A Lucky Find…Or Was It?

by Sherry
Last week while out running some errands I pulled into a parking space at a local store.  There
was a truck parked next to me full of junk that looked like he was on the way
to the dump.
Among the junk I could see the top half of a very large painting.  It was a portrait of a man and all
that was visible above the junk were his eyes.  There was something about those eyes that just

drew me in and I really wanted to get a better look at the painting.


I waited patiently for the owner to return and I asked if he was interested in selling the painting.
 There was a little bit of a language barrier but when he realized what I was asking he jumped on
the back of the truck and handed me the large painting.  It stands over five feet tall and four
feet wide. I asked how much he wanted for it and he told me
I could have it.  
I couldn’t just take the painting and not give him anything so I reached in my wallet and saw I only
had three dollars cash left.  He kept insisting he didn’t want money and for me to just take the
painting.  I believe he finally took the three dollars just to get away from me!

I couldn’t wait to get home and show my husband my newest purchase and guess what….
He hated it!  

You may remember this post about the Chromolithograph I purchased that he thought was just
weird. That piece now hangs in our dining room and it is one of my favorite things in our home.

My new painting has been leaning on top of the console for a week and I stop and look at it every time I walk by. The eyes show a vulnerability and sadness that really appeals to me.
Before I show you my painting here are some examples I found of decorating
with vintage portraits.
Country Living
I need your totally honest opinion with no sugar coating.
Is he a keeper or would I have been better off spending the $3.00 on a
diet coke and candy bar?
Here is the portrait of my instant relative, Joe.


Be honest and tell me what you think.

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Courtney ~ French Country Cottage November 29, 2011 - 6:21 am

Definitely a keeper!! A soulful painting for sure! 🙂

Cross Stitch Crazy Mum November 29, 2011 - 6:22 am

wow that painting looks like it has some history as its a real different period look. I dont know where you'll display it but your right about the eyes. I love all the other examples. Good find 🙂

Joanne Kennedy November 29, 2011 - 6:31 am

I think if you like it then it's worth your money. Personally, I wouldn't want pictures of strangers hanging on my wall but that's me. So to me, I would go for the coke and candy bar 🙂 but since you like it, I think you got a bargin.

Tardevil November 29, 2011 - 6:33 am

I kind of like him. He looks pretty happy. The thing I find interesting about it is that his face looks very young, but his hair ages him to say 50-ish…at least I think it's a 'he'. 😉

Charm Bracelet Diva November 29, 2011 - 6:38 am

I can see why you were enamored by those eyes! My first reaction was a bit spooked out (sorry!) but the more I look at him I can see a very soulful (is that even a word?) man, I think. I'd say it's your call. And only $3.00! This one belongs over at my Club G.W. party going on right now!


Traci November 29, 2011 - 6:44 am

I don't usually like vintage portrait paintings but I like this one. I like the colors and the texture and it looks great. I would keep it, honest, no sugar coating.

A Few Pennies November 29, 2011 - 6:47 am

I like your painting; but, looks like an elderly lady to me–it's the softness of they eyes and hairline maybe–I don't know–but, I like it! Great buy for $3.00.

[email protected] Charm November 29, 2011 - 8:03 am

Hello Sherry,
So happy to see you and JOE here at my NIFTY THRIFTY TUESDAY PARTY…it was so nice of you to bring a new friend along with you:) Now I like Joe and think he looks stunning in your home…a real keeper.


gardengate November 29, 2011 - 8:11 am

Sherry, Are you sure its a "Joe" and not a "Joanne"? The face looks feminine to me? But, aside from that I love using these kinds of paintings! I think they are cool and its fun to have a relative around! I love your blog! You are so inspirational and talented! I know you will make the right choice! Have a Merry Christmas!!

Honey at 2805 November 29, 2011 - 8:17 am

Absolutely a keeper! An amazing $3 purchase!

beverly h November 29, 2011 - 8:19 am

I love the portrait, only I think it's of JosephINE. Something about the collar and the hair… it really looks like a casual woman to me. Anyway, I would have bought it, too. Such a kind face.

Anonymous November 29, 2011 - 8:43 am



Sibel November 29, 2011 - 9:28 am

I think it's lovely, and a piece of art. Of course the best part is getting it for free really!

Suzan November 29, 2011 - 9:45 am

"Joe" looks like an elderly woman to me and not a man at all! I think he/she is charming. I would certainly understand if your husband wouldn't want a guest in your bedroom but think Joe could easily be incorporated into your decor. If spending $3 for it made you happy then it was money well spent!

sissie November 29, 2011 - 10:25 am

Hi Sherry,
I see what you mean about the eyes. They are unusual. I'm not sure if I like it for my own personal style and decor. It looks pretty the way you have it displayed but Mr. Sissie would probably would not like it at all. He isn't big on portraits of "unknown" relatives.
I'm a true believer that if it makes you happy and you like it, then that's all that matters.


