Jonesing on Art

I love most things vintage and antique and am happy to buy and sell a wide range of items that span the decades and centuries. But lately I’ve been especially jonesing on art. In the last few weeks I bought a great little painting from my friend Sue for my personal collection and the dog painting from “Craigslist Gary” that I’ll put in my store at some point.

And though paintings and prints are not fast sellers for me I usually make a decent profit when they do sell. One little fly in the ointment…my art/artist knowledge is almost non-existent so it makes sourcing trickier…but I am learning. 🙂

How I Choose Pieces

If a piece attracts me viscerally, I’ll take a closer look. Does the piece show some level of skill? Is is signed? Can I find out anything about the artist? (If it’s a listed artist, I can usually find some good information including recent sales prices.) Is it priced so I can make a profit? Is the piece small enough for me to ship easily?

Some Success Stories

I haven’t sold a lot of art, but enough to motivate to find more.

This 1960s/1970s McCaine sea painting was purchased for $30 at a Habit for Humanity Restore and sold for $275.
Another sea painting, a watercolor by W.G. Evans, bought for $20 at my neighborhood Goodwill, sold for $200.
F.G. Houston painting, bought for $6.00 at Goodwill, sold for $140.

Subjects I Avoid

My taste is fairly eclectic, but I do not buy old-fashioned floral paintingsclowns (I know some clown art can do well, but it’s not for me!) and generic landscapes (the kind painted in an hour). I had the chance to inherit some generic landscapes from family members back East and I didn’t take them. They didn’t inspire me in the least.

Where I Source

  • Thrift stores – you can get pieces at decent prices, but real art is often thin on the ground (mostly it’s “Walmart art”)
  • Estate sales – usually good pieces, but the art may be priced at retail
  • Craigslist – hit or miss, but you have the possibility of a motivated seller
  • Online – lots to look at, but you don’t see the piece in person before buying (obviously!) and you have to factor in shipping

New Online Finds

The other day I found a Paris painting by British artist Albert George Morgan (1848-1930). It had a great Buy It Now price, but because of the huge (rather ugly) wood frame the shipping cost was $42. Drat! So I contacted the seller and asked if I could buy just the small painting (8″ by 10″) since I didn’t want the frame. He said yes! The shipping price was vastly reduced and I bought it immediately.


I also bought an “unknown artist” painting. I found its moody winter scene captivating and haunting. It is framed and matted and I’m hoping once I receive it to be able to find out something about the artist.


I am bidding on two other paintings online, but won’t know for a few days if I am successful. Both are by listed artists and will likely take off in the last few seconds of the auction leaving my bid in the dust.

Anyway it’s back to listing stuff from my “death pile” and adding more lackluster items to my donate pile. I really want this year to be a year of selling “the best stuff” in an organized environment!

Would love to hear your stories if you buy or sell art. Any super duper finds?? (Would be fun to find a piece worth thousands, but till then I’m happy with my little finds.)

Happy hunting,



  1. I have found a lot of nice art this past year!

    In addition to the Edward Gorey print and 1836 hand-colored steel engraving (you may recall I mentioned a few weeks ago), I’ve found a few pieces of what I consider really well done folk/tourist art: from Africa, Peru, and (I think) China. Also some very nice old botanical prints, one in a fabulous frame hand painted to simulate malachite. Several Japanese woodblock prints and paintings on silk. And a small but exquisite science fiction illustration of stars and nebula. Also a pair of terribly kitschy, but beautifully executed, framed paint by number scenes of stag and deer in a forest. I guess I have eclectic taste 😉

    It’s always a thrill to scan the crowded bins of assorted frames and odds and ends and spy that one corner of something intriguing sticking out – you carefully pull it out and – oh look! Something special! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I can’t write a guest post because I can’t seem to take decent photos! I think that you and I are both members of the FB group Your Vintage Headquarters: I’m going to post some of the framed art I’ve found there. Please delete this post if it’s inappropriate for your blog.

    Liked by 1 person

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