The evasive art of not collecting any

My husband and I would never call ourselves "art collectors." That sounds much too grand.

Nevertheless, for people who profess not to collect art, we've accumulated a great deal of it: oil paintings, watercolors, drawings, and photographs - and we have more waiting for a square foot of wall space to open up.

While we appreciate the beauty these pieces of original art add to our home, what means most to us is that each tells a story and holds a memory.

I smile every time my eye catches sight of a picture of one of the faraway places where we've sojourned. I also get a warm feeling whenever I look at the signed lithograph of a stylized fern frond that presides over my kitchen. It was the gift of a dear friend, who knew the artist and was sure I'd appreciate his vision, too. The wooden folk-art Uncle Sam in the family room reminds me of the rainy Fourth of July when we discovered him on a ride in the country.

Not all our art purchases have been successes. But one mistake - a rather gaudy oil painting of a sailing ship at sunset (all golds and maroons) - has been the source of a great deal of family hilarity over the years. Instead of eventually hanging it in the garage, as Cindi Maciolek suggests in the story on this page, we relegated it to a closet. But we simply couldn't get rid of it - it brought back too many funny memories.

We have obviously mastered buying art. What we need now are suggestions on how to fit more of it onto our walls. Either that, or we're going to have to move to a larger house - which sounds suspiciously as though we've unintentionally crossed the line and become "art collectors."

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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