Rose H (UK) November 29, 2011 - 10:27 am

Wow Sherry, I love it – though I think it's of a woman. To me it looks as if she's looking whistfully back to something/someone/somewhere she loves but is leaving. I'd certainly be hanging it in MY home even is OH didn't like it!
Wish I lived on the same continent, I'd have it off you ;o)
Rose H

Derenda November 29, 2011 - 10:33 am

I love Joe, but he/she looks more like someone's grandmother. Could it be? I am sure you can see more detail. It is some thing about the hairstyle and the face shape.
The eyes are definitely enchanting and kind.
It really doesn't matter what we see in art, only how it makes us feel. Joe or Jo? 🙂

[email protected] November 29, 2011 - 11:45 am

Morning Sherry. So you named him Joe, huh? I love to name things too. I don't see a thing wrong with him. What does hubby not like about him? Still, for $3.00, I'm sure you can find something to do with him. I say it's a good find.

Wendy @HerBallistic Garden November 29, 2011 - 10:59 am

I kinda like it, but "Joe?"…isn't it a woman? I'm lost…I better go back and reread…and it's funny, but the eyes look completely different from what I thought the rest of the face would look like.
Loved the story though…moments!

Wendy @HerBallistic Garden November 29, 2011 - 11:02 am

yup…pretty sure it's a woman…the shoulders seem frailer than what a man should have and the hair looks like that of an older woman with the eyes of someone who's lived. The more I look at it, the more I like it.

Jubilee November 29, 2011 - 11:56 am

That's not Joe, that's Josephine and I think she should become a member of your family.

Youaretalkingtoomuch.com November 29, 2011 - 12:13 pm

I LOVE it! But I don't see Joe……I see Jill. A soft, warm, tomboy-ish grandmother. I would love for my readers to meet you! We have a "Meet Me Monday" linky party and I would love for them to help you decide. Either way, I have subscribed to your emails and am enjoying your blog! Love, Me http://www.youaretalkingtoomuch.com

Kelsie From Our Country Home November 29, 2011 - 12:17 pm

I like the muted tones and the composition though not overly exciting is pleasing and balanced…I think the face has a feminine quality, and definitely has a sadness and vulnerable look to the expression, almost like the subject would prefer not to be sitting for the artist but to escape into the background and go about their daily works.

I am not convinced it is a male subject, but perhaps are life worn older woman…I think Joe was a lovely find and a bargin at that price.

Blessings Kelsie

Hartwood Roses November 29, 2011 - 12:20 pm

I like it, Sherry … no sugar coating necessary. It looks like a woman to me, tho.

Pattie November 29, 2011 - 12:31 pm

OK Sherry, I kinda of like Her that's not a guy It looks like a lady to me.
But anyway I do like it.. Just think you saved yourself 480 calories..LOL

Cindy November 29, 2011 - 12:32 pm

Oh my Sherry! Definately a KEEPER! She was a great find and I think she looks like such a warm soul. Beautiful picture and the colors are perfect for your vignette! He'll begin to like her in time…she's a keeper! (or you can send her to me! :O )

Ruthie November 29, 2011 - 12:46 pm

I think Joe is a Jo …. as in JoAnn or Joan. The person looks like a female to me.
I think anything that is an actual painting is something worth keeping. With graphics technology as advanced as it is today, actual hand paintings seem even more special ; )

Tracey November 29, 2011 - 12:52 pm

I have to agree.. I think it's a woman..I love the painting, but the hair looks like it's in a top bun and the person looks feminine. Great find and love the vintage look!!

[email protected] Porch Musings November 29, 2011 - 12:55 pm

I love it!!

Gina November 29, 2011 - 1:02 pm

Honestly, I don't hate it. I think it was $3.00 well spent!

Pam November 29, 2011 - 1:13 pm

Now I'm feeling sorry for Joe. Either she is a masculine looking Grandma or a feminine looking younger guy and I'm not sure which. Maybe that's why the painting ended up in the trash. Joe didn't like how the painter had portrayed her/him. Can't beat it for the price though!

Laura @ 52 FLEA November 29, 2011 - 1:16 pm

SHE is lovely and is a definite keeper! 🙂

Kelly November 29, 2011 - 1:20 pm

I actually like it very much! The colors are very pretty and I like how it's sort of muted looking. I think you did good. I can't believe that someone was going to just throw that away! Surely not! I would like to think he was at least going to be donated to Goodwill or something. I say keep it and your husband will adjust. Ha!

Rebecca November 29, 2011 - 1:29 pm

Amazing! The size, the subject, the story…

Mosaic Diva November 29, 2011 - 1:35 pm

I agree with some of the others. I think he is a she. A very soulful painting, full of grace, dignity and peace.

