it could become highly valuable,” she said. “However, a collection of fine art thoughtfully acquired has value far beyond monetary considerations.”

When I point out that monetary considerations may in fact prevent some people from becoming collectors, particularly in these times, Ellison gives an enthusiastic answer: “Art improves the quality of life. It is an opportunity to bring more beauty and joy in our lives. We spend the majority of our lives in our homes, and studies have proven that art has both mental and physical benefits for improving the quality of life that go far beyond the superficial. Invest in the quality of your life!”

In that sense, collecting artwork isn’t just a financial investment but an investment in one’s personal wellbeing.

Most galleries and artists offer affordable time payment plans, Ellison explains, thus making quality fine art available to all. “Rather than spending money on an iPod or new couch, consider an investment that lasts a lifetime and beyond,” she said. “There is no time like the present to walk into a gallery and begin the exciting journey!”

Useful tips

Manny Lopez, gallery owner and art collector, shares some tips about how to display art at home:

1. Hang the artwork in a way that its center (focal point) is at eye level.

2. Balance size and color to create a grouping. For example, place larger items at equal distances from a central piece and fill the spaces with smaller items.

3. Matting and framing are essential but it can be quite expensive at times. Use less matting. Usually the price difference from 3 inches to 1 1/2 is substantial and the difference isn’t always too noticeable.

4. Get neutral frames and mattes, so they don’t detract attention from the art piece.

5. A cool way to display artwork is making a  “tendedera”, or clothesline. A simple strand of rope with two knots at each end looks great and you can attach the pieces with pins.

6. If you are not much inclined to make holes in your walls, get easels. There are some made of iron, which have a distressed look that would look fabulous in any room.

7. Try rearranging your artwork every six or eight months or so to keep the home feeling different… and fresh.



Act I Gallery is located at 218 Paseo Del Pueblo Norte # B  Taos, NM 87571
Phone: (575) 758-7831


About dovalpage

Teresa Dovalpage was born in Havana and now lives in Taos, New Mexico. She has a Ph.D. in Spanish literature and teaches at UNM Taos. She also freelances for Taos News, Profile, Hispanic Executive and other publications. A bilingual author, she has published eight novels, six in Spanish and two in English, two collections of short stories in Spanish and one in English. Her English-language novels are A Girl like Che Guevara (Soho Press, 2004) and Habanera, a Portrait of a Cuban Family (Floricanto Press, 2010). Her collection of short stories The Astral Plane, Stories of Cuba, the Southwest and Beyond was published by the University of New Orleans Press in 2012. In her native Spanish she has authored the novels Muerte de un murciano en La Habana (Death of a Murcian in Havana, Anagrama, 2006, a runner-up for the Herralde Award in Spain), El difunto Fidel (The late Fidel, Renacimiento, 2011, that won the Rincon de la Victoria Award in Spain in 2009), Posesas de La Habana (Haunted Ladies of Havana, PurePlay Press, 2004), La Regenta en La Habana (Edebe Group, Spain, 2012,) Orfeo en el Caribe(Atmósfera Literaria, Spain, 2013) and El retorno de la expatriada (The expat’s return, Egales, Spain, 2014). Her short novel Las Muertas de la West Mesa (The West Mesa Murders, based on a real event) is currently being published in serialized format by Taos News.
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