I love creepy!

Have you seen HGTV's new show Secrets from a Stylist? Its hosted by Emily Henderson, winner of this year's Design Star competition, but more importantly author of a fabulous blog, A Brass Petal. Go read it and you'll wish she were your gal pal.

Her show was great - quite a bit different from standard HGTV "paint it beige" fair. If you haven't seen it yet, you should go to your tv guide and find one of the bazillion re-airings. I hope HGTV gets smart and orders a bunch more episodes stat.

But why am I mentioning it? Its because of this amaaaazzing oil portrait she included in her room design.

This is the best photo I could find but you can clearly see it in all its glory.

I.LOVE.IT! I want it. My love for creepy oil paintings knows no bounds. If you've been following my blog for a while, this is nothing new. As evidenced by my own mini collection of creepy old art. For your enjoyment: my scary girl in the woods passed down by my father, my scary old lady (known to us as "grandma") given to me by Mr. L and a few smaller random portraits in a gallery wall.


And while I love what I have, I wouldn't mind stumbling upon something as striking as gorgeous as what Emily managed to locate. I've never seen anything like that unless it was really expensive. I guess thats one of the many reasons she has a show and I don't - she knows stuff!

But why have the decor gods forsaken me? I want to stumble on these awesome finds (at affordable prices) too! Am I looking in the wrong places?

Some other examples of found on the web

photo credits: making arrangements, sfgirlbybay, my sweet savanah

Ok so spill the beans people. Is there a secret warehouse that you can tip me off to? Do you have any spooky art that holds a special place in your heart? I'd love to see. (And don't forget to share where you found it!)


  1. Sometimes, art pieces just speak to you. I have a few of folk I don't know myself.

  2. I absolutely love the first photo of the room design. I agree that the oil painting gives the room some personality!

  3. I love Creepy too! And I am so on Team Emily!
    Check out my post on Kellie and Marc if you want to see more photos of lady portraits.
    xo xo


  4. I wonder if you'd like the portrait of My Favorite Rat: http://cabinonthewater.blogspot.com/2009/09/my-favorite-rat.html ? She is a giant hampster, with a lemon, and her red eyes make some people uncomfortable.
    Go to England for scary portraits - you know you want to.

  5. My family is huge into Halloween - it's by far our favorite holiday. A few years ago my sister and I painted a family portrait of 3 Victorian children layered with lit eyes that follow you as you walk across the room. I'll have to take a picture of it for you.

  6. Anonymous11:44 AM

    Ah! This is so great! I want that rug! Anybody know where it's from? (I'll be posing this question on Emily's blog, too)

  7. I love old portraits! I don't own any, unfortunately, but I am always on the look out for one that speaks to me. I love thinking about who the person was and what their life was like.

  8. I loved Emily's show! Can't wait to watch more.

  9. Love creepy art-

    I have a small painting called 'Death' the problem is that it needs company so I too am on the look out for more dark works.

  10. Callista12:50 PM

    I'm reminded of the creepiest portrait I have ever seen. It was one that Morgan posted about over at The Brick House recently.


  11. Robbyn12:50 PM

    We have two old chalk portraits of my great-great and great grandfathers in our dining room that are pretty creepy and totally awesome, complete with oval frames (which I defaced with spray paint) and bubbled glass. http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash2/hs184.ash2/44673_683394250386_10501663_38246810_7368995_n.jpg

    I hunt for old portraits at flea markets as well. I got this one a few weeks ago for $8:

  12. You are too funny!

    Try Goodwill, yard sales and consignment shops for creepy old oil painting portraits.


  13. I'm so glad Emily won! I loved the first episode of "Secrets of a Stylist." It isn't like anything I've seen on HGTV in a long time (thank God!). Thanks for the link to her blog. I am instantaneously addicted.

  14. Morgan over at Brick House seems to get most of her creepy paintings at Goodwill/other thrift shops.

    An overview

    The Pink Lady


    The Captain

  15. very nicely decorated living room, very good looking and very stylish

  16. I'm totally with you. I love art that's a little "off" and thought the portrait Emily found was perfect.

    Alas, I don't have any secret source.

  17. Yes, my love of creepy art is well documented!

    I do find most at thrift stores, incredibly. And usually for so cheap. Ebay is another resource that always has a ton to choose from.

    I love Emily's new show.

  18. Anonymous3:07 PM

    That portait looks like President Harrison. You may be able to find a reproduction of it on canvas.


  19. I've always had a love for creepy old portraits too. I could never bring myself to pay for one though. I did run across this website the other day that intrigued me.

