This lovely photo of The Art Shop marquee was taken in March of 1989.  Lenny and I had just purchased The Art Shop from his dad, Stan Dolin, who had owned it since 1964.  My, how young we were!  Lenny has less hair now (a lot less) and I no longer have a hideous perm.

I’m posting this marquee memory for a reason – to announce our retirement effective February 28.

Ironically, we are leaving to allow us to concentrate on Lenny’s health. I say ironically, because it was his dad’s battle with cancer that prompted him to sell The Art Shop to us and we now find ourselves in a similar position.  Fighting cancer has become a full time job and with the help of the staff of Bowman Gray Cancer Center, that is what we intend to do.


The Art Shop is actively seeking high quality original and collectible limited-edition art by well-known and quality artists for our new Estate Collection.  We’d love to help you sell the treasures you can no longer use in your home.
We get approached every week by people hoping to sell art from their private collections.  They’ve remodeled their living room and the oil painting that belonged to their grandmother looks out of place with the new contemporary furniture.


On Christmas afternoon Lenny and I always like to go to a movie and eat Chinese food.  This year, we ate Chinese (at Full Kee in High Point – delicious), but postponed seeing a movie.

One movie I’m anxious to see though is   BIG EYES – the story of Walter Keane and his wife.  If you’re over 55 or so, you might remember those sad big-eyed children’s faces and you either loved them or hated them.  Apparently enough people loved them at the time to make Keane an extremely well known and successful artist.  Unfortunately, Walter wasn’t the artist – his wife was.  He convinced her no one would buy the art if it were done by a female artist.  She went along with the lie until he divorced her and she tried to convince everyone of the truth.  I won’t spoil the ending if you haven’t seen it.

I was curious about other movies about artists, so I Googled it – Top Movies About Art or Artists.


You never know when you’re going to bump into history.  Lenny and I were walking our dogs in our new neighborhood when we stopped to talk to a neighbor.  She knew we owned The Art Shop, so she said, “Wait – I have something to show you.”


Anne Gundlach and Davis ClemHi! Davis here! I’ve taken over the blog from Arlene this week. I wanted to write about something that is an extremely important part of being an art collector and owner: insuring your art.

Every week we get numerous questions from collectors and owners about art including:  how to sell art, what to look for when framing your art, and the best way to take care of your art. Another imperative topic is how to protect your art, specifically by insuring it.

I spoke with Anne Gundlach, owner of the Anne Gundlach State Farm Agency in Greensboro, North Carolina, to find out all of the details that art owners need to know when insuring their art.


You might find this to be a strange blog topic from a fine art gallery in the business of selling art, but if we had a nickel for each time we’re asked this very question…

Rarely a week goes by without someone calling us or bringing us a piece of art they want to sell.



We had a request from one of our favorite clients to write a blog about regular maintenance of artwork. He was concerned after seeing dust on their frames and canvases and wanted to clean them without doing anything that might cause damage.

I remembered writing a blog once called “The Care & Feeding of Your Artwork,” and when I went back to look for it, I found I had written it nearly four years ago! It focused mainly on long-term care – varnishing, rematting, etc. It didn’t deal with the every day care of canvases and art framed with glass.


If you’ve read our blogs, you know that Lenny and I recently sold our large home and have moved to a smaller one. Part of the whole buying-selling ordeal, I mean opportunity, was the use of, a very handy web site for the real estate industry.  Our realtor helped us put in the parameters we were searching for – price range, number of bedrooms, area of town, etc.  Every day, we got an email update with new listings, price changes and open houses for homes meeting our specifications.

Also on the website is a list of “Preferred Providers” – movers, carpet dealers, painters, insurance agents, home inspection services – the agent has vetted.  You name it - if it’s something you need in the process of buying, selling or moving into or out of a home, it’s on the list.

EXCEPT – art restoration and hanging services. That’s an oversight we hope to remedy.


Hanging a beautiful piece of art in a dark corner is an injustice to the art and a missed opportunity to show the painting at its best. It would be like going to a party looking drop-dead gorgeous and finding out the venue is a very dark room where you can barely be seen. No one can appreciate how great you look.  What a waste!
The best way to light the art is from the ceiling, but that isn’t always possible. You may have very high ceilings or there may be no access to a power source.  If that’s the case, another alternative is a picture light. Picture lights are mounted to the back of the frame and light the image.


