Thursday, June 5, 2014

Finding yard sale treasures

My dad is having a yard sale tomorrow. It is part of neighborhood-wide yard sale and it is his chance to clear out years of treasures that my mom crafted and collected. He has been going through the house room by room, moving items to the basement and then, recently, to the garage. Tomorrow morning at 6 a.m., he, along with some help from family and friends, will move the items out to the front yard.

He has generously offered any of the items to his four daughters and 11 grandchildren. I have tried hard not to bring home too many things as our home is about as full as I'd like it to be. But sometimes, I just can't resist. I was at Dad's house today, helping him get ready for the sale. My cousin Glenda had mentioned that she had seen a portrait of my mom in the basement that Glenda's father, Garnet Rinehart, had drawn in 1940, when my mom was only seven. I found it and fell in love with it.

I brought it home, cleaned up the glass, and hung it up in the upstairs bedroom. It's not that it is a particularly great piece of art, but it is a portrait of my mom as a child and it was created by my great-uncle, who was a sign painter by profession, a remarkable artist by avocation. The soft pastel drawing captures her clear blue eyes, the Peter Pan collar of her dress, the matching bow in her hair, and perhaps a hint of mischief in her smile. When my great-uncle retired from Rinehart Sign Company he gave me, an aspiring high-school artist, his drafting table and a container full of sign-painting brushes. It seemed only fitting to hang the portrait over Uncle Garnet's drafting table. 

While dismantling the drawing to clean the glass, I found two other pieces of art placed behind the portrait. I'm guessing they were also done by my great uncle, but no signature or date is to be found. I've rolled them up and placed them in an art tube to give back to Glenda. Here's a peek at them.

I feel like I've stumbled on some lost rare art – art that deserves to be displayed, admired and enjoyed. It may not be the $5 Andy Warhol find that turns out to be worth $2 million, but you never know what you might find at a yard sale... 

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