Sunday, February 12, 2017

Two New (Very Different) Pieces of Art

A few weekends ago, my husband and I ran some errands downtown. He needed to buy some guitar strings and then we popped into a local bakery for coffee and a pastry (Paul says they have the best pastries in town; I have to take his word for it, sadly, since I cannot eat wheat). On our way back to the car, we ducked into an art gallery for a look around. few weekends ago, my husband and I ran some errands downtown -- he needed to buy some guitar strings at a guitar shop, then we grabbed coffee and a pastry at an excellent bakery (alas, I have to take Paul's word that this bakery has the best pastries since I can't indulge in baked goods). On our way back to the car, we popped into an art gallery for a look around.

There on the wall was a piece of art that caught our attention. We've admired this artist's work before. In fact, we almost purchased one of his paintings about a year ago; now I'm glad we didn't because I like this painting even more. Entitled '57 Buick, it is a mixed media piece with an epoxy coating, which gives it a very shiny finish. The detail is exquisite. The artist describes it as pop art in a realist style. Both Paul and I love classic cars, so the subject appealed to us right off the bat. We hung it in the living room between the dining room French doors and the hallway.

In the close-up below, the reflection on the left side of the painting is from the window behind me when I took the photo. I love how the artist captured so much detail, including reflections in the chrome fender. This painting is from a photograph and in the reflection you can see the image of the photographer, just above the tail pipe.

The other piece of art we added to our home is the complete opposite of the piece above, and it has an interesting story. We were in an upscale antiques store one Saturday -- most of the art was way out of our price range -- when we spied an old photo in an old oak frame. We asked to take a closer look and that's when the shop owner told us that the photo was likely taken by a famous photographer, but he couldn't prove it because the work wasn't signed. The photo was a landscape, and wasn't very attractive in our opinion, plus there was a discoloration right down the center of it that bothered us. Paul and I loved the frame, however, and the antiques dealer was willing to separate the two. We paid $40 for the frame, and he kept the photo.

Then we had to find something to go in the frame. The dealer has drawer after drawer and book after book full of old etchings, prints and drawings in various styles and subject matters. After about an hour of flipping through numerous binders of artwork, we landed on the piece above, a monotype by A.H. Bicknell (1837-1915). The "A.H." stands for Albion Harris. You can learn a little about him here

The print wasn't in good condition with its lower right corner missing, which you can see above, so the dealer lowered his price to $20. We took the print and the frame to our local framer, and for $25 he mounted the print to some mat board and put a new back on the frame. We hung this piece in our hallway, which doesn't have picture molding so a nail had to be used. It's always a bit scary putting a nail into a plaster wall, but thankfully it went smoothly.

So these are our two new -- and very different -- pieces of art. Sometimes I will stop to consider whether the art will blend well with our decor, but usually we buy what we love. We prefer a more eclectic look anyway.

Do you choose artwork based on the decorating style in your home and what will "go" best with your color scheme? Or do you buy what you love?


  1. Hello and how are you? I'm 100% in the "buy what you love" camp. We also got a new painting last week. Just looking at it puts a smile on our faces, which is what art should do. I think art is supposed to surprise you. When decor is too "matchy-matchy" (for lack of a better term), you become Art is an expression, and the element of "wow" is one of the main goals we look for when buying.

    I love both of your new pieces. Nice save with the frame! You made a great buy with both pieces. Epoxy coatings give such a nice lustrous finish, don't they? We have 2 pieces that are coated, and I find them extra vibrant.

    We also bought a piece of folk art - a rooster made out of barn wood. It was love at first sight for me - not so much for Eric - but then I reminded him he still owed me a Christmas present. Hence, rooster has a new home. I'm not sure where we'll put it, but I'm in love!

    We are in the midst of a really big blizzard. I think 12" have fallen already, and by the looks of the radar image, we're not done for a while. We'll dig the car out tomorrow morning and go from there.

    Hope your weather is extra-balmy, and that your lovely plants are showing signs of life!

    1. Now, how did I know you'd be the first person to leave a comment about our new art purchases! I hope you will post about your new artwork. I'd love to see them.
      Sorry to hear about your snowstorm (unless you're enjoying it). We had a very warm day today, in the 70s. Both my hubby and I have colds but I'm in the end stages of mine so I should be feeling much better next week. I get about one cold a year -- so this had better be the only one for a while!
      Hope you're well,

    2.'ve been so quiet! Hope all is well with you and Paul. Greetings from your friend in the frozen north.

  2. We too buy artwork when we see it and like it.We were out in Hendersonville last summer at a nice housewares shop and saw two wonderful prints from an Amish notebook. Bought them right away. But the painting over our mantle we bought on a real whim: it's an original oil by an artist who was exhibiting up in the Hudson Valley where we used to live. We knew, at the time, that we were moving down here and had bought the house. Then the painting "appeared". It is gorgeous and perfect and everyone asks who did it, where is it etc etc. Expensive, but oh so worth it and something we have never regretted!

  3. You had a very good outing. That Buick piece is fabulous - lots of personality and very cool. I love its vintage vibe. And that antique oak frame has a beautiful patina. Great additions!!

  4. I love your painting -it's wonderful! The print is charming to. I pick art based on it's emotional appeal - where is goes can always be decided later.


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