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The Brownston Gallery art - choosing art for your holiday home

The Brownston Gallery, situated in the characterful market town of Modbury, is a treasure trove of contemporary fine art. With pieces reflecting the local landscape to paintings that ooze nostalgia and fun, this emporium of creativity inspires you to dip into the art scene and swap bare walls and spaces for a sprucing of colour, depth and originality. That’s why we spoke to The Brownston Gallery team to find out their top tips to finding the perfect piece of art, or pieces depending on your budget, to enhance your holiday home’s interior and create an inviting, memorable space that not only benefits you, but also your guests experience.

No matter if you’re a newcomer or efficient art buyer, the wonderful thing about art is there’s always something to learn and discover….

Use the quick links below for information on a particular subject, or continue reading for our full Q&A with The Brownston Gallery:

The Brownston Gallery Q&A | Choosing art for your holiday home

The Brownston Gallery artworks - choosing art for your holiday home

From left to right:
Thurlestone Rock, Ellie Verrechia
Overbecks Palm Garden, Ellie Verrecchia

Can you tell us about The Brownston Gallery and the artists that you represent?

The gallery is one of the leading contemporary fine art galleries in the South West, representing a good mix of local and national artists, sculptors and designers.

From late artists Anthony Amos, Robert Oscar Lenkiewicz and Jean Jones to an exciting array of contemporary works from abstract expressionist Jerry Browning, Scottish colourist Charles Jamieson and rising star Plymouth based Julie Ellis, to name a few, here at The Brownston Gallery we represent a variety of fantastic artists, with more to showcase this year!

We collaborate closely with the prestigious South West Academy and the popular Plymouth College of Art, mentoring, motivating and introducing young emerging artists to the commercial aspects of the art world.

What are the benefits of having art in a holiday home?

A painting on the wall always is a great addition to a room, adding interest and colour whether it’s an original, a print or poster. Artwork is the finishing touch to a house and gives it extra personality and identity.

Choosing a painting that captures a local scene or view is a wonderful way to bring the outside in. We have many artists who are inspired by their surroundings, such as Ellie Verrecchia and Michael Hill, whose paintings depict the coastline from Noss Mayo to Salcombe.

How do I start the process of choosing art for my holiday home?

I would suggest visiting the galleries in the vicinity as they will feature work by artists living in the area.  Local auction houses and antique stores are also good places to source artwork.

Look out for the local art society annual exhibition as there will always be a large selection of paintings for sale, many featuring local landscapes. It is worth tapping into the local Artists Network as they have an annual open studio event, and provided you have the time, it’s a lovely way to explore the county, meet the artists and view their work.

What are the main differences in choosing artwork for holiday homes compared to residential properties?

The main difference is that holiday home art won’t include priceless masterpieces or rare items – you don’t want to risk them getting damaged.

The objective is to create an inviting space, using art, that complements and provides interest but doesn’t break the bank to replace or cause upset if it gets damaged.

Would you recommend different types of art for different rooms?

The Brownston Gallery art - choosing art for your holiday home

From left to right:
Cavalcade, Jerry Browning
Buttercups at Ide, Joe Webster

Prints are always good for corridors and rooms that get a lot of use, such as kitchen and bathrooms. We would recommend finding a bold, statement painting to put above a fireplace, in the sitting room or in the entrance hall (if it is fairly large). This will set the tone for the property, provide a focal point and create a good place to make use of a painting that will grab attention.

How would you mix different medias in a property to create an inviting space?

It’s always interesting to mix paintings and prints with some well-chosen pieces of sculpture. These can add visual detail to the eye-line of a room so that everything’s not on the wall. Also, people love to touch sculpture – especially children – so it can be great fun to choose some quirky pieces that are robust and will stand up to a lot of attention.

For those with a blank canvas, would you suggest choosing artwork or furnishings first?

Logistically it’s probably easier to choose and place artwork once the colour scheme has been decided and the furnishings are in place, but it’s a good idea to think about lighting and where you might be hanging paintings before the electrician leaves! It also depends on what kind of impression you are hoping to give.  Nowadays, people really do like to look at art and are quite well-informed, so don’t be afraid of trying new things – be bold! The worst that can happen is that you have created an interesting topic of conversation.

For those with a furnished property, how can you use art to enhance existing interior furnishings?

