Monday, November 29, 2010

Simple BASIC Tips on Buying Antique & Vintage PAINTINGS

AntiqueARTGarden Guide

Simple Basic Tips on Buying Antique & Vintage Paintings

Here is a basic guide..a tutor , so to speak, to help you decide on buying an old Antique or Vintage painting .  These are tips I have learned through hands on experience in buying Art for myself and for re-sale. It may help you when you see a antique painting online or in determine if it is "OLD "  or new , what CONDITION the painting is in and if  you should consider purchasing it,  and IF you should buy a piece of ART  or pass on it ?  By  OLD or ANTIQUE,  I am referring mainly to Art made from 1800-1915's, Vintage Art was made from the 1920-1970's, and New Art would be from the 1980's to present day. Some people do classify art from the 1980's as bear that in mind.  These are my classifications ...they are similar to most online.  Also this is a guide from  the United States, so for buyers in Europe..where you have the availability of Art that is hundreds of years older than the Art that America typically has..then you will have to bear with me as our art that is commonly on the market is from this time frame. Paintings that are 100's of years old..not simply a 100 + years old are rarer here. 

1940's oil painting in original frame
 I have been collecting and selling Antique & Vintage Art for over 24 years, I have been on Ebay for over 7 of those years. I have many people email me with some basic questions about old artwork. Here are the most common ones I get: 


Dark back of canvas with crackling, evident sign of antique painting

The most important way you can not the from the front of the canvas..but from the turn it around gently and inspect it FIRST.

True darker color of back of canvas--late 1800's
This can be easy..or difficult... you have to see enough paintings to help with this question.  Typically you can look first at the back of the the canvas stark white or is it yellowed with age ? If a back of a canvas is white or a light beige than it is NOT old . That is a dead giveaway. Typically the darker the canvas is, and the more crackle marks you see , even in the back canvas..are signs of some age on a piece. If it is a board..or hardboard painting..then if the board is black or very dark gray..then it is late 1800's to early 1900's. Other canvas boards are usually marked on the back with labels from the companies that produced them. Most of these labels are typical of the time period they are from. Like a Art Deco label , or a Retro -style label..all the way to the brand new canvas board sold today. So the lighter the board, usually the newer the painting is.
Big TIP...many importers and ' antique ' stores and shops sell REPRODUCTION oil paintings with a fake dark finish on the back of the canvas. It is more of a grey/tan finish or a wash of brown paint finish ...not like authentic antique back of canvases that I show you pictures of here.. Most store owners will tell you it is a repro if you ask them directly. Let me show you some differences. I apologize for the fuzziness of some of these pictures , I copied and pasted from my own art buying guide off eBay. Then I added some extras.
New back of canvas, very white or light,.1990's thru the present
Canvas board painting backs  from the 1950-60's time frame
 1940's canvas board from behind

A light beige canvas back 1960-80's time frame above

Vintage BACK of a board 1930-50's time frame typically, the darker the board the older it is usually
1940's back of canvas

Antique Black Academy or Hardboard 1860-1915 time frame, typically has some warpage to it

Antique canvas and stretcher 1860-1910 time frame
Old dark wood stretcher painting is unframed..late 1800's to before 1920

Mid 1800's original old painting from behind

A few other ways to judge the age of a painting is by the stretcher ( wood it is nailed to ), at the back , and even the nails themselves . If the wood in the stretcher is a darker wood, that is a clue that it is older, especially when the wood is VERY dark.

Occasionally an older painting is reframed or cut-down from it's original size ( due to damage usually ), and then nailed to a new stretcher. If you see old nails, not bright shiny nails in the stretcher area..NOT where it is actually held into the frame..but where the painting is nailed to the wood, then it is usually an old painting . Sometimes if you see staples instead of nails it is definitely new..EXCEPT when an old canvas...unframed put on a new stretcher . I am not trying to frustrate you in your shopping for antique paintings, but there are exceptions to a few of the general rules on how to gauge age. If you definitely see old wood on the stretcher..and old nails..and the back of the canvas is older and a darker tan..then VOILA' is almost always old.


