In the sometimes sad cruel world of thrift shop discards, I occasionally come across some artistic foundlings. Who wouldn’t dream of finding a lost masterpiece/rare historic document/load of cash hidden behind a paint-by-number rendition of a horse in the desert? But sadly, the only hidden score I’ve ever made was five bucks stuck to some used gum in a jacket pocket. But once in awhile I’ll come across some decent handmade items – amateur paintings that are crude but appealing, wonky but charming efforts from a ceramics class, or stitchery – much in the way of beautifully embroidered home items. With vintage stitched tablecloths, napkins, dresser scarves and the like, I assume they were made by a long ago grandmother. They were lovingly kept, passed on, and possibly used for decades until the family ended, someone had to make a significant move or downsizing and was sad to let them go but had to, or the maker was a mean old bag and no one wanted her crap. But these two wool canvas work pictures caught my eye since they didn’t seem to fit the mold of someone making them long ago or an assignment for a community arts class or freshman art 101. One was framed professionally, and the other somewhat sloppily. I’m dating them to the 1980s since the whale pattern reminds me of the cotton lining of a kelly green rubber raincoat I wore with navy duck shoes* that I had then. The primary colors in the other also make it a good fit for the decade, or perhaps as early as the late 1970s. I haven’t dismantled them enough to see if the canvas was printed and thus a kit, and thus I wouldn’t really be interested in them anymore, so I don’t want to know quite yet. So I am seeking opinions, identifications, possible makers, reference leads – help? I found them in a Goodwill in Mahopac, Putnam County, New York last fall on the way up to Rhinebeck 2012.
*Links for visual references only, I’m not pushing this Etsy shop, nor is it mine.