I mentioned in an earlier blog that Lenny and I are in the process of downsizing.  In the last blog, I wrote about getting the house ready to put on the market.  Five and ½ months later, our house has sold. Here’s a free tip:  Your house sells much more quickly when you give it away.

Keeping the house clean and in show condition for that length of time was challenging.  It was more than challenging.  It was a real pain in the neck and other places. (Lenny added the last two lines.)


It happens pretty often. Someone will call for Andy and without thinking, we say, “He’s out on a hanging.”  There’s usually a pause on the other end of the phone as they envision Andy holding a rope instead of a hammer and picture hooks. 

Art Installation Services
Many people don’t realize we offer “hanging services” along with art, custom framing and restoration, but it’s something we do quite well and quite often.  Nearly every week, Andy and/or Chris are out hanging anything from a single picture to an entire wall grouping. Perhaps their greatest challenge was hanging a piece of art onto a curved wall and getting the frame to conform to the wall.  If they can do that successfully (and they did), they can handle about any challenge you can present.


There’s an important update to our previous blog, “The True Story of Monuments Men.”  In the blog, I wrote about the real life heroes who worked tirelessly to restore and return to their rightful owners art stolen by the Nazis. 

 I mentioned the high-profile case of Cornelius Gurlitt, son of one of Hitler’s major art dealers. During a 2012 investigation over tax evasion, nearly 1,400 valuable pieces of art by Matisse, Chagall, Picasso and others were discovered in his Munich apartment.


I remember many years ago, Lenny and I went to MOMA for the first time.  We stared incredulously at a canvas painted solid blue.  As many neophytes say when they see an abstract, we declared “A child could do that!” and “How ridiculous for this to be hanging in a museum!”

I’m actually now a fan of abstract - although I still think the blue canvas was rather simplistic, for lack of a better word.  In preparing for this blog, I Googled “Why paint an abstract?” and got some interesting answers:


We talked about Hats and about the life of Dr. Seuss in our last blog.  Now, I want to focus on the art itself.

The Hat’s Off to Dr. Seuss and The Secret Art of Dr. Seuss Exhibition coming to The Art Shop April 4 – 19 features Illustration Art, Secret Art, his Taxidermy Collection as well as Bronzes honoring Seuss characters.

Seuss’s Illustration Art is exactly as it sounds – the art of Dr. Seuss from the books we read as kids, we read to our kids and now OUR KIDS are reading to THEIR KIDS.



“One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish…” “I do not like that Sam-I-am!” “Hop. Pop. Hop on Pop.”

Unless you grew up under a rock, you know I’m quoting Dr. Seuss.  I cannot hear those words without getting nostalgic.  Lenny and I could probably recite most of his books by heart twenty-five years or so after we read them to our two children.  Now, we love to read them to our granddaughter whenever we see her.

We are very excited to be hosting the “Hats Off to Dr. Seuss” exhibit from April 4 – 19 along with works from the Secret Art of Dr. Seuss collection. In celebration of the 75th anniversary of the publication of The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins, this is the first time in history the two collections are presented together.  We are highly honored to be one of a limited number of stops for this traveling exhibit.


"You can wipe out a generation of people. You can burn their homes to the ground, and somehow they'll still come back. But if you destroy their achievements and their history, then it's like they never existed."

So said George Stout, conservator and museum director, who helped start the real-life Monuments Men upon which the movie by the same name is based.  George Clooney stars in,


.....And what does it have in common with cornflakes, silly putty, a slinky and chips?

A giclée is a reproduction technique in which an image is generated from a high-resolution digital scan and printed with archival quality inks onto various substrates including canvas, fine art and photo-based paper.


Picture Framing GreensboroWhat should you look for when searching for a picture framer?  Here are the Top Three:

1. Experience

Because picture framing is as much a science as it is an art, you want your framer to be well versed in the technical aspects of conservation framing.  The first rule of framing is the same as the  Hippocratic Oath – “First Do No Harm.” 