This is a very subjective question..unless you are a restorer or are planning on  having a painting restored, then you need to buy a painting in as good as condition as possible. Saying that , you do have to realize these are ANTIQUE or VINTAGE paintings. That means they will have some craquelure, ( Crazing or crackling lines in the paint ) , they may have a few paint chips off, they may have some small tears or rips.
This small of a tear and I will still purchase

  A lot of small tears can be taped up with adhesive cloth tape from the back and be suitable for hanging still. If they are large tears, over 3-5 ins., then you may want it restored or pass on it. Also realize with old board paintings, because of the nature of paper/ will warp with some age and it also scratches quite easily. If the painting is nice enough and the integrity of the Art is not jeopardized, then I usually buy it .
 Some paintings I do pass on are the ones with extensive large flaking of paint , as I am not a restorer and that is the more expensive damage to restore.  If you want to have a painting in perfect condition..please realize that is almost impossible for older pieces of could buy a reproduction painting or print if you want a perfect finish...but then the charm is removed from the Art that only comes with age and the passing of time.


Ahh, a very hard question with an easy answer. My advice would be to buy a piece of Art if you really like it or love it. It does not matter whether it will ' go' with a room's colors, or if  it matches your present style of decor.  In time , many of us change styles of decorating ...but usually if we love a piece of Art..and I mean really LOVE  it..then we love it for always. It will fit somewhere in your home or office if it ' calls ' to you. I do believe Art ' calls ' to us ..if we see a painting at a shop or online and we cannot stop thinking about it . Make that bid, make that offer . Make it yours.

Best Way in the World to Educate Yourself about ART

Please take the time to go to your local or regional ART MUSEUMS as they are the very best way to see what really good and great Art is . You have to see the best to recognize it when you are shopping. If there is ever any way in the world, while you are in the US...please spend as many hours in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City as you can. Take the time to go to your local art museums or regional art museums as well, you will be awed and educated  at the same time. Also go to some large antique shows and talk with some art dealers about antique art...most will answer your questions and show you examples of antique artwork if they are not busy with customers. Time with Art will teach you about it as well.
Good luck, hope this is helpful in some way to you,



Please vote yes for this guide if it was helpful  to you in ANY have to go to the link to vote at the bottom of that page, thanks !

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

How Strong is Your FAITH ?

There is a church, with a large steeple I walk past in the mornings, I see the steeple , always there not moving, every time I walk. That is a picture of it above. 
I have thought much about my relationship, my faith , lately...and my feeling of drifting from God, or Him being distant from me. I know that is normal in tragedys , to feel off-kilter in your faith. I know that for some people it is worse than for others. I also know that any relationship, with spouses, friends, children, strongly influenced and strengthened by communication.
If you don't talk much with your spouse  or friend, then your relationship will deteriorate.
Likewise, if you don't talk much with God, it will also deteriorate, at least from your end...He on the other hand probably ( guessing here ),feels exactly towards you as He always has.
I have been upset, dis-heartened, by my faith walk, my relationship with God after our Sarah's death. I always believed I had a strong relationship, strong faith in Him. I talked about Him with many people, in person and through this blog.

But since her death, I have closed myself off more, prayed a little less, prayed differently  with Him. It is actually still difficult to pray. I have been further discouraged from reading or hearing different ministers tell their listeners stories about how strong a faith so and so has when they go through cancer and they are dying and they thank God for the cancer, when someone lost their wife and three children in an auto accident and went to church singing and praising God the next Sunday. When someone's blog, after losing a loved one, writes and praises God , right after the death .
I have measured my faith ,or what degree I thought my faith was...against those type of stories and more.
I feel I have fallen short, very short.
I walked , and I considered, and I thought something that on first hearing makes no sense. 
This is it, sort of hard to say, but will give it a go..
I have had many personal and physical trails in my life, as we all have, some truly scary terrible things we all have probably. God has helped give me strength through all those times. It was never a quick fix, never a BANG this is God, here to help. It was more of a slow , steady strengthening of my faith...over years and years.
Like I said, I have had trails and tribulations , I have caused trails and tribulations.  But none, not one...were this bad. Not even close.
And so when I walked, and thought, and considered...I considered that even though I personally felt my faith has gotten weaker, much may  in fact , be stronger than it was before. It doesn't feel stronger , I am having serious issues with trying to trust God , as my anger over my daughter's death is still there.  Comes and goes , fluctuating between deep sadness , anger and depression . I know that internal anger can destroy relationships , any relationship, and I also know that through my anger over this tragedy...I still love God.
Possibly, just possibly, I am thrown into the position of authentic , deep true faith. Through good times, bad times, the worst times. 
Perhaps I am growing ( not of my own choosing ) , and seeing God for who He truly is...and growing to love Him more , to truly know him more , to learn He is more than just the creator of our world , more than just all-loving , all-knowing , perfect entity .

