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Artistic Tips

These simple steps will help you get the maximum enjoyment and appreciation from your art -- and limit the damage to your wall during hanging.

As an exhibiting artist, my preference is white walls as a backdrop for my work. The key is to display your artwork so that it is complimented, not distracted, by its surroundings.

In general, avoid busy wallpapers as a backdrop for hanging art unless it is a strong image such as a minimalist or color-field work.

For colored walls, try to match colors within the painting or mat to give a coordinated look.

Groupings of large paintings will overwhelm a small room. A selection of small works, grouped tightly together, turn awkward nooks and alcoves into inviting niches.

Symmetrical displays of an even number of pieces which are evenly spaced are the easiest to create.

Asymmetrical displays work best if the pieces of art being hung are of different sizes, shapes and colors.

Planning prevents wall damage. Use graph paper to sketch the available wall space to get an idea whether the size and scale of the pieces will work well together.

Alternatively, cut pieces of scrap paper to the approximate proportions of the work to be hung and rearrange until you have your small grouping conceptualized.

Steal a tip that gallery staff use when hanging exhibitions. Lay the work on the floor or against the wall to get a feel for its placement. This will also let you see how the light will reflect on the work.

The perfect height to view art is eye level -- but if you're shorter or taller than average consider that the average eye level is approximately 60 inches from the floor.

Large paintings, which are meant to be a focal point in a room, work best if centered over furniture, such as a couch, over a fireplace or within a large expanse of wall space.

Measure the painting to find the center of the piece. Allow for the drop of the picture wire and make a mark on the wall where you will put the picture hanger.

Never use nails. Place a piece of Scotch or masking tape on the wall where you've made your hanging mark. This will protect your wall from cracking when you hammer the picture hook into position.


While it's perfectly all right to buy art that fits in with your decor, make sure that it reflects your personal style. Buy what you like and you'll live happily with your art for years.

Clustering small pieces together creates greater impact than hanging individually.

How you display your art is as personal a statement as the work itself. If a particular painting feels right where you want it, so you can see it from a certain point or daily when you wake for example, then that's where your art belongs.