Michael and Inessa Painting at The Art ShopWhen Lenny and I decided to buy The Art Shop from his father, I worried what effect working together would have on our marriage.   That was twenty-five years ago. We celebrated our thirty-eighth wedding anniversary last month, so my worries were obviously unfounded.

What about married artists painting together?


Vadim Klevenskiy Vadim Klevenskiy
Winter is my least favorite season. I hate cold weather and I hate that it gets dark at so early.  Maybe that’s what attracts me to one of our newest artists, Vadim Klevenskiy

One look at his nearly photographic paintings of gorgeous flowers and I am transported to springtime.  Janelle says when you view his paintings of crashing waves upon the sand, you can almost hear the sound.  They are that incredible.


It’s that time of year again – time to make your New Years Resolutions. Compare yours to the Top 10 New Years Resolutions:


The image of Santa Claus as a man with a white beard and a big belly wearing a bright red suit is one that has evolved over time. There are numerous theories as to his origin – one being a 4th century Greek Christian bishop named St. Nicholas of Myra who was known for his gifts to the poor.  Early artists depicted him as having a long beard and wearing canonical robes.


Lenny and I live in about 2000 square feet. Since our house has 4180 square feet, we have over 2000 square feet of unused space ever since our kids grew up and moved away. We figured it was time to downsize.

In staging our house for resale, our realtor recommended moving several pieces of furniture to the attic to make the rooms look larger. Gone went comfortable chairs, end tables that belonged to grandmothers and favorite knick-knacks.  Brass dates a house, we were told, so I changed every doorknob and hinge in the house


That’s what Gallery Director Andy McAfee always says when he’s faced with an art hanging challenge.  Trust me, if he can bend a straight piece of art in its frame on to a curved wall (which he did several years ago), he can handle about anything.  I thought you might like to see Andy & Chris in action on a very challenging hanging project.


It’s always a little stressful to have an event.  You worry – Will we hang the gallery in time? Are people going to show up?  Will anyone buy anything? Is everyone having a good time?  Do we have enough food? If there’s a charity involved, will we raise enough money? Will I eat too much? No – wait…that’s not related to an event.  Well, the Charity Art Auction is behind us and it was a big success.


Perhaps ten or so years ago, you bought a lovely print, had it framed and hung it on your wall. There it still hangs minding its own business. As an inanimate object, it can’t cry out, “Help, help! The sun is fading my inks and I’m turning blue!” (Blue is the most sun-resistant color in the spectrum which is why it is about the only color left when a print is badly faded.)


If you’ve never had cancer nor know anyone who has or had it, consider yourself lucky.  Also, consider yourself to be part of a very small minority.  Statistics tell us less than 10% of the population falls into this category. This is certainly true at The Art Shop.  I just lost my spunky 88-year-old mother to this dreaded disease in April. 

This was not long after my husband, Lenny, fearless leader of The Art Shop, was diagnosed with his third bout of cancer in the last 13 years.  You would never know it to look at him.  He looks the picture of health and he’s always been an avid cyclist and tennis player and plans to be so again.  However, cancer can strike anyone and treatment takes its toll both mentally and physically.


“The way an artist sees the world tells you more about the world at his time than you can learn from any history book.”  So says our newest Design Consultant, Davis Clem. “I love that art contextualizes the world.”

When she first enrolled in Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, she thought art was a waste of time and wanted nothing to do with it.  That was before her first Art History class.  She immediately ran to the registrar’s office, switched her major from English to Art History and never looked back.


You say you’re looking for a white top mat for your artwork?  Do you want antique white, warm white, whisper white, glacier white, sand dollar, eiderdown, off white, alabaster, soft white, bright white, very white, cotton white, white linen, feather white, ivory, meringue, snowdrift, buff, crystal, chalk, Everest, Devonshire, Dover white, snow white, whitecap, oyster, Spanish white, wheat, digital white or just plain white?


We’re often asked how we select the art that hangs in our gallery.  The simple answer is we select what we think will sell.  How do we know that?  Experience. That’s not to say we haven’t made a few boo-boos over the years.  (There was that piece with the monkey sitting on a piano that stuck around for a few years, but that was a long time ago. We finally sold it/unloaded it to our sister-in-law who loves it.)

A recent article in THE ART NEWSPAPER talked about how subject matter, color and shape all impact a painting’s market value. While there are always exceptions to these rules, here are some of their findings:


.…does the price of the work increase in value?

