You never know what you’ll find at an estate sale, especially one of an artist.
It’s fascinating to see how artists lived and worked and what they’ve left behind, objects too curious or inspiring to throw out, books they’ve read, souvenirs from trips they took, art left unfinished or unclaimed. It’s actually very comforting when I see the tell tale signs of a life filled with inspiration, travel and engaging work.
Objects I collect from these artists hold a special significance for me.
A four inch turquoise cross cast in resin by a San Jose man who collected and polished natural stones.
A 16 x 20 inch palette knife seascape, oil on canvas marked Cincota from the estate of an unknown Los Gatos artist.
A book worm infested volume of Seed by Charles G. Norris, about the early agricultural days of our valley – artistically eaten away.
I love how some passages are gone for ever while others are revealed.
A collection of small sample prints of an abandoned house and a field of flowers by the same unknown Los Gatos artist.
A vintage scapular of our Lady of Mt Carmel from her collection.
A pile of abalone shells used to decorate San Jose artist, Flo Hopkins Gray’s garden, which I use as bowls in my studio.
A painting of violets by Florence (Flo) Hopkins Gray, oil on linen, 10 x 8 inches who was a very prolific San Jose painter.
The day I went to her estate sale I was overwhelmed by room after room of her work, as well as the art in the garage and the overflow into the garden! I was impressed with the quantity as well as the quality of her work which she largely did in the sixties and seventies. I remember I was wearing a green mohair sweater, one my Grandma Ruth had made for my father, and I fell in love with this little painting that seemed to match me and my love of violets. I was honored to have a piece of Flo’s work and it sits on my mantle where I can see it all the time and it reminds me to keep painting and carving out that life I love.
One day this will be me. What will I leave behind for strangers to sift through? I wonder what will they make of my bits of detritus, my treasure?