Goodwill Hunting For Fine Art

by Katy on October 2, 2019 · 15 comments

I stopped into one of my local Goodwill stores yesterday and my eye was immediately drawn to a number of still life and landscape paintings. Not museum level pieces, but still sweet, lovely and 1000% better than any big box/mass produced artwork. Priced from $2.99 to $4.99, each piece was an unmitigated bargain.

Seriously, how sweet is this little oil painting?

Mind you, my Goodwill art finds often resemble . . . let’s just say “less genteel” specimens:

Every now and then a news story hits of a lucky thrift store shopper who happened upon some priceless painting, which always makes me wonder how many masterpieces have escaped my attention.

Perhaps this embroidered pilgrim?

Or these bunny-loving babes?

Of course, much Goodwill art falls between the extremes of Picasso and ridiculous, and I’ve purchased countless wonderful pieces of artwork through the years, both to keep and to sell.

I picked up this lovely Columbia Gorge landscape recently, and was so charmed that it now adorns the wall in our spare bedroom. I think I paid $4.99.

I also nabbed this serene mountain landscape:

As well as this sweet oval painting:

So as much as you may think that Goodwill artwork leans more towards “Raggedy Anne and Andy against a burlap background.”

There will always be wonderful artwork hidden on those Goodwill shelf.

As long as you’re willing to look behind the scary stuff.

Want to know more about Goodwill Industries of the Columbia Willamette? Check out, and to learn more about the important services that they provide for our community.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Karen B October 2, 2019 at 11:20 am

I think that scary face with the 3D hair could be turned into an awesome Halloween decoration. Imagine opening a cupboard and she is staring out at you!


Kathy G October 2, 2019 at 11:52 am

I actually have that first painting (but with a different frame) in my house! Can’t remember how much I paid for it, but I bought it a couple of decades ago at a consignment shop.


Angela @ Tread Lightly Retire Early October 2, 2019 at 12:06 pm

Yikes, that second one!

I love the idea of putting up more artwork in our home, but I’ve come to terms with the fact that at least for now, that hasn’t been a priority for me. So instead I’ll live vicariously through people like you who are much better at it 🙂


Reese October 3, 2019 at 1:34 pm

I have a rule with art or paintings or wall decor: if I LOVE the piece, regardless of where I am or knowing where I’ll put it, I buy it. Because pieces you love make their way on to your walls. Over time, after you’ve collected a handful of pieces you LOVE…they just all go with each other. Theme is OMGITSMINE. I’m no good at collecting one particular artist, or style, or keeping an eye out for XYZ. If it’s good, I love it, and I can afford it (very important!), I’ll buy. I’ve never regretted any of the pieces I now own!


A. Marie October 2, 2019 at 12:14 pm

Like Angela, I’m not hugely into acquiring artwork. But you go, girl! I especially like the painting of the Columbia River Gorge. (We saw the Gorge when DH and I were in your area for a Literary Society conference nine years ago, back when we could still travel.)

Also, I fondly recall a discussion in my local Salvation Army superstore about 15 years ago when one shopper was telling a fascinated crowd of others that she had acquired *the,* not a copy of, the Mona Lisa at a garage sale.

And does anyone else who’s old enough to remember “Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In” on TV agree that Katy’s “less genteel” portrait may be a painting of Tiny Tim, of “Tiptoe Through the Tulips” fame?


Marion October 3, 2019 at 9:32 am

Definitely Tiny Tim. Let’s all tiptoe through the tulips, shall we?


Bee October 2, 2019 at 4:01 pm

Estate, garage, and church sales along with auctions and thrift stores are wonderful places to find art of all types and styles. It is one of my favorite things to look for. I have original art everywhere. Now, if I can just unearth an authentic Ansel Adams…


Kim October 3, 2019 at 12:23 pm

I keep looking for a Picasso hidden on the bottom shelf of every thrift store i visit.


K D October 3, 2019 at 12:28 pm

A few months ago I needed a frame for a matted watercolor a friend gave me. It was an unusual size so I didn’t have one sitting around the house. We went to a thrift store and the first picture I picked up had the right size frame. The print contained in the frame was nothing to write home about so it was recycled. I have often noticed gorgeous frames on thrift store artwork.


Katy October 4, 2019 at 8:53 am

So true, you can score great frames for almost nothing.


AuntiAli October 3, 2019 at 2:39 pm

I have no paintings in my house. On my walls are family photos, mostly candid shots, and framed artwork from when the kids were little.


Dusty October 4, 2019 at 7:24 am

My mother in law had Asian masks that my father in law picked up in Japan in the 1940s….they were scary…made with real human hair…yikes….when they passed i sold masks on eBay….believe it ir not people collect them….can’t remember exact amt i sold them for but i was shocked….they gave me the creeps


Linda October 5, 2019 at 6:18 pm

I have 3 amateur artist paintings that I love all found second hand. Recently I got a large watercolor that hangs above my fireplace from my Buy Nothing Group. It has a $350 art gallery price tag on the back. For $7.99 (I thought it was high, but I liked it) I picked up a mountain scene water color. When I got home I googled the artist name & saw his work selling for hundreds. Besides these pieces of true art work my home is decorated with lots of framed prints all second hand.


Katy October 6, 2019 at 9:51 pm

Sounds lovely!


Stephanie StAmand December 7, 2019 at 8:00 am

I used to own that first painting with that exact frame. Feel like I sold it at a yard sale. I bought it in Germany.


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