Amateur Art

There is something just so sweet about amateur art –

I love the humble canvas (in this case a little block of wood), the exaggerated detail of the eye and the very proud signature at the bottom.  I’ve had this little guy for about 20 years – I remember buying him at a yard sale in New Jersey.

And this little number was at a local thrift store here in Massachusetts

Where does this path go?  Is it from the artist’s imagination or did she set up by the side of this long, dirt road and paint en plein air?

I am particularly fond of birches and willows ( you can ready a little about that here ) and this tree seems to be a real willowbirch!

This one is by Adelaide and was painted in the winter of 1943.  Where?  Who knows.  Who is Adelaide?  Don’t know.  But look how she was moved to layer on thick swipes of oil paint onto this board – the sky so blue, the mountains so snow-laden.  Did she ever imagine that 60+ years later this would land at my house?  Did she hope that one day her work might find its way into the homes of admiring strangers?

And this one – I love the idea that someone, somewhere put a lemon on a table next to a green vase and draped some red fabric behind it and took the next few hours to capture that still life on canvas.

Thanks for doing that, E. Perkins.  You have a killer sense of color.

And this figure study done in pen-and-ink with a watercolor wash by H. Killion was one of my big yard sale scores this summer.  It looks like a typical student study piece that worked out well and was finished off with a gentle gray matte and walnut frame to make it a living-room worthy piece.

And here is the most lovely little domestic scene:

And another landscape scene – this one is of Echo Lake at Presque Isle Maine.  Did the artist vacation there and wake early to capture this scene?

Too bad the signature was chipped off…

The landscapes are happy for now in my kitchen….

And the still life is tucked into one of my way-too-packed living room shelves:

And the little bird is hanging out in the yet-to-be-decorated 1st floor powder room:

And the Grande Dame figure study is over the living room fireplace:

Just a mish-mash of things I like

…created by people I’ll never know….

but whose artwork I find both beautiful and comforting.

Who were these people?   Was Adelaide a mom working to find a creative outlet after putting her kids down for the night?  Did a retired police officer vacation at Presque Isle and pick up a brush for the first time in his life?  Did that little fat bird capture the heart of a little old lady somewhere deep in the backwoods of North Carolina?

How did their artwork pass out of their hands and into mine?

I am not much of a painter myself – I’m more of a wave-my-hands-around architect who likes to draw scribbles that only my contractor can read.  I’m a messy artist.  Maybe that is why I so appreciate the effort that these amateur artists brought to their work.   Color, composition, perspective – all combined in a finished work that seems so un-self-conscious, so honest and proud.

Keep it up, all of your amateur artists out there.  Paint, draw, sketch, render – whatever your medium, keep going.  Find inspiration in the grand sweep of a landscape or in the puffy feathers of a bug-eyed bird.  Do your best to capture it all, and keep it – someday it may find its way into the hands of an amateur art collector who will really appreciate the spirit of your work.

PS: This post was sort of inspired by Mary over at At Home on the Bay.  She recently posted about painting with her mom – if you haven’t read it, check it out here.  You may not see a connection, but believe me – I’ve been thinking about her post for days and through some twisted path it led me to post about this funny little collection of art I have…  Thanks, Mary!

Linking up to these super-fab blogs – check them out!
Boogieboard Cottage

My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia


8 thoughts on “Amateur Art

  1. i just picked up one of landscape at a garage sale and I so love them. You must not cook much to allow these so close to your stove, but I do like how they warm the kitchen.

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