[email protected] The Vintage Nest November 29, 2011 - 1:50 pm

Is it Joe or Jo-Anne? It truly is a beautiful painting and I love the colors. But, in all honesty, I am not a fan of unknown people portraits in my home. Would rather have my own crazy family members hanging on my walls. xoxoxo P.S. Just read some comments before posting mine and it seems others think it might be a lady too.

The Pennington Point November 29, 2011 - 1:51 pm

Well I was going to say it looks like a woman, but I see it has already been said. Hmmm….I'm kind of opposed to pictures of strangers on my walls like some of the other commenters have said, but Joe/Jo is nice and I like the colors. Maybe in the right spot it would work. I definitely would have paid $3 for it. That can't be beat! Lisa~

24/7 MOMS November 29, 2011 - 1:55 pm

I will give you $50 for it!!! that is my vote!, and I agree looks more like a woman, which I like…keeps you guessing about this person.

[email protected] November 29, 2011 - 2:04 pm

Well, if you like it, that's all that matters. But would I use it? No. But honestly, I don't hate it 😉

[email protected] Sentimental Life November 29, 2011 - 2:17 pm

My first thought was what a sweet face…I think it is a woman. Reminds me a little of Katherine Hepburn. KEEP IT!

Starr @ The Kiefer Cottage November 29, 2011 - 2:26 pm

I grew up in a house where my mom got paintings out of trash piles–this one would've fit right in! I agree that this is a lady.

Marigene November 29, 2011 - 2:29 pm

Beautiful painting, I also think it is a mature woman…there are no shadows where facial hair would be on a gentleman. Gender really doesn't matter, it is a beautifully painted portrait…yes, I would have bought it. Can't wait to see where you hang the painting.

Karen November 29, 2011 - 2:39 pm

I think "he" looks like a "she". 🙂 Either way the painting is well done and the only issue would be the size. If you have a spot for him/her, and you can convince your husband that he/she is worth the wall space, then I say go for it if you love it.

Steph November 29, 2011 - 2:41 pm

I like it!

adventuresindinner November 29, 2011 - 2:46 pm

I love it and I also know my husband would hate it.

I'm thinking she's a Joan or a Shirley.

Kim November 29, 2011 - 3:04 pm

I love it!! And agree with others…I think "he" looks more like a "she". But it's a beautiful painting! Great find!

Jacqueline~Cabin and Cottage November 29, 2011 - 3:21 pm

I love old portraits and regret having sold a couple of them. I'm attracted to this one too, and I would have rescued it. I'm seeing a woman with those expressive eyes.

Tricia November 29, 2011 - 3:25 pm

Oh, I think it's a beautiful painting. In my eyes, it's a woman though 🙂

Sandy Nelson November 29, 2011 - 3:47 pm

As an artist who does lots of portraits, I agree….this is an older woman. The lighter brow ridge, no beard shadow, softness of the lips ….everything says female to my eye…including her clothing. I'm guessing this is an oil on canvas done by a fairly amateur artist, but one with training under their belt…perhaps a student piece from the model. It shows a lot of talent, especially in the expression and loose treatment. If it's unsigned, it may be a student piece…or unfinished. I would guess it's 50-60 years old. You got a great find! If you love it and want to live with it…then it's a masterpiece!

Donna in Potomac November 29, 2011 - 4:04 pm

Joe is definitely a Jo 🙂 and as I scrolled down all the portrait vignettes, I was pleasantly surprised by yours. The colors have a weathered softness, like her face. I wonder if you'll like it even more as you age gracefully. Keeper!

Linda @ A La Carte November 29, 2011 - 4:26 pm

I think it is very interesting and I love the way you have it displayed. The eyes are amazing. hugs, Linda

Savvy Seasons November 29, 2011 - 4:31 pm

Very nice Sherry, I like it very much. =)

Also, thank you so much for your comments on my blog posts. I have been so busy that I have been terrible responding…blush! 😉

Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! xoxo ~Liz

SavannahGranny November 29, 2011 - 4:35 pm

Oh, I love Joe! Keeper definitely.

sydney85 November 29, 2011 - 4:37 pm

I like your picture very much. Her face looks very wise and charming. You noticed I said "her".

Deserae November 29, 2011 - 4:40 pm

You found a treasure for sure…I love the colors! I think it looks like a woman too though! LOL

ℳartina @ Northern Nesting November 29, 2011 - 4:52 pm

Sherry he is definitely a keeper!! I love how you displayed him too! Martina

Hanneke November 29, 2011 - 5:02 pm

You are a Kindred Spirit…I would have done the exact same thing. I do believe it is a painting of a woman…European. So typical of older women…healthy complexion, minus make-up. You saved her from being dumped. It's a beautiful keeper.


Anonymous November 29, 2011 - 5:08 pm

Love it so I think it's a keeper. I do think it's a Joanne rather than a Joe!