  20. I'm starting to join the ranks of "creepy art lovers", but we don't own any. (Yet?)

    Love that first picture of the room with the build-ins!

  21. That portrait is classic high school textbook William Henry Harrison, our first president to die in office! The use of that picture actually brings me to my love/hate issue with HGTV... I know they cut corners & fake it... often, but I can't always tell when it's nice and pretty on the tv screen! Same thing with this picture... does it look like a repro in person? Can you tell? I mean that picture has a prominent position in that room...

    HGTV's on-screen perfection (and that doesn't account for taste differences) really creates this kind of nagging sense of disappointment as we work on our own house... We're never really polished! It's kinda like my high school was nothing like West Beverly... (90210 reference intended)...

    That is so nice of you. This painting was I think from a film set, mounted on foamcore. it wasn't that cheap, by the way. I think $185. But it was a huge statement, so worth it.

    Thanks for the shoutout, much much much appreciated.

  23. I thought this show was just fantastic, very different from the usual, you are right! And somehow stumbled across her blog, which I now follow. Great style! Janell

  24. I concur in that protrait is of President Harrison and you may be able to find some reproduction of it. Can't wait to watch the show!

  25. I love the portrait she used. Let me know if you find the secret warehouse.

  26. hehe...that was my favorite piece in the entire room. I LOVE the dark portrait feel. Now finding them in places other than art galleries...still working on that.

  27. I love Emily too! She's too darn cute and has such great style. I agree, if HGTV were smart they'd sign Emily up for more shows and get rid of Holmes on Homes, which plays like a million times in our market - so weird. Anyway, I love your creepy paintings, you have an eye for them!

  28. I love Emily as well and I am so glad that HGTV has finally decided to have a show with a designer with great taste totally different from all their other designers - I also love that her rooms never seem so themed like so many other hgtv designers. Can't help you with the creepy art, however, I have no idea where people find these at a bargain.

  29. Oh you hit a nerve...a GOOD nerve with me. I have quite the collection of "amateur"...and "odd" art. And then I name them...and group them...Oy. But you get attached, ya know?

    Where do I get them? Thrift stores...goodwill...Habitat Homestore. See a small sampling here:


  30. I don't have any advice on this one but you crack me up with the creepy paintings. I would never think that about you but I knew thar you loved them:)

  31. No creepy stuff here unless you count old photos of real relatives looking dour. Your house wears it well. I can see those creepy portraits being dressed up for Halloween chez vous. :)

  32. He would fit right in at one of your amazing Halloween parties!

  33. love her work...was so happy she won. fresh, and new. great addition. GO EMILY!!!!

  34. I love Emily! Thanks for sharing her blog. I am glad she is helping to spread the love of mixing vintage and new. I would love to see an episode of her shopping at an antique or flea market.

  35. I have to laugh at this post... My mom collects and sells 18th and 19th century American and English antiques, and we have several "old, dead people" portraits hanging throughout our home. Guests often ask if the portraits are of our ancestors, and it's hilarious to see the reaction we get when we tell them we have no clue who the people are, they're just gorgeous paintings and valuable antiques! Estate sales and auctions are great places to look for such pieces. :)

  36. I really love the paintings of the women in their beautiful dresses. I've had a little luck at the church and opera thrift shops.

  37. you're funny. I'm sure ebay has lots of creepy art.

  38. Ok, maybe I'm a jaded New Yorker but $185 doesn't seem all that expensive for such a large piece.

    I'm not so much into creepy art but I have a love for oil painting or art that looks like it would fit in a previous century. Photography is my absolute favorite to look at and purchase but oil paintings of people is a close second.

    I have no idea where to pick-up such great pieces but I'm starting to think any good thrift store not in New York would be a good start. I've tried thrifting in New York at places like Goodwill and I find nothing. It's such a crap shot. But I was recently in Ohio and I every thrift store I went into had something I loved. It made me want to go to more stores and I did (and I kept finding stuff). I have to wonder if New Yorkers are to wuick to spot and snatch up the good stuff but in other places people just see it as old crap and they leave.

  39. I've been asking the same question!

    The ironic thing is, I used to make this art:

    But then I had to be a nimcompoop and become a doctor. Now I spend my Saturdays going through garage sales and thrift stores looking for 'creepy oil paintings" like the rest of 'em.

  40. I'm having a fun catch up on your blog -- great post on Matthew's holiday blog (I remember those tea towels and still want to copy cat :-). And HOO BOY -- you should see the lady portrait I scored at a church sale in Asbury Park this weekend for $2!! I nearly cried tears of joy. I passed on an early trip to the OG flea and I'm glad I did. :-)


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