Style Court

Textiles, Art History, Gardens, and a Little Mental Traveling with Courtney Barnes 2006-2016



A few weeks ago when Charleston-based designer Angie Hranowasky shared her thoughts on collecting art, her views really resonated with readers. Angie explained that she is open to all possibilities, whether it's original art from a street vendor or an established gallery. So, continuing with the optimistic spring fever theme, I'm highlighting one of Benton Weinstock's Long Beach flea market finds -- a $30 botanical painting.

Benton's house, decorated by Ruthie Sommers, could hardly be described as a small budget project, but Benton and Ruthie didn't limit themselves to pedigreed pieces. When House Beautiful featured the Los Angeles home in September 2005, the painting was even mentioned in the story and Ruthie noted that Benton is not one to think "expensive equals better". Personally, whenever I see decorators mix critically acclaimed art with unknown works, it helps me feel more confident combining $15 finds (admittedly rare) with a piece I waited five years to buy.

Throughout the spring most towns have more student art shows or community fairs than any other time of year. It's a great time to check your local newspaper for events. Art schools such as SCAD usually post a seasonal calendar of events too, so those are worth a look. You never know what affordable treasure awaits.

Some of photographer Adela Holmes' work is available in the SCAD shop, most of it priced under $100. Holmes received her BFA in interior design from Savannah College of Art and Design in 1997, and she began experimenting with her camera after a six-year career as a designer.
This upcoming student show at SCAD, Savannah campus, sounds great:
14th Annual Bridge Exhibition
March 19-April 1, 2009
For the show, students have produced works in a ten-week study of Chinese painting. Traditional Chinese techniques are used, and students take on traditional subjects from a contemporary viewpoint.

BTW: You may have noticed a link to celebrated Mississippi-born artist Andrew Bucci's work in the ever-rotating "Made Me Smile" sidebar. He is represented at Cole Pratt -- not a flea market by any means, but some of the works on paper are accessibly priced in comparison to other large oils on linen. Bucci's work is terrific. His untitled watercolor and charcoal pencil on paper, above, happens to belong to the Ogden. Click here to learn more about the artist.

HB photography by Jeremy Samuelson


Jessica said...

I remember reading this when it first appeared a few years ago in the magazine and I just wanted to say that the flower is not a dogwood but rather a magnolia flower. The magazine never corrected that snippet f info even though many readers wrote in about it. Just my 2 your blog!!

Style Court said...

Hi Jessica -- it looks like a magnolia to me too! Wasn't sure if they meant some sort of overblown dogwood close-up, but it looks just like magnolia :)

Things That Inspire said...

I started my art collection at the Long Beach flea market almost 15 years ago - there was a dealer there who sold 'original oil' paintings for very reasonable prices. The kind of paintings I bought are common on ebay these days, but back then were not as ubiquitous as they are now. I doubt Benton's find was from the same kind of dealer - it looks more one of a kind and unique.

I have since given away my Long Beach flea market finds and replaced them with original art from Southeast artists, but your post brought back some good memories! I enjoyed my flea market art when I was just starting out, and my brother still has some of the paintings in his bachelor pad.

Style Court said...

Hi Things that Inspire -- what a coincidence!

I think you raise a good point about hunting for something unique that really speaks to you personally. It makes all the difference at a flea market. I like the bold graphic quality of Benton's. And changing the frame is always an option :)

GrannySmithGreen said...

Beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder. It really doesn't matter at all what a piece costs or what the critics say. "Does it make you happy? Do you like it?" That's all that matters.