Patricia November 29, 2011 - 5:21 pm

"Soulful" is a perfect word ! The painting is absolutely beautiful, and I would have jumped on it !

I also feel your Joe might be a JoAnn though !!

Low Tide High Style November 29, 2011 - 5:24 pm

Hi Sherry, I love it, but agree that it's likely a painting of a woman. This will make a great story when you take it to the Antique's Road Show one day and find out it's worth millions!

Kat 🙂

Paulette, Jvona & Rachel November 29, 2011 - 6:04 pm

I love the painting. It was very well done and I want to KNOW that person. I'd like to learn her ( I think she looks like a kindly grandma) story. A great find.

Mindi November 29, 2011 - 6:20 pm

I agree with some of the others. My instant thought was that it was of a woman. I think its the mouth, hairstyle and the way she is looking back over her shoulder. It is a great painting though. Good find!

NauticalCottageBlog.com November 29, 2011 - 6:39 pm

Joe has the most honest and soulful eyes I've ever seen.

[email protected] November 29, 2011 - 7:43 pm

I like it! And I think Joe might be a lady.

Definitely worth more than $3!

Great find.

Happy Cottage Quilter November 29, 2011 - 9:47 pm

I agree with Gardengate, I think this portrait is a lady. As a matter of fact she looks like a Babushka, someone's grandmother. Whatever you decide, you have to love the painting. It's kind of sad that someone got rid of this painting of a loved one.

Jocelyn @

Sheila November 29, 2011 - 10:59 pm

Your husband must have no taste…Well, he married you so he must have HAD some, once! lol. Anyway, Joe is definately a keeper well worth $3. GREAT FIND!!

Anita @ Cedar Hill Ranch November 30, 2011 - 12:42 am

A woman for sure. She may not be happy to find that she is sporting a mustache, but I won't tell her.

Kim @ Savvy Southern Style November 30, 2011 - 1:16 am

Sherry, I love it!!! I would have asked if he was selling it too. I had one on ebay that I was watching, but did not purchase it.It was a portrait of an old man and there was just something mesmerizing about it. I wish I had not let it go.

Lou Cinda @ Tattered Hydrangeas November 30, 2011 - 1:20 am

A KEEPER!! I love him/her…is it signed? I truly think it is beautiful and looks fabulous in your home….love it!

Lou Cinda

WhyCuzICan November 30, 2011 - 1:50 am

Keep her and ditch him if need be :j/k:

Really, it's a sweet portrait 😀

Visiting form Wow Us Wednesday at Savvy Southern Style tonight,
Suzanne in NW Illinois

❀ⒹⒺⒺ❀@ A Lapin Life November 30, 2011 - 2:19 am

I think it's one cool looking painting.
Painting eyes is the hardest thing to do. The artist had a real talent.


Erin November 30, 2011 - 2:58 am

Definitely a keeper! I'm so glad you saved it from the dump! That would have been a shame.

lvroftiques November 30, 2011 - 3:20 am

Well it's easily worth the $3 you paid and a BIG one too!*winks* And I think she's a Joanne. Def not a dude lol! Vanna

Antique ART Garden November 30, 2011 - 1:29 pm

Your he is a she. I sell vintage portraits online, lots of them. This one is ok, eyes are soft and kind, but not so well done. Worth 3.00 no doubt. I personally woulnd'nt hang her in the dining room, but it is up to you completely. Fun find, Ginahttp://stores.ebay.com/Antique-ART-Garden

Bonnie November 30, 2011 - 10:26 pm

It does draw you in. You never know you may find out more about the portrait.

I am having a giveaway. It is a wonderful book by James Farmer recently on the
Today Show. Come by and register.

Pamela December 1, 2011 - 12:06 am

Sherry thanx for bringing Joe to the party. He is um interesting. A definite conversation piece. I say if ya like um who cares what everybody else says! Keep him!

Sarah December 1, 2011 - 1:52 am

I say, keep him. This piece has charm.

The Vintage Chateau December 1, 2011 - 5:37 am

I actually think it's an awesome art piece, great expression, but I agree with some of the others, I think Joe may be Josephine! Keep her.

Ivy and Elephants December 1, 2011 - 6:03 pm

Hi Sherry, I love this painting and the story behind it. I love the name Joe because relative Joe can be male or female. Joe is a lovely person with warm eyes. Besides, the artist gave you a $297.00 discount. I would love for you to link this fabulous post to our newly launched linky party. Hope you can join us.


Kathy December 1, 2011 - 11:20 pm

Oh my gosh I love it ! I agree there is something about the eyes.-Wouldn't you love to know the story on the man?

kpaints December 5, 2011 - 6:17 pm

That's definitely a woman….love the emotions portrayed. I love art and you got a great buy…it calls for a special place…not really in the mainstream of the house At least for me. Craft room?


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