Artwork definitely finishes off an interior, it will help bring the décor together – the icing on the cake so to speak. Art enhances interiors in so many ways, for instance; a nice sculpture will gently attract the eye, an abstract painting can pick out some of the colours in a room, a series of prints will add a bit of life to what could otherwise be a dull corridor, a painting depicting a local landscape will become a talking point – the list is endless!

Who are the top trending Devon artists to look out for now?

The Brownston Gallery Barry Kelly art - choosing art for your holiday home

Burgh Island Adrift, Barry Kelly

We have an abundance of great upcoming artists in Devon. Ones I would look out for are Ellie Verrecchia for her beautiful landscapes of Salcombe, Bigbury and Noss Mayo; Julie Ellis for her romantic, atmospheric paintings – her small abstracts are sublime and would be the perfect addition to any hallway or bedroom; Barry Kelly for his use of colour – his paintings of the beaches at Bantham and Bigbury in particular are stunning and his large works would create a terrific statement piece; and Joe Webster – his paintings of the lush Devon hedgerows and glorious bluebell woods will bring warmth and a smile to the most jaded visitor.

Do you have any top tips for styling artwork in a property? Lighting, positioning etc.

  1. Avoid placing paintings that aren’t protected by glass in direct sunlight.
  2. Always take into account the room or space. For instance, bright coloured paintings will always liven up a dark room. Or, if you opt for paintings that are dark and moody, you might want to consider investing in some picture lights.
  3. Grouping artwork is a good way to fill a larger wall area. For instance, a series or group of four prints or paintings (arranged 2 over 2) hung in row can add additional interest.
  4. Do mix up the size of paintings and try things out before hanging your artwork. Sometimes a larger sized painting will look surprisingly good in a small space. Hanging art is a two person job – one to hold and the other to stand back and view it from a distance to check it is being placed at the right height, as well as the right position.
  5. An effective way to draw attention to corners, or areas people may not pay particular attention to, is by placing a sculpture or an interesting piece of artwork in that area.

Are there common mistakes people make when choosing art that you can recommend avoiding?

Art is very subjective and we all like different things, which is what makes collecting art so interesting and enjoyable. However, choosing pieces for a holiday home is slightly different in that you are wanting the interior to appeal to a larger audience, and make the house a welcoming and relaxing space for your guests to enjoy their holiday in. Therefore, we would recommend not getting too carried away with too many statement pieces – one or two will be enough. Complement feature pieces with a good selection of paintings prints and photographs of the area by local artists, creating a mix that will blend into the home and enhance the interior without being overpowering.

Here in South Devon, we’re surrounded by stunning coast and countryside. What tips can you recommend for choosing artwork that reflects a property’s surroundings?

The Brownston Gallery art - choosing art for your holiday home copy

From left to right:
Blush Skies, Barry Kelly
Vesper Clouds, Barry Kelly

Bringing the outside in is always a good idea! If a property is situated by the coast, coastal themed paintings featuring fish, crustaceans, or wonderful watery seascapes will suit. However, you don’t have to stick to nautical colours – adding a splash of vibrant orange, sea glass turquoise or acid lime green can really bring a room alive.

If the home is based near Dartmoor or in the countryside, you can opt for art that depicts moorland scenes and animals found in the area, as well as hedgerows, woodlands and rivers. As moorland homes are usually more traditional, lovely still life paintings work really well too.

Consider the colours that you see outside and in the vicinity of the home. There are many good local abstract artists who cleverly weave the colours of their surroundings into their paintings.

Making use of artwork that has been inspired by the local area will no doubt add to the happy holiday memories that your guests will take away with them when they return home.

Do you have any other top tips that you’d like to share with our readers?

People love looking through glossy art books, so why not leave a few featuring local artists or photographers on the coffee table for guests to browse through – it could lead to a new interest or passion!

We hope you enjoyed our Q&A with The Brownston Gallery. For more holiday home inspiration, we recommend reading the following blogs, put together by our team of holiday letting experts:

All property owner blogs

Alternatively, if you’d prefer to speak to a member of our team over the phone for personable, professional holiday letting advice, please contact us – we’d love to hear from you.

We also offer a FREE Owners Guide, full of information about our bespoke holiday home marketing and management services in South Devon, available at your request.

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