Friday, July 23, 2010

Fence post heads

It's amazing how good an antique fence post can look in the hands of the right artist. The top bust, from Massachusetts and painted white, is really quite elegant. It was sold by the New Hampshire dealer Thomas Longacre. The second one, from New York State, is more crudely done but powerful in its own way, and sits on a shelf at our home.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Carved flask whimsy

Cattle, a dog and people are all depicted on this unusual piece, apparently a flask. It has a removable stopper, attached by a carved chain, that sits atop a cavity, and finger holds. At the same time, this carving looks a little like a scoop. It was collected in the Delaware River area of New York State.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Man or boy in the clouds

Naivete or innocence is a quality I like in art. In this painting the artist has rubbed away paint to  depict clouds. Why clouds? Did the subject die? He's wearing a vest showing a horse, which makes me think it might be someone specific rather than someone imagined. The most thickly painted area is the hair, which is golden.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Make-do toy from a lid

An old lid reborn as a goofy toy apparently depicting a Native-American with war paint and a feather. Turn the crank and the caricature sticks out his tongue.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Propeller head

A strange carving from Texas. The base contains two tubes that might hold small flags, for example. Also there are two poles on which rings or rolled paper could be placed. Then there's that horizontal pole atop the fella's head. I have no idea what that's supposed to be.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Squirrel target

This is a fantasy shot for many a homeowner. Very pretty burnt orange surface.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Paint loss

When is paint loss too much? This sign is a good point of debate. I was able to obtain it probably because others passed due to the deterioration. But to me the missing paint adds to the sign's graphic appeal, like the empty spaces in a painting. Had the loss obliterated the letters or encroached on the runner I too probably would have passed.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Thar she blows

Seeing as in three months and 11 days it will be the 159th anniversary of the publication of Moby Dick, I thought it appropriate to post this painting by the self-taught artist Stephen Warde Anderson. "The Great White Whale" was completed in September 1994 -- 143 years and one month after the publication of Herman Melville's required school reading. Stephen, who lives in Rockford, Ill., is still painting. And recently I discovered he's blogging. In "It Simply Isn't Done, Old Chap," Stephen muses about ungentlemanly behavior, like the baseball manager who fails to shave on a daily basis. If you're ever in the Rockford area, pay Stephen a visit. You'll remember it.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Standing tall ... and nude

Rummaging through the closet today rediscovered this guy. He's 17.6 inches tall and ramrod straight. It makes me wonder, why did the artist choose to depict a nude male? The carving obviously is primitive, naive, self-taught -- all of that -- but maybe the maker was influenced by classical nude sculpture. Or maybe he was gay and closeted, and this carving was his secret. I'm assuming a male carver because of the straightforward masculine look.