FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Copyright information (Can I use the photo of your painting in my blog, school project, magazine, etc.)
All my paintings, drawings and images of my paintings and drawings are protected by Canadian and international copyright laws and may not be copied or reproduced in any manner without my written permission.
I retain the copyright to all of my paintings. Sale of a painting does not mean the transfer of copyright - the artist always retains all copyright and reproduction rights to his/her paintings. That means that you cannot make copies or any kinds of reproductions from a painting you bought from me. If you would like to buy limited copyright to an image of my painting, email me and we can discuss the terms.
You can use the image of my painting in your blog or on your (non-commercial) website providing that you link the image back to my website and credit me as the artist who created the painting by visibly placing my name under the image. It is illegal to alter the images of my paintings in any way. For school projects and magazine covers/illustrations, seminars and other events please email me as I consider these on a case by case basis.
It is also illegal to create derivative works from any of my original paintings (there have been many instances of people trying to illegally copy my paintings and sell the copies as originals or reproductions - most of them from China. There was a case in Canada recently where a Chinese company was illegally reproducing the paintings of many Canadian artists, me among them). If you ever come across something like that please let me know, as I do take legal action against any such copyright infringement.
Websites are also considered to be intellectual property and copying of the text on my websites is also illegal (I even found a woman in Australia that simply copied and pasted my Artist Statement from my website and put it on her website as her artist statement and also tried to copy several of my paintings!)
How to take care of original paintings
Paintings on canvas that were created with either acrylic or oil paints do not have to be framed at all (the canvas is stretched over a wood support frame so that you can hang the painting on a wall right away when you receive it, without a decorative frame). Paintings on paper have to be framed with an acid-free mat and under glass to protect them.
You should not hang any paintings where they would be exposed to continuous direct sunlight - acrylic and oil paintings are not as vulnerable as paintings on paper, but their colors might slightly fade in a few decades if you let sun burn into them all the time. The most sensitive are watercolor paintings and prints which will fade fast even if they are under UV protected glass.
Basically, avoid extremes of heat, cold and humidity and abrupt changes in temperature. For example, if you are moving in the middle of winter, don't just take your oil or acrylic painting from your living room where it is really warm outside into a car where it is way below freezing and let it sit there overnight. Don't hang your painting in a bathroom where you take steam showers :-) Doing that can cause the paint to crack or chip and the wood support to warp as the wood expands and contracts. Do not lean your paintings on canvas on anything that would push against the canvas (like a furniture corner), because doing so will create a dent in the canvas.
You can lightly dust your oil and acrylic paintings with a dry, soft, lint-free cloth or a soft brush.
Original paintings and prints - what is the difference
Original painting is a unique creation, meaning there is only one available, so only one person in the world can own it.
Prints are reproductions or copies, of an original artwork (sort of like there is only one of you and a photograph is a 'copy' of you). There are many different types of prints depending on the printing process and the degree of the artist's involment (which increases their value). Giclees are basically just posters but with today's technology the print can be of a very high quality with colors close to the original painting - they are created by digitally scanning the painting and then printing that image (using a special inkjet printer) onto a canvas or paper. They are a popular choice for interior decorators, hotels, etc. where they need to decorate many walls on a limited budget.
Prints of paintings cannot reflect light and change with light the same way that an original oil or acrylic painting does. An original work of art is alive, a unique creation of an artist. An original painting radiates energy, that of the artist who created it as well as the 'universal' energy that has the power to deeply move you, shift your perception, lift your mood, take you outside of yourself and make you perceive more fully than you did before.
How to hang or display paintings
You can group paintings on one wall in different configurations, or hang them in a hallway or on a long wall gallery-style (meaning in a row, so that the middle of each painting is at the same height - about 56 inches from the floor to the middle of each painting), or you can even lean them on a shelf or suspend a big one from the ceiling (as a room divider).
A good idea is to tape together some paper (newspaper or printer paper) into the size of the painting you want to buy and experiment with the placement on your wall until you find the right spot (this will give you a feel of the scale of the painting in relation to your room's size and decor - keep in mind that you can have the painting framed and thus increase its size by quite a bit).
