Art Prints versus Original Paintings - Caroline Ashwood

Art Prints versus Original Paintings

When & why to buy art prints versus an original canvas

A work of art has the power to transform the space in which it hangs. Indeed, an original work of art on canvas has an unmistakable gravitas and charisma that retains something of the artist’s energy and passion in creating it. The texture and technique can be viewed and appreciated in the minutest of detail. Like a hand-written manuscript or piece of original music. Something of the creator vibrates off the canvas, for all time.

original art


These are unique events of spontaneous creativity that cannot ever be recreated in exactly the same way. This is why good and great art is afforded such high value. Whilst such rareness and originality come at a cost, it has an ability to retain its worth and even appreciate in value.


Artist at work


Reproduction of art in print form has been around for a long time. And while a reproduction can be a fraction of the original art price tag, the quality of the printed work is subject to compromise from the capacity of the printer to do justice to the original imagine as recorded as a photographic image; assuming that the photographic images is also of good quality, properly lit, and of high resolution, till recently, that image has been in the hands of an ink-based print processor.

infinitesimal spectrum of colours

Traditional 4-colour offset print process is literally that, only a blend of 4 colours, cyan, yellow, magenta & black applied by separate rollers onto metal plates, and transferred onto paper. In a print, the infinitesimal spectrum of colours with which artists paint, has to come from a machine mix of a simple quartet. In addition, the minute detail is subject filtering through what are called screen plates; a process that reduced tone and detail to a series of dots up to a maximum of 300 dots per square (DPI).

The set up for this process will run into hours, sometimes days in preparation. Whilst it is cheaper than commissioning an original painting on canvas, it has still been expensive and time consuming.


The Digital age has come of age

But not anymore. In terms of quality and cost, the digital age has come of age. What was impossible, even five years ago, is now infinitely possible. And the results are stunning. As long as the original artwork has been properly and professionally photographed, today’s specialist digital printers can reproduce glorious colour and detail with amazing accuracy for a lot less than you could ever imagine. And the scale is less restricted than the old-fashioned way.


Paper quality has also increased. UV resistance has improved. and the turnaround time is infinitely shorter.


We are now well into the era of high-quality affordable art printing. The degree of technology has been refined and rendered more robust than ever imagined 20 years ago, when I first started out as a burgeoning artist. My search for the best possible results has led me into a working partnership with one of the finest high resolution, digital printers in Europe.


fine art printing

Prints offer choice and value for money

Now, from my website, my customers can view most of my collection available as art prints, in a choice of sizes, unframed, or ready-framed in an impressive choice of high-quality frames, delivered directly to your door, pretty much anywhere in the world.


Fine art prints


Those of you who are familiar with my work will know how spontaneous my technique can be. Sometimes, I feel I am more of a curator of happy accidents, than an expert controlling her craft.


So, when I am asked if I can recreate a painting that has been sold, I will often suggest that if the customer wants an exact copy, then they are better advised to consider a print.


Printed to order and zero waste

None of my work is mass produced. It is printed to individual order only. So, a print will have a worthwhile degree of intrinsic value. I am often asked to sign prints of my work, for which there is a modest fee. A signed print is worth much more than an unsigned one.


signed prints


So, happily, it is no longer the case that hopeful art lovers can only admire from afar a work they would dearly love to see hanging on their own wall. Art prints are a superb way to enjoy original art in your home.