3 Criteria to Remember When Giving Art as a Gift

For a long time, I thought I was doomed to be a terrible gift giver. I hate shopping. I hate crowds. I hate wrapping presents in superfluous paper. My solution to avoiding this nonsense and finding a way to love giving gifts? I give art!

Even though I hate shopping for myself, I love buying artwork for other people! Although sometimes I give away my own paintings, I am just as apt to buy a piece of art from a gallery or craft fair as a gift to someone I love.

If you are considering giving a piece of art as a gift, here are 3 criteria to keep in mind:

1) How much space do they have?

If the person you are buying a gift for lives in a small apartment, I recommend that you keep the art you buy below 10”x10” — that way, they have lots of options where they can hang it (over a desk, by a window, in a spot near the door). All paintings need at least a foot of empty space on either side of them to feel that they have enough room to “breathe”, which is why smaller is better for small spaces. You could also consider buy a handcrafted journal or artist’s book for someone with a small space.

Similarly, if your gift-ee lives in a 3 bedroom house, don’t go small! Go big! Buy a piece of art that can be a statement piece in the living room or a guest room. Also, if you gift-ee moves a lot, don’t buy an original painting. A framed print or drawing is a better purchase (less likelihood of damage).

2) What sorts of movies/books/games do they enjoy?

If you’re gift-ee loves Star Trek, consider buying them paintings or drawings that incorporate space.

Do they love the Rocky movies? A painting of a boxer could be a big hit.

Do they adore crime thrillers? A moody scene featuring a solitary figure and dark colors could be just right.

Get creative here. I recommend finding art that is reminiscent of the cultural things they are passionate about without delving into “fan art” territory. (Unless, of course, you know that they’ve always want a velvet painting of Han Solo.)

Word of caution: if this is a boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse who watched something because you said it was AWESOME, do not buy them art about that thing. Even if they said they loved it, they may have (out of love) exaggerated their affinity for it to match your enthusiasm.

3) What colors do they often wear?

While many of us state that we have a “favorite color”, we often don’t decorate or adorn ourselves with that color.

Is you gift-ee always wearing big chunky gold jewelry? Buy work that has gold accents.

Does you gift-ee always wear black? Select a drawing that is done in black ink on white paper.

Do they love Moroccan patterns and bright colors? Go all out with a vibrant, pattern-filled painting.

Do they love the beach or the mountains? Select a piece that reminds them of the colors and energy of those places.

And when in doubt, abstract paintings that feature blues and greens are a universal hit.

If you still have questions about selecting a gift that I haven’t answered, feel free to reach out to me directly anytime at info@cjhowardart.com. And if you know someone else who wants to buy art for a friend/family member, forward this note along to them!

Sending you lots of love,


P.S. If you believe that any of these paintings are good enough for you to give as a gift to someone you love, keep in mind that all paintings come with a Worry-Free Guarantee, which means you can return or exchange any piece you purchase within 30 days. Plus, the shipping is on me. Yup, totally free shipping. (Or - if you’re local - I’m happy to hand deliver your piece and help you hang it.) Finally, if you’re too strapped to pay the full price upfront but just have to have that painting, I’m happy to work out a payment plan with you that will work for both of us.

Plus, if you click the link below, you’ll get a chance to win a free painting every month!