Art Collectors in Paradise  –  Here in the BVI, most of us have a breathtaking view outside our windows. So, what’s on the walls? How about some art. To invest in art is to be passionate about another human being’s creation and to be sensitive to one’s own visual, emotional and spiritual well-being. Art compels us to think and feel differently, freely, openly. It can evoke a favourite memory or experience or invite quiet contemplation, joy, humour, mystery.

Long-term BVI resident Susan Knudsen said she purchased a semi-abstract drawing for “its beautiful colours and recognition of a place on island. It reminds me of the houses on my road.”  Collectors Abigail Blake and her husband Bones bought a painting to commemorate a special event:  “Our most recent purchase was a piece my husband commissioned from local artist Lutai Tai Durante for our 15th wedding anniversary a few weeks ago. It’s a painting of a local farmer tending his charcoal pits on Sage Mountain.”

A painting is a stimulating conversation piece, an opening dialogue between viewers because the art experience is so personal and varied. Abigail had these words to say about another painting she and Bones purchased locally:  “We bought two pieces [by Stephanie Clayton].  A funny thing about the first painting…it’s a modern piece done in shades of pink, deep pink, red and blue. Looking at the painting, you can see a face and a fish and my husband calls it ‘Peter and the Fish.’  However, when he mentioned this to Stephanie, she had not painted or seen a face at all; it was a painting of yachts harbored (I believe at Peter Island) and she had meant for it to hang with the side that we have at the top to be at the right side. So we saw something in the painting that she had never intended but it was what drew my husband to the piece.” Sometimes a different set of eyes will see something totally different and unintended in a piece.

Unless you’re collecting for investment purposes, buy art for no other reason than you love it. (If you are looking for investment opportunities in the art world, better to seek the advice of a professional dealer.)  The idea of “matching the painting to the sofa” is becoming antiquated. If you have fallen in love with a work of art, it really is all right to go for it. Chances are, it will look great somewhere in your home, as our tastes in design and art do tend to overlap. Susan says she takes her existing décor into account when shopping for art; however, she is not deterred if it does not coordinate ideally. Susan keeps her décor casual and eclectic, which is helpful to introducing a new piece into the collection. 

If you already own a few artworks, try new arrangements when introducing a new piece. It sounds rather obvious, but is quite easily overlooked. Think about all options. Abigail states:  “We don’t have much of a system for hanging [paintings] but try to place complementary pieces together. I wouldn’t really say it complements our décor, which is fairly eclectic and not really ‘designed’ or decorated as such.”


When shopping for art, if you’re really concerned, pick a colour or two from your interior on which to focus. Pay particular attention to scale. Measure all potential wall space. Take photographs with you. If you’re looking to expand an existing collection, look for pieces within a particular theme or colour family. This will help tremendously, and when you see the right piece, you’ll know that it’s right. Still not convinced?  Ask about an arrangement in which you may “rent” the art to try it at home before committing.

You just can’t seem to find the right painting, drawing or sculpture?  Many artists accept commission jobs, working with the client to create personal original pieces. If originals don’t fit the budget, ask an artist whose work you admire whether they offer lower-priced prints or limited editions. Perhaps they employ the quality services of a print-on-demand business with options to fit literally every budget. If not, the artist may be willing to create a smaller piece for a price that is more manageable.
Building a collection of fine art provides many rewards, not to mention what it does for those walls.  

Stephanie Clayton
(284) 499-1261
[email protected]