When you are grouping paintings, do it on the floor first - move them around until you find a configuration that looks good to you.
You don't have to have the same paintings in the same places all the time - move them around, collect more, display different ones for a while - that's part of the fun of collecting.
How to frame paintings
You can change how the painting 'fits' into the interior decor of your room by having it framed in a frame that matches your room's decor. You can have a painting framed with a wide mat and a big frame and thus increase the size of the artwork considerably. My paintings are expressionist and abstracted, with vibrant colors but you can have them framed in a traditional, classical way and they will fit well in your traditional home. Or you can hang them on a wall without an additional decorative frame which looks very modern and contemporary.
A very contemporary way to frame paintings on canvas (mainly those on 1,5" deep canvas) are 'floater frames' where the frame looks like an open 'box' and the painting sits (appears to 'float') inside of it, so that there is a space between the painting's edges and the frame.
The cost of framing depends on the size and type of frame you select. There are many framing shops in every city - you take the painting with you and they will show you different options and kinds of frames. Remember that paintings on paper have to be framed with an acid-free mat and under glass (UV coated glass if the painting is going to be exposed to lots of sunshine). Sometimes you can buy ready-made frames in an artist supply store and put in the painting yourself if the frame is the right size.
What does Reserved (Sold) mean
When you see "SOLD" besides a painting's title on my website, it means that the painting has already been sold and so it is not available for purchase any more.
"RESERVED" means that somebody wants to buy that painting and is in the process of sending me payment for it (some people pay by a check or by instalment payments, or a bank wire so it takes longer). Unless I don't receive their payment, that painting will be sold. So the only way that painting would become available is if their check bounced or they did not wire the payment etc.
What forms of payment do you accept
I accept payment by all credit cards, but only through PayPal.
Please DO NOT email me your credit card numbers! You should never send any sensitive information in an email (unless the email is well encrypted), because emails are not secure and can be intercepted, altered and faked by hackers and criminals.
If you do not wish to use PayPal, you can mail me a check (the check has to clear bank before I ship the painting) or use Western Union or bank wire transfer (email me for details).
You can phone me if you have any questions: (604)802-6942 (leave a message if I don't pick up and I will phone you back).
How are the paintings shipped
I ship all of my painting via a courier and the shipment can be tracked online. It is safe, reliable and fast. When I mail you the painting I email you the tracking number of the package and you can follow it online on the courier's website. The courier delivers to your door (home or office) and if you are not home when they deliver, you can phone them and arrange delivery.
Delivery takes about 5 business days within North America and about a week or two overseas, depending on country and customs delays. There is no duty on original art shipped to the USA. I fill out all customs declarations for international shipping so that you should not have any problems with customs (so far I never had problems with customs).
I sell and ship all of my paintings without a decorative frame (the paintings on canvas are stretched on wood support with a wire hanger on the back, so that you can hang them on a wall right when you unpack them). I have shipped hundreds of paintings all over the world and so far none of them was damaged during shipping, which means that I pack and protect them really well.
Are the colors as vibrant as I see them on my computer
The paint colors in my paintings are vibrant and bright and there are many subtle hues that may not be visible on your computer monitor. The colors you see depend on your monitor's settings. The painting's colors depend on the color and intensity of the light that illuminates the painting. Different color and intensity of light (daylight, afternoon light, artificial light) will bring out and emphasize different hues of color in the painting so that the painting's colors will appear to 'shift' a bit - the effect can be sometimes dramatic which is the beauty of an original painting and something you will never get with a print. You achieve the best effect by directing a spotlight on the painting.
I use many different hues of pure, high quality, professional artists' paint color (these paints are expensive but worth it, in my view) with minimal mixing, and I layer these colors, which ensures that my paintings' colors are vibrant and jewel-like. There is nothing like experiencing the original. If you like the image on your computer screen, you will love the actual painting!
