Affordable Art That Makes You Happy

by Toby Ward 19. December 2018 13:49

Christmas is done for another year, it’s cold, we’re all heading back to work soon, and, to top the lot it’s nearly January. Urgh!

Not to worry - we’re ever the optimists at Art Gallery - let’s focus on making our home or workplace a happy place with affordable art. We believe in art for all, so here’s a selection of happy paintings that don’t have to bust the budget.

The science of happiness

What makes people happy is a question that’s often researched by scientists and academics. Studies have shown that it’s a range of areas and elements that brings joy into people’s lives.

Although the study showed that money does buy happiness (sorry), the common theme or thread amongst happier people is that they take time out and hit the pause button on the chaos of life.

The research also found that spending time with family and focusing on relationships were also key criteria for happiness, as well as general downtime or simply taking time out to stop and smell the roses.

The increasing popularity in mindfulness reflects this need to hit the pause button every now and again. We’re also seeing this in art with abstract paintings that are almost hypnotic in their nature and encourage you to switch off and ‘be’ in the moment.


Paintings of the sea or countryside can also bring about a mindful moment or make you happy simply because it’s a beautiful or calming scene.

Back in the days before photography, a painting was the only way to capture a moment in time, or a specific location, and would leave people excited and happy viewing a scene they may not see on a regular basis. Imagine how people felt back then when they first saw a landscape painting that presented a scene from another country.

This really hasn’t changed much in the 21st Century, even though we have cameras and smartphones. Landscapes or images of the beach or sea still bring about a sense of happiness, fascination and joy. Not to mention nostalgia. Why not put a bit of that on your wall?

There are so many styles or themes of landscape art that can make us happy. Whether it’s a winter scene or a blazing hot beach, they can both make us smile and feel happiness in different ways.


A recent study has shown that owning a pet can increase your chances of being happy and successful. In fact, of the 1,000 pet owners studied, researchers found that they brought laughter to six in 10 owners and made seven in 10 feel more relaxed. As a nation of die-hard animal lovers, it’s not surprising they make us happy.

It’s not just pets that makes us happy either, we do love a light-hearted animal painting or photograph. On our site alone, we have over 300 paintings of Dogs, the same amount for Cats and nearly 400 works on animals from across the globe.

Sam Fenner is an artist who mainly paints livestock and wild animals. What makes her art so popular is that she captures their personalities and really brings out their character. As a result, her art is amusing, charismatic and really makes you want to smile.

At work

Ok, so we know that work isn’t necessarily the place where we always want to be, but a super-productive day, positive feedback or a fun atmosphere can make us happy.

From an employer’s perspective, it’s important to have motivated staff and to ensure morale is high. Otherwise, productivity can decline, leading to unhappy and demotivated employees.

Research from the University of Exeter found that minimalist interiors and blank, white walls does not reduce distractions or increase productivity, for that matter. In fact, they found that people who worked in ‘Enriched Offices’ with art and plants were 15% quicker and had fewer health complaints than employees who worked in ‘Lean Offices’ with plain walls.

Visually challenging art is ideal for the workplace as it can help to positively distract staff and encourage them to take breaks away from their laptop or PC. It’s easy to stare at a screen for long periods at a time, so breaking it up with interesting art is a great way to recharge and have a focused and happy moment.

Colour can also impact mood. Bold tones can increase staff happiness levels, whilst inspiring a more driven and productive mindset. As you’d expect, calming colours, such as Blue create a relaxed atmosphere, whereas bold Reds and Yellows drive energy and creativity.

Affordable means affordable

Buying art doesn’t mean you have to take out a small mortgage to make it a reality. There are paintings out there for every person, every home and every business. Whether it’s a sketch for £20 or a large-scale painting for £200, there is a work of art out there with your name on it.


Buying Art

Beautiful Winter Paintings to Bring Warmth to Your Home

by Lisa Doherty 11. December 2018 16:36

Some people love the whole winter season and the build-up to Christmas, while others simply love the festive period.

Either way, it’s a time to make your home a cosy winter wonderland for friends and family. Here are our top picks for capturing that festive winter spirit.

Snowy landscapes

Nothing says Christmas like a snowy landscape; and as we don’t often get the white Christmas we always dream of, why not recreate it your own home?

There’s something about a snowscape that brings out nostalgia and warmth in people. Looking out at the cold, while being warm and dry indoors can be a very mindful and uplifting experience. The Danish have a great word for this - hygge - which decribes a feeling of warmth and enjoying the good things in life with good friends.

The Danes are some of the happiest people in the world, which means there must be something about a winter landscape that lifts the soul. Come on, get the open fire burning, hang the paintings up and, if you really want to go for it, get wearing those Christmas jumpers. You know you want to …

Have a giggle

Christmas is a time of fun, so why not buy art that makes you and your guests smile? There is nothing like a light-hearted painting to put a smile on your face.

The winter season is great for characterisation in art as there’s something about animals and snow that makes us smile.

For those of you who’ve had pets or watched animals negotiating the white stuff, it’s pretty funny and guaranteed to make even the most serious among us smile.

It’s also the time of year where it gets dark early, it’s cold and can be quite miserable sometimes, so putting something on your wall that makes you smile, and forget the cold for a bit, can only be a positive thing.

Towns and cities

Snow can make everything look amazing, bringing smoothness and calm to an otherwise jagged and jostling environment. That's why it’s a very popular subject in art.

We have nearly 300 paintings of snow available to buy right now. One reason is because snow can be a challenge for artists to recreate with paint – capturing the glisten, movement and soft feeling of snow – not to mention a popular theme for the home.

Snowscapes of towns and cities are also great as they capture what may usually be seen as a mundane view and turn it into an almost magical image. Especially if it’s a painting of your home town.

The other great thing about snowscapes is that they work with a wide-range of interiors, from a contemporary look right through to a more traditional theme, which makes it a really versatile style of art.


There’s something about famous landmarks around the globe that, when captured from a different perspective, makes them stand out even more.

Usually, landmarks are painted or photographed on a sunny day or against a dusky backdrop to have more of a picture-postcard feel. But when captured in the snow it can make it look more unconventional, creating a different image altogether.

Abstract winter scenes

Not everybody is a traditionalist or has an interior that fits with a more formal style of painting, so there are also abstract winter landscapes to work with a modernist or minimalist look.

For an artist that is trying to capture the movement, texture or even the range of colour in snow, abstract art enables them to achieve this, offering them more freedom and scope for personal expression.

A gritty realist

OK, so not all of us like a romantic winter landscape, but instead prefer a more realistic or urban representation of winter. It can be strangely comforting to see wet, slushy snow, or iced remnants of snowfall, when you’re cosy and comfortable indoors.

For a lot of city dwellers, there’s a deep love for the grey, winter snowscape that is so different from a countryside idyll. It is this difference that gives them a sense of comfort, and a feeling of joy, to be inside and out of the chaos of a city.

Whatever your taste, there is always art to match it, and always a perfect wall to hang it. Treat yourself this Christmas or make it a really personal gift for a loved one. A great painting will last forever.


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