Collecting Original Artwork and a Video

I’ve always been drawn to amateur paintings at thrift stores and garage sales. Maybe it’s because I can’t paint worth a dime, but I like to think it’s because I find them pretty and I’m “rescuing” them from the trash pile. Not to mention that they are as close to owning “original artwork” as I’m ever going to come.

I enjoy having things to look for when visiting a sale, too, and it’s always like I’ve unearthed a treasure when I find one I like with the colors I’m looking for. It’s a great way to add a personal touch to your decor for just a few dollars, not to mention the fact that you can be sure no one else will have one exactly like it.

Here are some of the ways that I use these paintings around my house:

Leaning on a bookcase in the living room. This is my most recent acquisition, my Mother’s Day present from Brian and the kids. He actually found the painting, but the frame was bad, so he bought another thrift store print just for the frame and the kids painted it before giving it to me.

Since both were only $4.99 each, it still made for an economical gift, which they know I will enjoy almost as much as the gift. I love a good bargain!

Above a cabinet in the bedroom. I usually gravitate towards floral paintings, but if I find a lovely landscape in the colors I like, I buy it.

I fell in love with this landscape at a Goodwill, and actually paid $20.00 for it- twice as much as I’ve ever paid for any other painting. The colors went perfectly with our bedroom and I loved the subject- it almost looks like the Thames in London.

Or something like that.

Again, the frame was awful and came complete with that fabric inside-frame (fabric covered frame that’s inside the larger frame- I’m not sure what the actual name of it is…) that just screams the 60’s and 70’s to me. I just popped the painting out and painted it, fabric and all.

Above the bed. I’m usually at a loss as to what to put over the bed, so this is a great solution.

This was actually the very first painting I bought at a thrift store in the first few years of our marriage. It had a price tag of $4.50 and was half off that day. I guess you could say it’s the one that started it all.

Or not. Whatever.

Stacking them on a narrow wall. Why not stack? All the houses in Europe do.

What? I do not live in a manor house on the British Isles?

Well, a girl can dream.

Although to be honest, the bottom watercolor was not a thrift store find. It is an actual antique store watercolor that was priced way higher than thrift store prices, as you can imagine. I loved the colors, though, and my friend, Julie, who was with me, bought it for me for a gift.

This would probably be the time to mention that shopping with friends and relatives is a good idea.

Hanging on a blank wall. Gotta do something with those blank walls. I think this one cost $14 dollars, but it’s unusual to find a round one and I liked the colors and subject.

This painting illustrates one of the other things I like about collecting amateur artwork: the imperfections. For example, I think a flower or two should’ve come in front of the pitcher- all of the flowers are behind or to the side of the pitcher, giving the impression that the pitcher was just stuck on at the last minute.

It just makes me smile every time I look at it.

Inside of an empty picture frame.

Can you believe this was just $2.99? I picked it up a couple months ago because this could’ve been painted up the mountain from us and I loved the touches of pink in the flowers on the banks.

Awaiting a place of it’s own.

This was a recent find for a $1.50. It’s so sweet and small and I loved the shape of the frame. I can’t decide if I want to paint it, though. Can you have too much white?

The bottom line is, if I love it (and it’s cheap enough…), I buy it and find somewhere for it to live.

Brian also collects amateur paintings, but with a different, umm…mindset. Here’s a video where you can view his collection:

See this video full size on YouTube.

Watch other videos from An Oregon Cottage.

What things do you like to collect?


This is linked to:
Frugalicious Friday @ Finding Fabulous

Frugal Friday @ Life as Mom
Show and Tell Friday @ My Romantic Home
Frugal Friday @ The Shabby Nest





  1. SeLFs says

    GreaT coLLecTioN…
    ((EveryboDy knoWs aN aRt critiC neeDs tO weaR a Bow-tie & vesT…))
    YoU aRe a cracK-up

  2. says

    How fun…all those nice paintings at great prices. I’m very much like you…when I go shopping at a yard sale or thrift store…if I like it and I can afford, I’ll usually buy it 😉 :) Hmm..I’m collecting a mix of things lately. I’m working on adding more romantic looking things to my home …or Victorian country, rustic, vintage, etc…but then I find other pieces that just look vintage, that don’t fit my color scheme..but they’re vintage and cute..and I like that too. Reminds me of pictures in magazines…where rooms are decorated with all sorts of vintage looking cookie tins for example..In fact, I bought a Nestle Tolhouse cookie tin for $1 today…has the recipe on one side…and vintage advertisements from the 30s-50s on the other three sides. Really cool!!! I also found pink Deprsesion Era glass plates!! So it depends!!! It’s hard to resist something beautiful if the price is right!!!

    Love and hugs from Oregon, Heather :)

  3. Team Barber-Hallquist says

    We have some amateur artwork in our home, too! Thanks to your hubby for the “mocumentary”!

  4. Cindy says

    I needed a laugh tonight, and Brian brought out some real belly laughs. I am inspired to start a collection as well, but I have no wall space. I guess I can take them out of the frames and use them for curtains. :-)

  5. says

    I love original artwork too:) And very much for the same reason as you. My other “art” weakness is paint by number paintings. I have purchased lots off of ebay. I decorated our cabin and my son’s room at home almost exclusively with paint by number. I think I may need to do a post on them:)

  6. Anonymous says

    I just recently discovered your blog and I love it.

    I just watched the “Private Art Collection” video and I laughed until I cried. Thank you for sharing your world.

    Holly in Kentucky

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