Me and Sarah, last Thanksgiving

So maybe, my faith is stronger than I know.  The fact that He may be developing me how He can use me best after this tragedy is something I have considered, and actually am not in favor of. I know that sounds childish, but when a mother is hurting so badly inside over her daughter's death , a death that cannot possibly ever be for the greater good in this it has caused my world to be much worse. I know many Christians will write me and tell me he can use this tragedy for good, as the scripture verse states, I mentally KNOW that, I have always known that....but it is not remotely comforting to me. Too much daily pain. 
Also, I know for a fact my daughter made this world a better place. Again, none of my reactions probably surprise God, he knows he has a tough case on His hands with me.
  I do ask Him to increase my faith daily.

Remember to enjoy your families over Thanksgiving , when you hug your children, your spouse, your parents...feel their warmth, watch then when they speak , listen to their laughs, enjoy the sound of their voices... affirm their hopes.
Show your love to them , so they can see it.

Be a blessing,

Saturday, November 20, 2010

What ART Does to ME

 The Kiss by Francesco Hayez 1800's

Ok, if you have stopped staring long enough at that gorgeous old painting above...then I will write to you about what Art does to me. I have heard, that there are people in this world that don't care for Art, it doesn't do a thing for them...and I am always surprised to hear that. But I do know that the appeal of art is very subjective. We all, the ones of us that love art, all have a certain type we enjoy best. I do not understand the appeal of abstract or even Impressionism art that is so vague an impression of the subject that no one can make it out. Like this:

 Too vague for me, I appreciate fine, intricate details in Art more. Yes, I know you can see it is a boat on water and a city behind...but still too fuzzy for me. Clarity and detail are what I like , personally more in Art.  Also NOT my thang below here...
 I'm sorry, but it just makes me dizzy. It is sort of fun, but not what feeds the art lover inside of me. That would be more this:
Girl standing on Balcony by Carlo Holsoe 1863
 and this:

Aert van der Neer
Moonlit Landscape with Bridge, probably 1648/1650
and of course this:
Jean Auguste Dominique INGRES (Montauban, 1780-Paris, 1867)The Bather, known as the Valpinçon Bather1808
© Musée du Louvre/A. Dequier - M. Bard
I can freely admit I am drawn to the Romanticism period  ( 1790-1850 ) of art
Asher Duran, Kindred Spirits 1800's

, but I also love the Renaissance period ( 14th-17th century ),
Raphael 1500's High Renaissance

Pre-Raphaelite, Neo-Classicism, The Aesthetics, Victorian art, and about 15 other styles give or take a few.

Caravaggio 1500's

 Antique art has always interested me, since age 8 or 9 years old when I 
discovered a giant art book with all the great masterpieces in it. I became so engrossed in a large chair at a distant relative's home, reading it for over an hour ( or 2 ) or so...that they gave me the book. It was almost as big as I was, and I hugged it close when I got into the car for the drive home,so amazed at their kindness and my insatiable appetite to look at all the art I could...when I could.
I still
have that book. 

