I say this with authority, as I've spent several evenings trawling through websites, trying to find a painting for the chimney breast in our sitting room. I thought the internet would offer an embarrassment of riches, but it has been a depressing experience.
However, I have learned some useful lessons:
- Avoid artists with shortened names like Mick, Bob, Roz, Jen etc
- Don't bother with eBay
- Look up an artist you like on Google images to find kindred spirits
- Check the sizes - I almost bought a linocut that was only marginally larger than a Burkina Faso postage stamp
- A good print is better than an indifferent original
She was selling prints of linocuts from her studio in Jevington, a hamlet in Sussex which has a church tower that is over 1,000 years old and a restaurant that invented the banoffee pie. I'd never seen an original linocut before and probably asked a lot of stupid questions, but I hope that my enthusiasm compensated for my ignorance. The cash must have helped too.
After buying a couple of prints, we went for a walk along the South Downs Way and I took a photo, which Google Plus has shamelessly pimped up:
I've never quite got to grips with social networking. Sometimes I get Facebook friend requests from complete strangers, with no message attached, and I wonder if they have confused me with someone else. I usually decline.
I'm also similarly confused by Linkedin. Why would an executive in an oil company want to connect with an impoverished bookseller from Sussex, unless they needed to be reassured that they've made the right career choice. It would be good if people had to explain why they want to connect.
Another annoying trend is the tendency for social networking sites to try and pull all of our telephone and email contacts. I can't see the sense of this, because it is only natural to compartmentalise the people we know into different groups. Most of us have a public and private persona and never the twain shall meet.
But I digress.
Returning to main theme, why is there so much bad art (and although you might say that taste is subjective, I challenge you to defend the first two paintings)? I can only assume that many people disagree with me, which is why gallery owners stock acrylics of rural scenes and people dancing.
The other day I was driving through Henley-on-Thames and saw a sign advertising a sale of Jack Vettriano paintings. In Henley!
Perhaps I'm the one who's wrong - a Lewes snob, with delusions of grandeur.
But snob or not, at least I don't call my dog Voltaire, unlike a man I saw at the vets' the other day. I must find out where he walks the dog and video him shouting "Voltaire! Voltaire!" It could be another Fenton.