Sunday, February 12, 2012

An Art Collection

I didn't set out to become an art collector, but it seems to be a calling...

Ever since I was a little girl, I've loved art. When I was a child, Reader's Digest, which came to our house, always had an art print on the back cover. I routinely cut these out and hung them on my bedroom walls in plastic sleeves. We didn't have money for real art, but I was quite content with these. I had the bug from an early age.

Most of my prints, engravings, and paintings are pale and neutral in palette, or have gentle colours.

This is an etching I bought in Paris (from a set of three). It is a favorite of mine and I adore the pale colouring and the frame:

I am an equal opportunity collector. I like 50 cent postcards as much as expensive paintings. I love this postcard of a painting by Wm Sergeant Kendall which we saw at the American Art Museum in Washington, DC:

I also bought a pile of English country house etchings on the same trip. I have them piled on the table, as I like to swap them around, and haven't decided yet how to frame them:

I bought this beautiful lady a while ago. It's a bookplate and needs to be framed too. I find her very poised and elegant:

I shared this already - an antique oil painting by Gabriel Spat, who died in 1967. This is probably my favorite thing in the house. We paid a small fortune for this. The frame alone is a masterpiece. If the house is on fire, I will grab the cat, my hard drive, and this:

You've all seen my seascapes a hundred times. They are oil paintings by American artist Al Barker that I got for a song. They were sitting neglected in a box on the floor and each one is valued at close to $1000. I got them for $50 apiece (this NEVER happens to me). The painting in the foreground is a recent acquisition by Virginian Robert Young Clay (also a steal):

I spend a lot of time on the internet looking at art and usually have at least one "want" at any given time. I discovered artist Caroline Adams at a gallery in Georgetown (Susan Calloway here) and bought this little print. I have dreams of purchasing an original miniature landscape of hers:

This etching is a favorite (and hard to get a good photo of). It hangs at our front door and shows a lady with her suitor. It was beautifully framed for me by an excellent local framer. I found this in a dusty box on the floor in an antique shop and paid $15 for it. It was very dirty but it cleaned up well. I regret I did not take more that day as he had others (when I went back, the store had gone out of business):

Here is the remaining pair of Paris etchings. I need to have these reframed as they seem a little too plain to me:

This is a print of a sketch of William Morris's wife, drawn by Rossetti. It hangs in our guest room and should really be better framed. I find it quite charming:

This is a wee photo in my bedroom. I am a photography lover, but find many photos too busy for my liking. I prefer sedate or monotone images:

I have included this next one for fun, so you can see how I've evolved...

This is the first proper painting I ever bought, by Quebec artist Pierre Bedard. I paid $1200 for this when I was 28 and had just paid off my student loans. I loved the impressionistic quality and the colours. I find it too "loud" now (this is the only red in the house). But it brightens up our dreary and as-yet-undecorated TV room (which you have never seen, for good reason):

Hope you've enjoyed the little art tour.


  1. I adore all your pieces! We found an art collector/antiques dealer through Kijiji, who sold us a ton of original engravings as he was downsizing and moving from Calgary to Europe. I am sloooowly getting them framed (so expensive!), and finding the perfect spot for them in our home. They very much remind me of many of your engravings =)

  2. Great collection ... I ADORE the frame in the first photo, the etching too.

  3. I love people who love art. There are so many ways and places to buy art so that it can fit every budget. And you're right, art is very personal. Just like design styles, though, I like a lot of different kinds of styles. I just have one rule. It has to be original. It might be crazy but I feel that original art is alive. Each piece has it's own personality and energy. I like to place pieces so they can carry on a conversation and I love having all those conversations going on around me.

    I love your landscapes but that Gabriel Spat painting I just might have bought out from under you. That's a really special piece.

  4. I really like your art pieces, especially the old etchings. And I enjoy reading about the places where you find your art as well.

  5. Love your collection and I think it's wonderful that you liked art and started collecting it as a child.

  6. Wow! Lovely! Just lovely! All your prints are peaceful and full of beauty. Like you!
    Love it! I of course print my myself of a few cents a page and photoshop the watermark out. Hee Hee.
    Absolutely beautful and Elegant! Nice post!

  7. What a lovely collection. So great to have artwork in your home that reflects your personality and what you love. That Callaway landscape against the gray shelves is stunning.

  8. Your tastes have been evolving that's for sure. I really love the colors of the last painting, though it surprised me that you do/did.

    I was thinking of Lynda Naranjo's photography when you mentioned that you love beautiful photography, but find much of it too busy. Hers is subdued and dreamy.

  9. for someone who 'didn't set out' you have done enviably well. over time buy postcards of even abstracts with color you like, and see how your preferences expand. don't fret over frames. my best things are in the simplest frames, even though i love the good frames, too.

    above all, enjoy. m

  10. Terri, each one is a gem. I do agree, sometimes the framing is more than the original price. I try to go for the big sales of 60% off. I have a pile to do.

  11. Terri,
    I love all your works, you have great taste! I constantly fantasize about having great's torture!

    If the house goes down in flames, you grab the oil (stunning) and I'll grab all the rest and hang them in my house!!!

    ps, paint the brick on your fireplace and that beautiful little painting will just glow! Love that yours has an arched door opening, so lucky!

  12. Your blog looks so beautiful I think you are a great Artist You are doing a great job
    Painting Company

  13. That was like going to the art gallery.Thank you for sharing your wonderful art collection.

  14. Look, what a great stylist you are! Nothing contrived and silly --just lovely.

    Popped over via the lovely A Perfect Gray.

    Happy weekend,


  15. I adore your last piece, they are all beautiful! Love your new header and that pic of you!!