My Staircase Gallery

Some women talk about the latest piece of jewelry they have aquired.  Others talk about the trips they have taken or will take to foreign lands.  I on the other hand will salivate at a tiny end table or a velvet sofa or a vintage portrait and or painting.  I can't tell you how long this has taken me to complete and get just right.  A friend asked me recently "how do you find your paintings?"  I responded "I don't.  They find me."

Truly that is how I feel.  A few friends, after coming over to see it in person kept texting me random photos of paintings as if any painting would do.  I respectfully said, just because it is a vintage painting isn't enough for me.  I have to feel called to it in some way.  

Most of these have traveled back with me from one place or another.  Some from Knoxville, Tnn, some from eBay or etsy and some casually found at an antique store.  Each has a story and a moment that will not be forgotten.
Each one met a need in me in the moment for what I was searching for.
The one below came framed.  Although my findings range from 48 dollars all the way up to a thousand, I love each and every one.  My friend asked me, "Which is your favorite?" I answered with a question to her.  "Which child do you love most?"  She couldn't answer and so I said, well then.
Although all of them have their own story, I will only tell you about this one.  This one was painted by a french painter named Jan de Ruth.
This one is the most expensive of my collection.  I found her after I had been mourning Harryetta.  If you don't know what I'm talking about you need to go to my previous post.  (It's in two parts by the way.)
As I longed to replace the painting that I gave up, (with no regrets) I came across a blog that was mentioning they had seen this painting on ebay and were smitten with it.  It was listed at 2000 at the time and she was wondering about it's worth and commenting how she would love to have it.
It was posted in 2013 and she included a link to the painting on ebay.
I must admit I gasped when I saw the beautiful painting and was eager to see if it was still for sale but found it hard to believe that it would be.  It's 2017 afterall and in four years alot can happen and can be sold.
Well I immediately was directed to it on eBay but all it said was this has been removed.  Did not say sold!  I sent a message to the seller.

Dear Sir, I recently saw a Jan de Ruth painting on a woman's blog that matches this ebay listing.  It was in 2013 and was going for 2000.  Did you sell it?

Within the hour I had a notification.  It was a response from the seller.  It simply said:

No.  I still have it.  Are you interested?

I could not contain my excitement.  I quickly text my hubby and filled him in.  I knew he understood how I wanted something to take the place of Harryetta but I also knew that 2000 was out of the question.  He told me to make an offer much much lower.  I did and the seller counter offered but we felt it was fair.  I was able to buy her.

The seller informed me that he was on vacation and I needed to wait at least two weeks for him to ship it but that when he returned he would send it fed ex.  So I counted the days until he notified me that he had shipped the painting.  Never in my wildest would I have expected this frame along with the painting.  It is the original frame.  When I showed the info to my friend Meg, (the owner of Harryetta - come on guys you have to read the previous post to know what I'm talking about.) she told me that Jan de Ruth had been the french artist that had painted Ethel Kennedy and it was on the cover of Time Magazine.  So this artist was truly someone recognized.

When she arrived I nearly burst with excitement at the size of the box.  My husband helped me open it and then I think we both gasped in unison as we saw the painting in the frame.  All I could say was "Oh my heavens."
It is not easy to photograph since my staircase is narrow but believe me when I tell you that she is stunning.  Not a mark on her.  As if she were somewhere just waiting to be shipped to me.  Do you understand now what I meant about the paintings finding me?  She did.  If you are my age you will remember Mary Ann Mobley, the american actress who was married to Gary Collins and appeared in Elvis Movies.  She reminds me of her and that time.  Although I wanted my gallery to be simple canvas art and no frames, I had to keep her in her frame.  It would be an injustice to deprive her of such a fitting frame.

My dear friend Lori surprised me with a gift.  She knew the story behind Harryetta and was amazed with it as we all were.  So she surprised me at a bbq I was hosting with a gift.  The card said something like this , "because you were so giving of something you wanted I thought you should have your own."
The tears ran down my face as I opened it.  She made me (through cvs.com believe or not) a 8 by 10 on canvas print of Harryetta and a small one to place at my desk like Meg had done for 15 years.  Thank you dear Lori.
So Harryetta is added to my wall.  I need to add that angle photo so you can see.  Will update later today.

