Artist Robert Francis James Reveals 5 Tips for Buying Paintings as Gifts

Five tips for choosing the right painting for your special someone

Online PR News – 02-November-2020 – Hockessin –

Few presents are as memorable as an original painting, and giving one to your sweetheart, spouse, partner, relative, friend, colleague, mentor, pastor or shrink is a smart way to signal that you’re spirited, cultured, thoughtful and indisputably big-hearted. Decades later, when she has lost, broken, donated, discarded, re-gifted and forgotten all her other presents, she will inevitably still have yours, hanging proudly in her bedroom, hallway, living room, or somewhere in her home. How’s that for the “gift that keeps on giving? 


"Original paintings make extraordinary gifts," says professional still-life painter Robert Francis James. "But which kind of painting should you choose?"


James—whose still-life oil paintings delight even the most discerning art-lovers—offers these five tips for choosing:

Go for original. Original paintings are one-of-a-kind and thus more valuable than reproductions. And by choosing an original painting, you eliminate the risk your special gift also hangs in the wait-room of the local Jiffy Lube.

Go for small. Large paintings can make a bold statement, but the recipient might not like that statement. Small, intimate paintings, in contrast, are hard to dislike and easy to display. Remember, you’re not an interior decorator.

Go for safe. Landscapes, still lifes and figurative paintings—if competently painted—will be well received, while most nudes, portraits and “protest” paintings won’t. Avoid in particular any portrait of Elvis on velvet (also known as a “Velvis”). These works are an acquired taste—and most likely reproductions.

Go for personal. If you know the recipient has a passion for hiking, give her a rural landscape; for sailing, a seascape; for travel, a cityscape; for gardening, a floral arrangement; for cooking, a still life of food.

Go for finished. Don’t give a painting that still needs to be framed. It’s like giving a kid a shiny toy truck without the batteries.

Last, but not least, remember the gift of an original painting can increase in value. Who knows? The artist one day may rank among the majors. You just never know. In 1964, Bob Dylan received a painting of Elvis as a gift from Andy Warhol, an artist whose reputation was far from solid at the time. Dylan disliked the painting and hung it over his toilet, until a friend offered to trade it for a sofa. Today, the Warhol is worth millions.

But follow the rules and your gift will never be traded—not even for a sofa.


About Robert Francis James: Original Still Life Oil Paintings for sale Based in the Brandywine Valley, Robert Francis James paints small still lifes in oil. His goal is to capture common household objects—foods, flowers, glassware, china, tools, and toys. He is listed on the Delaware Artists Roster. More information is available at

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