It’s a question we get asked very often.  The answer is:  Sometimes yes, sometimes no.


Congratulations to our own Janelle Di Lizio for her Purchase Award in the 2013 Art Renewal Center Salon Competition.  We thought it was a big deal when she won Best in Show in two local juried shows.  This is a REALLY REALLY BIG DEAL.

The Art Renewal Center has created the largest on-line Museum on the internet and has held this prestigious competition for nine years.  This year, there were 2000 entries by 850 artists.  The finalists in several categories represented the top 30% of all the works submitted.


When I’m in a doctor’s office (or attorney’s or financial consultant’s), I always look on the wall for framed diplomas and credentials. I take note of what university or medical school they attended and then I look at the professionalism of the framing. Is it just because I’m in the business or do you do the same thing?

When I see Walmart frames on a professional diploma, it makes me wonder. 





“We hope to inform and keep you up-to-date on the latest in the art and custom-framing world and make you laugh occasionally in the process.”

That’s what I wrote at the end of our first blog on November 1, 2011. I realize now I left out something very important in that line.


Here’s a great quote from English social reformer John Ruskin (1819-1900):

 “There is hardly anything in this world that a man cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and people who consider price alone are this man’s lawful prey.

 It is stupid to pay too much, but it is still worse to pay too little. When you pay too much, you lose some money; that is all. But when you pay too little, you often lose everything, for the object purchased cannot perform the task it was intended for.”

 Now, I like a good bargain just as much as the next person, but I also like to think that I’m a smart enough consumer to know when to spend money and when I can go for the less expensive options.

And here’s why this matters in terms of framing.


Hi.  Lenny here -giving Arlene some well-deserved, good behavior time off from being our official blogger.

Spring is here.  I know, not officially as of this writing, but I declare that spring is here.  ‘Cause I’m tired of the cold, tired of getting colds and tired of being cooped up in the house. So there!

And now that spring is here, that means outdoor tennis, cycling without having to dress like I’m going skiing and it means fresh new art at The Art Shop.



How to Pick Out a Mat
In the 23 years Lenny and I have owned The Art Shop, I’m guessing I have selected over 1800 mats and frames for clients and for myself. (which is probably quite low.)  With that kind of experience, I’m thinking you might call me fairly knowledgeable about the subject.

Over the years, I’ve developed Arlene’s Rules of Mat Selection:


Any plans for Valentine’s Day? Hope your celebration is better than this woman’s - she & her husband go to the card store every Valentine’s Day, pick out cards, read them to each other and then put them back on the shelf. (Yes, cards are pricey, but come on!) And I hope your spouse is more romantic than this woman’s - her husband (now her ex-husband) gave her a gift certificate for a car wash for Valentine’s Day.  (What a Romeo! No, it wasn’t Lenny.) 



While Lenny and I own a spacious 5500 square foot gallery, MY office is anything but.  My cubicle is slightly less than 5ft x 5 ft.   (I measured it.)  Add in a desk, a chair, a computer, a purse, a lunch bag, a coat, files, papers and two dogs who sit at my feet and it makes for a very crowded workspace. (Before we remodeled the offices, my desk was next to the men’s room, which was most unpleasant, but I digress.)

In keeping with last week’s blog about New Year’s resolutions, I vowed to clean up my desk and files and get organized.  Step one of that process was cleaning out the space in the shelf above my desk.  In doing so, I uncovered some interesting old treasures:


I tend to make New Year’s resolutions every December 31 and by January 14, I’ve forgotten all about them.  Something tells me I’m not the only one guilty of this.

I saw a very interesting alternative to making resolutions, so I’m hopeful this year will be different.  It was in an article in PSYCHOLOGY TODAY entitled: "Five Things You Can Do Instead of New Year’s Resolutions." The ideas ranged from writing a letter to your future self to focusing your resolution on someone else – a non-profit you can help throughout the year.  Here’s a link to the article


In this holiday season, if you are considering buying art as a gift or for yourself, buy "the real thing."  Of course, I’m not saying you must buy an original. Limited-editions and legitimate reproductions make wonderful gifts. What I’m saying and the point of this blog: Don’t buy a knock-off of someone else’s blood, sweat and tears.