Can I commission a painting
I only take commissions occasionally, depending on how many other commitments I have at the time. Commissioned paintings cost a little more and you can choose the size, medium (oil, acrylic), main color and theme. Please note that I will not copy a painting I have created previously. I can create a painting with a similar theme but it will be a different painting, not a copy. I paint freely and instinctively and let the 'muse' move my hand. That for me is the only way to create a painting that is alive and radiating with energy and I am not interested in creating anything less than that.
Art as investment
I sometimes receive requests from people who want to buy a painting I have already sold from the person who bought it - in that case, I forward their request to the person who bought that painting (I protect my buyer's identities and will not reveal their email address or name). So far nobody wanted to sell their painting. I read an article about Damien Hirst (you might have heard about him -he got famous by displaying dead animals pickled in formaldehyde). He is not only a very creative and wealthy artist but also an art collector. This is what he said about buying art as investment: " Once you start trading it for money, you lose the art and just get the money back instead, which is crap - a bad deal. You buy a great painting, you've got a great painting. If you sell it, you're f-----."
I wrote this article about the basics of experiencing and selecting art for a local magazine a while ago:
Art and You (this is an article I wrote for a Vancouver magazine)
If you are like most people, visual art is not even on your radar screen. Paintings to you are something to hang over the fireplace in order to achieve that 'designer look'. Visual art, you think, is something only the rich, the snobbish and the sophisticates buy. Stuffy art galleries using various sales gimmicks to justify their high prices sometimes reinforce this view.
Art is much more than that and it can be to you as well. You do not need an art education, grounding in art history or a ton of money. Appreciation of art has to do with developing your sensitivity to it, which, in turn, expands your perception and so enriches your life. Visual art is called "visual" for a reason - you should not need pages of explanation in order to understand the work's message. The impact of a work of art is usually subtle, so you have to quiet yourself and allow the work to 'speak' to you. If you let it, it will affect you in a unique way that cannot easily be described by words - remember, it is visual, not written art. The impact will depend on the quality of the work as well as on how far you have developed your sensitivity. Some art is designed to shock but this is mostly because the artist is trying to get noticed by art dealers and the media.
What we are talking about are original works of art, not prints or reproductions. I believe that an artist transfers some of his/her life energy into an original painting, as well as some element of 'universal energy', which is what makes the painting a work of art. When you stand in front of a painting by a true master, such as a Picasso, for example, you can feel his energy vibrating from it - the painting is alive.
So how do you develop this sensitivity? Spend some time looking at art - ideally, go to major art museums, or even a variety of art galleries will help you understand what kind of art you respond to. While the selection is limited locally, the Internet is a good medium to do some research and find out what style and type of art appeals to you the most. Remember, all art is subjective, what you like may not appeal to others. When you find out what kind of paintings you like, you can focus on those and maybe even read some art books. As for buying, keep in mind that galleries charge about 50% commission and so double the artist's prices. While payment by installments is usually available, many artists are self-representing and not affiliated with a gallery and can potentially offer lower prices. The main thing is to know what you like and let that guide you. Art critics have historically been mostly wrong and buying art for investment is akin to gambling.
My own paintings are vibrant, sensual and expressive. My inspiration can come from almost anything: the shape of a tree branch, the curve of a human body, a cloud, a melody or a story. I carry this inspiration with me as I keep sketching and experimenting until I arrive at an image that is my artistic response to that inspiration. Painting itself is like a dance, it has to flow effortlessly and naturally, and it does, provided I can lose myself and connect to the creative flow.
I regularly post my new paintings on my Web site www.MartinaShapiro.com where my buyers can stay in touch with me and purchase my art. I have had a very good response so far and have been selling my work steadily, mainly to buyers in the USA, but also around the world. By selling directly rather than through an art gallery, I am able to keep prices low and am gratified by the enthusiasm and joy of those who receive my artwork. They always say that the original is so much better than they even imagined. That is because the photos of paintings they see on the computer do not radiate the energy of the original. I also periodically exhibit in British Columbia.