~ vintage art of canvas portrait – the flea market relaxed style ~



Hunting and gathering one day up around where I grew up not far from Leasingham, I found this oil on canvas in a little store in Mintaro. Historic and quaint is the little village of Mintaro nestled between Clare, Burra and Watervale. It is also home to the English Georgian mansion Martindale Hall used as the school in the iconic Australian film,’Picnic at Hanging Rock’.

Mintaro is not to be missed for its history and real sense of living in times past. Yes, it’s like going back in time. Seriously. There are things like delightful historic buildings, the Mintaro slate quarries (who hasn’t heard of Mintaro slate?), bed and breakfast accommodations, the Mintaro Maze, Reilly’s Restaurant and of course ‘The Magpie and Stump’ – the towns historic pub. There are various wineries close to the town usually with cellar door outlets for tastings. The town is but a short drive from Auburn, Clare and Burra and about an hour from the Barossa Valley.




It’s a town you want to stay awhile, makes you slow down, soak up the feel, the atmosphere and history.








The art work: Being a vintage portrait on canvas with the typical shabby character of age and pre-love, it caught my roving eye immediately. Whether the person being painted is pretty or ugly or classic or beautiful and so forth is not my concern in these portraits. The artist portrays the model as he/she interprets. Feels. Sees. It’s how the artist observes and experiences the subject, the artist’s aesthetic understanding.

These old oils come to me as originals. As is. And stay that way. Tattered. Drab. Dark muted tones of old oils. Beautiful. Made by hand. It’s these sorts of attributes, the sincerity and honesty of the artist that reaches me and gives these vintage art works their aesthetic value.





Use of various colours – pinks, maroons, burgundies, ochres, blues, creams, greens, yellows, browns, white worked together, blended with shading.


I’m most comfortable with a casual flea market relaxed style. No prim and proper or elegant and formal or rigid or predictable for me. Of course I love the decor when I see it and it is beautiful in the right setting, done properly, but not for me and most certainly wouldn’t work here in our house! None of that suits an eclectic non minimalist!






Lots of texture in this piece of vintage art not unlike I the piece in this earlier post about another vintage oil on canvas portit. Perhaps a light handed impasto technique showing brush and knife work.

Then, what would I know? I’m not an artist or a painter. I’m might be old but I’m not dumb. I can see and feel. The thickness of the paint reminds me of Van Gogh’s use of the thick impasto technique. Anyway, its all personal.









Texture. Thick paint. Impasto. Brush. Pallet knife work for relief, texture, interest. The three dimensional effect.




I continue to get further away from the usual painter’s tools such as easel, palette, brushes, etc. I prefer sticks, trowels, knives and dripping fluid paint or a heavy impasto with sand, broken glass or other foreign matter added.  JACKSON POLLOCK




Texture. Relief.  Colours mixed and merged.










In fine art, the Italian word ‘Impasto’ (dough or paste) denotes a painting technique in which undiluted paint is applied so thickly (like toothpaste) onto the canvas or panel (often with a palette knife) that it stands out from the surface. When using this impasto technique, the artist often mixes paint on the canvas itself to achieve the required colour. 

Oil painting is most suited to the impasto method, due to the viscosity of oils, their thickness and slow drying time, although acrylic paint or even gouache can be applied in the impasto style. Tempera is too thin to be impastoed without adding bulking or thickening agents (eg. Aquapasto™   IMPASTO TECHNIQUE



So, I wonder who created this work? There are no identifying notations on the front or the back.




Who is she? Is the hat significant? Is she in uniform? Or simply wearing a beret, a pill box type hat.




Hair given texture with various thickness of paint, use of brush, knife and maybe other items like sticks and paddles.


What sort of mood, a look is the madam displaying?  Is she pensive, unsure, apprehensive, nervous, sad, bored, accepting, matter of fact, snobby, smarting, sulking, pouting?



Like old oil paintings on canvas it has the sort of drab, faded hues that I love, aged character from wear, use and display. From pre-love. Has the real earthy feel to it. That one of a kind.





The canvas is loosely tacked to the wood frame not unusual for older canvas artwork. You can see the rusty flat head nails here. Nowadays it’s often stapled.


Easy to hang from the wood frame. Lightweight.



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