We’re just cleaning up from our Garmash/Danish show and now we’re getting ready for our Fifth Annual Holiday Open House (Thursday, December 6 from 7-9pm).  Yikes! It’s a quick turnaround!


By divine intervention in May of 2010, William Christopher Hawkins dropped off a resume just as we were in need of an additional framer.  We took one look at samples of his work – including gorgeous shadowboxes, original artwork and intricately cut mats - and hired him on the spot.



Did you hear about the woman from Concord who, while shopping for a blanket at a local Goodwill store, found two large canvases selling for $9.99 each?  She thought the pieces were ugly and dated, but bought them to paint over since she was an artist herself and canvas that size is expensive.  Her friends noticed a sticker on the back of one of them from UNCG’s Weatherspoon Gallery and suggested she do a little research before painting over them.

 An internet search told her the artist, Bolotowsky, was one of the premier abstract artists of the 20th century. She contacted Weatherspoon who confirmed the painting was loaned to the museum by Burlington Industries, Inc. and displayed at a show in 1979. She then sent photos and the Weatherspoon documentation to Sotheby’s in New York who agreed to sell the painting for her. It sold recently for $27,500 at auction.  The woman has been out of work for quite some time and has health and financial issues, so it’s easy to feel happy for her good fortune.


It can be annoying when a light bulb goes out in your home and you have to replace it - especially when it is out of reach and you need a ladder to change it.  Imagine owning an art gallery with nearly 200 light bulbs each going out at a different time and each requiring a ladder to reach. It’s a never-ending task to which Andy or Chris will testify since they are the ones who have to change all those bulbs.


When I got into the business of framing, it didn’t occur to me that selecting a frame would often be an emotional experience. It stands to reason emotions come into play when you consider that people generally frame photos and objects that are of great importance to them. (Of course, there was the client who shadowboxed a rock only to inform us later it was one she’d found it in her backyard.  We make no judgment – on the contrary, we encourage all of you to look in your backyards for unusual geologic formations and bring them to us to frame.)

Most often, the framing is for happy occasions – a wedding or new baby photo, tickets to a favorite concert, a hole-in-one scorecard, etc.  Clients love to talk about what they are framing and we love to hear the stories.  We’ve heard some unbelievable tales of wild vacations (wish I could tell you, but we keep secrets), celebrity encounters, interesting family histories and many others.


Judging by the ratings, Lenny and I aren’t the only ones glued to coverage of the Olympics. We’ve been eating dinner in front of the TV and going to sleep at night with it on.  (Please comment and tell me we aren’t the only ones doing this.)

What does this have to do with art?  I just learned from Janelle’s Facebook post that the Arts used to be part of the Olympics. It was the dream of International Olympic Committee founder Pierre de Coubertin to "marry the aesthetic with the athletic."  He felt that "an internationally-focused revival of the ancient Olympics would provide an intellectual and moral compass to citizens of a rapidly industrializing world."


Meet Chris TaylorTough Framing Project?  Ask Chris.

Webster’s defines "challenge" as "a stimulating task or problem." And that is what our Production Director Chris Taylor loves. 

Whenever we have a framing question or tough framing problem to solve, the answer is usually, "Let’s ask Chris."


At the recent wedding of a friend, the bride & groom read letters to each other during the ceremony.  It reminded me that over 35 years ago, I had written a letter to Lenny the night before we got married (in 1975).  Since he had no memory of it (of course),  I was determined to find it.  I was sure it had to be in an old trunk we kept locked in the attic. First chore was to find the key to unlock the trunk.  Found it. Since the temperature is about 130 degrees in the attic this summer,  the second chore was to drag the trunk down the stairs so we could wade through all the memories in cool comfort. 

(Yes, that's Lenny and me on our way to our honeymoon.  Two things in this picture Lenny doesn't have anymore- the leisure suit and the hair)!


 I am going to brag…just wanted to warn you.

Janelle created a great video about Andy’s recent guest shot on Rock 92 Radio’s morning show.  He was terrific in the interview - funny and knowledgeable and entertaining.  Listening to him you’d never know he was actually nervous about his appearance.  He sounds like he does it every day. Listen and tell us what you think



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