Touching Up a Vintage Painting

I love painting and wish I had more time to dedicate to it. It's really relaxing, and there's something so refreshing about going into that pure creation mode. It's a nice counterbalance to all the over-thinking and drawn out time lines that happen with interior design. :) I usually paint flowers or landscapes, just for family and friends, but I would really love to take a portraiture class this year. I'd love to paint portraits of my own kids and I think it would be cool to make portraits for really special gifts. If anyone has any leads on great painting classes here in the city, I'm all ears!



On a related subject, collecting vintage portraits is sort of a trendy thing that I never really got on board with. Maybe I'm too sentimental and it seems a little strange to hang paintings of strangers. Then a couple weeks ago this beautiful vintage portrait caught my eye as I was leaving the Chelsea flea. Isn't she pretty? I love the colors and I like her thoughtful expression.



I had already spent almost all my cash that day so I almost didn't ask the dealer for a price. I thought for sure she would want at least $100 or $200, even though the painting needed some restoration. She wanted $15! SOLD!




When I got home I pulled out some oil paints in the colors that had flaked off on her dress.



It was a pretty easy fix. You sort of just lightly mix the colors you need with a palette knife and then place the colors down.



I added the swipe down the middle here. Because I didn't overmix there are highlights and lowlights that give the fabric of her dress some depth.



The next step was to sort of feather the new paint into the old.



And the painting was fixed in about 5 minutes! Easy!



Obviously I wouldn't have tried this with an expensive painting. Valuable art that needs repair should go to a professional restorer. But since I only spent a few dollars on this painting, I didn't mind trying to fix her myself.



She might be a stranger, but she makes me smile, so she's welcome to hang out on our walls. :)

37 comments:

Angela (Cottage Magpie) said...

I know just what you mean! I always feel a little odd having other people's art on my walls. But I just love amateur paintings. I think they're so charming, so I buy them anyway! :-)

Love this portrait! Really beautiful, and I'm impressed with your fix-it-up job!

~Angela~

Mr. Goodwill Hunting said...

What a great fix. I couldnt even tell where you added your touch.


Now that's GOOD stuff!


Mr. Goodwill Hunting

Emily said...

I think your lady looks lovely all spruced up - a new lease on life for her!

Tanya @ Lovely Greens said...

It looks great - well done on the restoration and the bargain! I feel the same as you about collecting paintings of other people. I especially don't like the ones where the subject looks straight out at the viewer - it's like having a stranger look in through a window into your house. But this one is more about the atmosphere than the actual person and I'd have picked it up as well :)

My Crafty Home-Life said...

It begs the question, what do you think she is thinking? Makes you think!

Allison Egan said...

So beautiful - I love the colors in the portrait. Amazing job - you are so talented!

xo Allison
Spicer + Bank
www.spicerandbank.blogspot.com

bryn alexandra interiors said...

Beautiful!! I have a handful of portraits and they are so special to me because my great-grandmother painted them. I really, really want to start painting (just for fun) because my great-grandmother and my grandmother did and I love having their pieces in my home. But, as you say.. it takes time!

HannahJ said...

Nice job- I like the character that an oldportait adds to a space- and it looks great on your wall in combination with the modern button piece!

rubi said...

...and that's why you're successful at what you do. GENIUS!

Maggie said...

This is such a beautiful painting and you did na excellent job at restoring it to the previous glory:) If I had it in my home I couldn't helo but wonder who is this woman and what is her story:) lovely find!

Emily said...

What a great idea :) I spot portraits like this all the time at Goodwill & thrift stores but never thought to touch them up myself. If nothing else it would make great practice for using paints. Thanks for sharing!

LindsB said...

She has her clothes back on! haha, love what you did to her- an easy fix for a beautiful woman!

My Interior Life said...

This post is so timely for me because I just picked up a couple of vintage paintings at estate sales that need some "work." Time to break out the oil paint. I actually like vintage portraits - I have one of a rather proper lady who looks like she stepped right out of Peyton Place. Love it. I just tell people it's my Great Aunt Mayme.

Ashley said...

A beauty like that deserves some TLC, and what a difference it has made! Lovely!

Sam, Leave The Nest Up To Me said...

I love the rich colors used in the portrait. Kudos to you for being able to fix it!

Kelly@Bungalow Blue said...

You can't even tell you touched it up-great job!

bazaarofserendipity said...

Woah it looks soo amazing! You cant even tell!

Marivic said...

I love this painting! Love more that you got it for such a price, and then restored it yourself, making it your "own". Congrats. I want to buy amateur discards too! :)

Unknown said...

My friend runs an art studio on the UWS- The Art Studio NY.
http://www.rebeccarts.com/pages/aboutartstudio.html

Britt @ Dreamy Spaces said...

Very cool painting! Doesn't even seem like too hard of a fix. As long as you get just the right colors! But certainly is a fab painting and would be a shame not to hang! Cool fix!

courtneyoutloud said...

That is awesome! I personally love the character that vintage paintins/portraits bring in. I choose them based on if they remind me of someone I know and love. The two I own, are awesome and I love them to death.

blue chickadee said...

What a steal! You did a fantastic job touching her up. I'm with you on thinking it's odd having "strangers" hang on your walls but sometimes you find something that just speaks to you! Love the colors in the portrait!

Smith And Ratliff said...

You make it look so easy! I'm sure I'd mess it up even more.

Sarah said...

It looks great -especially on that gallery wall! Good luck with finding a portrait class. I studied art at BYU, but never got around to taking a portrait class and now I wish I had. I tried painting my baby girl earlier this year, (http://greenbluebirds.blogspot.com/2011/04/finished.html) but I feel like it's pretty amateurish looking. There's a lot more I could learn! Maybe someday I'll take a class too.

The Smiths in NYC said...

check out Chris Anderson, she gives private lessons and has an amazing studio. my four year old loves their lessons together. just google Chris Anderson NYC and you will find her and her studio.

colleen said...

I've been dying to try a watercolors class at the brooklyn botanical garden. They have a ton of different classes!
http://www.bbg.org/learn/classes/

Kahli said...

That was an absolute steal! Great job on touching up. I can't even tell the difference!

Allison said...

love this portrait & your touch up.

I took oil painting at the 92nd St Y. Loved it. :)

style-for-style said...

Yowza, this is beautiful!!! great touch up job, I tried that awhile back and failed miserably

Kathleen said...

Job well done. What a deal that was! And in NY of all places!

christine {bijouandboheme} said...

She's so lovely and I adore the fact that you just restored it yourself- so fabulous!!!

Bethany said...

This is such a fantastic idea! What an easy (and inexpensive) way to add some color to your walls :)

Linda@ Lime in the Coconut said...

Ahhh. You are hooked. Now you need to give her a name. Seriously. That is what I do. Art is all about soul. Not pedigree.

Great fix. too!

Linzy said...

I'm so glad that you gave her a new life! And thank you, I mean really THANK YOU, for adding the bit about professional restoration. I work part time for an art conservator and I can attest to the importance of the right materials and training for valuable artwork. But for that sweet lady with a chip off her shoulder? Bravo!

a little sewing said...

very nice results, I like her.
Gosh a painting class would be so amazing. I hope you get to do it.

N said...

Gee! Is there anything you can't do? I think you are best at inspiring tho!

Luna said...

Now that's a bargain. I've bought so many paintings and prints from op shops, people ask if they're inherited! Well done.

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