Sunday, February 13, 2011

Vintage Inspiration

I recently had the opportunity to make two vintage inspired pieces -- both very different in style, but such a joy to paint them both!

The first piece was for a terrific Etsy customer who wanted a fun vintage piece for her little girl's room.  Here is what we came up with:

Harper's painting is 24" x 30" and is so girly, fun, and full of fabulous polka dots! We don't have a lot of "girly" around the Murray house, so it was really a treat to do this project. 

The second piece is a 24" x 36" replica of a beautiful 1950's vintage French poster...

I only dream of a waistline like that motorbike girl!  Maybe I should lay off the Valentine's Day treats that are already appearing in our house.

This project was very special for me for two reasons.  First, I was honored to paint this for one of my oldest friends that I haven't seen in a decade... we started Daisy Girl Scouts together when we were five!  She and her husband really loved this vintage poster, so she surprised him with a replica of it for Valentine's Day.  She also has an incredible talent for photography if you happen to live in the LA area! check out her stuff 

The other special factor with this project is that it reminded me of my grandpa.  Grandpa Maeder raised his family in Hollywood and was a sign painter there.  With today's graphic design technology, it is hard to imagine the "art" of old fashioned sign painting that was needed in the early/mid 1900's.   Signs like these were all painted by hand:

This lost art involved a super steady hand and years of practice painting straight lines, perfect circles, etc.  Let me tell you, it's tough! Technology obviously has made this more of a nostolgic practice than a profession these days, but I still remember in the early 1980's, when I was very small, seeing my grandpa painting signs in his garage for some faithful clients who chose to have their signs fabricated the old fashioned way.   The lettering on the original "Favor" poster was most likely done this way too.

My hand is not as steady as Grandpa's was... so I will tell you that I cheated just a bit.  I taped off the straight edges on the letters and used some different sized plates from my kitchen to trace the "O" in FAVOR.  Then I took a tiny brush and smoothed out the edges where my hand shook a bit.  Makes me never want to take for granted the privilege of "ctrl P" available at my finger tips for perfectly printed letters! 


  1. I love this Harper painting! Now you are making want next baby's room to be vintage instead of ladybug. Ugh! Your paintings make my brain go crazy. This is a beautiful piece!

  2. Love the peonies piece. It turned out beautiful!