That has not changed about me, art is still a huge draw to me...if I came to your home, and you were chatting away with me...and as much as I found you interesting...I would completely lose my focus if I saw ANY artwork around your home. I would usually interrupt you, tell you to wait...( and I am sorry to say I have done this many times ), and I would walk all around looking at your artwork. If it was my type I preferred I would look more. If it was not my style, then I would glance briefly, and return back to your enthralling discussion.
BUT...Art usually makes me lose focus , especially antique artwork.  
It is therapeutic in helping me lose my focus on my pain ( over my Sarah )...for very short periods of time. 

Also, I absolutely HAVE to have artwork in my home, blank walls are a waste of space, my eyes and my soul have to have paintings and old prints everywhere I look. When I have been to people's homes or businesses and they have NO art or  anything on their walls...I want to tell them ( and I have ), that they need something on their walls. Art , a mirror to reflect light or a view, something for Pete's sake needs to be on the wall !

I feel as if am drawn into the painting, paintings are my big magnet...original antique prints as well...and antiques in general whether it be furniture, mirrors, sculpture, etc. Anything old, that has history and evidence of age...
I enjoy them so much.
They are an escape , mentally ...for me. 

For  some reason, Art is helping me more than my garden is ...right now. I am unsure why, possibly it is static beauty, while my garden is still alive and moving. I don't really know. I do know that I typically want  to be INSIDE the painting, or imagine I am, or something inside the painting reminds me of something important in my life...or psyche. 

Either it depicts a place , a feeling, a need , or a person( that person can even be myself ), that I want or desire in my life.
I buy art that touches something inside...I always have.

Only people that really love art can understand lovers are very visual , compared to someone who is more drawn and affected by music or a certain activity or hobby. Of course many people are a combination of art/music lovers, music/poetry , gardening/ know.
Gardening is my other big escape, therapy....pleasure in life.
Being without my Sarah during this holiday month , is something I am dreading . I  wish I could stop time.
But nothing stops time, nothing stops everyone from living their lives, going about their if nothing important happened that should stop them.
For me, that important happening, is making it very difficult to think straight and even breathe during this holiday season. Each day that passes, brings me further away from the last time I saw her alive. The countdown for the holidays, is painful and a big reminder of my heartache.  I am simply taking one day, really one hour at a time. 
One hour, is about all I can handle , each day.

Sarah loved Thanksgiving and Christmas.
She loved us, her family...and it showed. 
I still ache for her, continually , always.

That is her above, posing with her little brother on Christmas morning last year. Her big sister was taking their picture from the opposite direction, and I took this one. She was such a beautiful girl.

I hope whatever your ' thing ' , in life is...that you enjoy it and appreciate it fully.

Bless you,

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Great Use for an ANTIQUE Picture FRAME

I'm pretty much a a nut for antique picture frames...and enjoy finding them when I am on one of my antique art hunts. I know many of you already know to make a mirror out of an antique frame..but I did something with this one, that I think anyone can do . I made a frame within a frame, with an original painting inside of course. The frame above is one I have for sale on eBay, and to keep it safe, and make use of it...I did this:
 A frame within a frame. Recipe goes as such...

1 original painting, painted by Cindy Hilliard ( aka. samfoxpaintedgarden on eBay) , she paints vintage -looking paintings,
I bought this unframed many years ago, she painted this special for me. Great Victorian look to the roses and pansies. I put it inside an antique smaller frame years ago. Ok, then add it to 1 very large antique picture frame...
 No glue, no nails...just hang the first large frame, then add a second nail below it and hang the painting inside. Now it will usually not be perfectly flush with the larger outer frame, but it still will fool the eye , and you won't ( or anyone else ), notice it is not one complete frame.
So when you look very closely, you will see a gap around edge. But who cares ? Not me. I was very fortunate to see that the two frames match in original paint color as well. Though a little ' off ' gold would work too.
Gap around inner frame. This may drive perfectionists that case...don't do it. 

 I am pleased.

My Roseville pottery surrounds it. I love vintage Roseville pottery with all the floral designs. There you go, recipe complete.
I enjoy moving all my paintings around my house. Art makes me feel alive, it fills something inside of is one of the material things in life I need. Will write an entry about that soon.

So go out, find a beautiful original antique frame to plop one of your paintings inside .

Hope you have a peaceful day or night, wherever you are,