So this is my gallery.  I am so proud of it.  I often sit on the steps and stare at all of them with much affection.  They make me happy and this spot is magical.  If you are wondering about the small space on the right under the Nicola Blazev painting (there are three of his work) I am reserving that for a portrait I am painting. ( Don't get excited, I'm not great.)  Trying to do my mom's wedding portrait into a painting.  Lets see.  Will post when done.  Later today I will do an attachement to this post and include a close up of all of them so you can have a better look.  I'm posting from my store now so I will do this when I'm home.

Added part to the post:  A little history behind some of my artwork.

 Harryetta is hanging on the bottom right side .
 Below I found at an antique shop I frequent a painting of John Seargent's Lady Agnew of Lochnaw.  I was drawn to the detail of the small painting.  A wonderful replica.
Bottom:  I inherited this from my friend Susan Taylor's private home collection when she was moving.  He reminded me of the butler I always dreamed of having if I lived in England in the early nineteenth century.  LOL
Below him is a print on canvas bought from the painter Diana Moses Botkin.  I love the way she paints with light and shadow to outline detail on the body.
Below: Bought this on Easy.   A replica of The Torn Hat by Thomas Sully.
I can't remember where I got this print on canvas of the pensive grandmother.
This painting below started it all.  My collection.  My son goes to college in Knoxville Tnn and there is the greatest antique shop I've ever gone to.  The Bearden Antique Mall.  I saw this painting when my son was a freshman.  It is of a dancer from a local dance company in Knoxville.  Love how real her skin and features appear.  Incredible proportions and detail.  Love her so.  

A year later I went back and found this one below.  Done by the same painter of another dancer in the dance company.  How could I not bring her home?
This one below is signed J Perry. I bought it on ebay.  Not much information about it.  It had a depth quality that I love and could never paint like that.  Also love the movement in the fabric of her dress.

Above, this lovely woman came from ebay.  It is not signed but is beautiful.  I loved the beauty in her face.  The canvas was very old and a bit dirty when it came.  I cleaned it off with a cloth as best as I could and actually nailed a bit of the falling canvas back on to the frame.
Above I had made form Greatbigcanvas.com  I wanted a religious painting replica to be at the top of my wall and found this one. Loved the outcome.  The website is wonderful and very affordable.

Below: A friend of mine had found a painting in an antique shop of Enrica Soma, Angelica Huston's mom who was a famous dancer.  Her face appeared on the cover of Life Magazine.  I had loved it ever since I saw it.
About two months ago I discovered transfering.  It's when you take any photo and use mod podge and make a transfer on to canvas.  The product is a light imprint of your image.  I did one of Enrica and then I used my acrylic paints and carefully with the proper brushes painted over the faded print on the canvas frame.  I love how it came out.  Yes the colors are a bit altered due to my choices but It is an original made by me.  I had this antique frame with an old photo and swapped it for the canvas.  Perfect fit.
Below:  The bottom three are all from Ebay.  They are all painted by the same incredible painter Nicola Blazev.  He has become one of my favorites.  The paintings are so layered in color and texture.  I feel that this technique allows for an appearance of depth and movement.  You can almost touch the thickenss in the hair.  The colors are also great.

So love the way the new additions add to the gallery.


Cheryl said...

Oh, it just draws me in...I could sit there for hours on end, too, and never want to leave! I LOVE how you have them all arranged...it is truly a work of art all its own, the way you have acquired and so precisely merged them all together. Wow...I am enthralled. Thank you so much for sharing this...it truly warms my heart to visit with you! God bless you and give you many moments enjoying such beauty!

Lauren @ My Wonderfully Made said...

THIS IS STUNNING! I have to say at the first picture in your post, the lady in the red dress jumped out and I thought that would be my favorite. I just loved the color (my favorite) and her style and her hair, the pose, all of it. You have a very understanding husband so you better keep him!

Kathleen George said...

Gorgeous! And I do remember the beautiful actress. Your friend was very thoughtful to give you a portrait of Harryetta. I think is wonderful of you to paint your moms wedding portrait:).
Yes, your husband loves you so, I remember too, the Farrah gift:).
Kathleen in Az

Choo Say said...

Great article! It's a great idea of sharing works.
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Art lover said...

Lee, I knew Jan, and posed for him many times. I have several pieces in my home in my own collection. Your story about the painting coming to your life is wonderful and you know something........from the bottom of my heart I can tell you..Jan would have been so deeply touched that you love it so much. I am sure what you feel is part of his beautiful soul. Bless you, dear. Joanie

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