Friday, December 17, 2010

You'll pray for me, right?

Kevin Beilfuss's painting Valencia has this great quality of chaos about it, jumbles of color & brush strokes suddenly riveting your eyes & mind where it needs to go...the serenity & beauty of his model's face...her meditative quality: calm & pure.

This week I scurried off to our factory in Dalton for a hurried meeting. I was aching to get on the road as the impending ice storm was forecasted & I did not want to be in it. I was filled with anxiety about a myriad of complex business issues facing our factory and the newly relocated gallery & our homes in Florida. I was struggling to drag a heavy box of lights to my car to off load at the gallery & trying to figure out how I was going to get the hood open & worse yet how I was ever going to be able to figure out how to check my oil (I am such a girl sometimes).

Any way the neighbor man who had been digging ditches in the freezing cold rain all week ambled by and asked if he could carry my box. Of course I said yes. Then he volunteered to check my oil, again I gratefully accepted. He did, added a quart & then asked for a ride to the hospital which was 6 miles away as he had to meet his father for treatment for an on the job head injury. (He had intended to walk) Of course I obliged.

The man (about 28 years old) told me he had considered jumping off a bridge earlier this week because he was down to his last $11.00 and all he owned was his mp3 player & his ear buds & he doubted selling them would help much. He decided not to kill himself when he heard his best friend had just lost his home to foreclosure...and he didn't have a home to lose: so he figured he was much better off his friend and he just needed to shoulder on...

When I dropped him at the hospital he leaned into the car and said "You'll pray for me right? and of course, I'll pray for you..." I said of course I would and drove toward the gallery & my busy day with tears streaming. This man had nothing. Based on his education & circumstance he will likely never have anything, yet he could see through all the chaos of daily life to extend kindness, help me with my box, my oil, and then sensing my anxious state, my soul.

I find the Beilfuss painting a great allegory for "You'll pray for me right?" It simply moves you through the chaos of color & brush strokes to where your mind needs to rest: on her beauty & serenity. She seems to be reminding us "and of course,  I'll pray for you." This lovely painting is at M Gallery of Fine Art 11 Broad Street Charleston SC or on the web at

Sunday, December 12, 2010


When I shivered my way to the car this morning the thermometer read 35 degrees.  My husband in Georgia says its in the 20s and my daughter in Chicago is shivering in the low teens...The dogs refused to go out in the driving rain, I had to boot them (they both had on coats) forcibly onto the walk in front of my little Charleston Condo, lest they die of uremic poisoning. We scurried about, me in a badly mangled umbrella, sleep hair, jams & wet shoes. Checking email as we walked, I learned a dear friend had died. I felt punched bewildered and oh so sad. He had had surgeries but was doing better. It was sudden and felt so cruel. I wept, my tears running into the rain. Later as the dogs & I headed off to the gallery, we still looked crazy albeit more conventionally dressed, and were still teary. The southeast is all abluster and the streets are quiet. When I turned on all the lights in my beloved sanctuary of a gallery I glanced up at John Ball's wonderful painting of the unmade hotel bed and saw myself there: New York Times, room service coffee, snuggly cuddles. Later perhaps a stroll to the hotel bar for soup and a sherry and a discussion of the weather & of all things, the sports scores. No discussions of the economy, politics or local corruption. Only the cocoon of the room, the hotel, and the intimacies there in. A good painting takes you out of yourself, evokes another time & place, gives you perspective, comfort, strength. I love this little painting for its ability to lift the rain, dry my eyes, give me peace, take me out of myself. It and many other delightful gems can be seen at

A dear friend lost....

We lost one of the Gallery's dear friends, Mark Fried this weekend. He was a community treasure and loved by countless people who enjoyed his kindness, compassion, brilliant mind and delightful wit. He and his wife Barabara (pictured above) were commited to a lifetime of service for those who were in need. Both were the first in their families to graduate from college, and over the years, they have devoted significant time and resources to Virginia's community and state college systems, helping to make education more accessible. They have served under both Democrat and Republican governors to make housing more affordable for all Virginians. The Frieds have served and continue to serve as leaders for dozens of local charitable organizations throughout the state. Among their many personal projects, the Frieds co-founded Innisfree in Albemarle County, a pioneering model where adults with mental disabilities live and work in a village community. Mark and Barbara also established Charlottesville-Albemarle Riding Therapy (CART), a therapeutic horseback riding program for disabled adults and children. In their professional and personal activities, wherever they have lived and worked, the Frieds have strived to make their community a better place to live. They shared a life long love and were inseparable. Please join us for a quiet moment in memory of Mark and in condolence for his wife Barbara, their children, extended family and many friends. We will all miss Mark horribly.

Monday, November 29, 2010

December Madness Respite

December brings with it all sorts of holiday craziness: shopping, decorating, cooking, family gatherings, oh my the list goes on and on. I find the season both exhilarating & we all do. There always is a sense of gratitude for those gathered, always tempered by a sense of longing for those not present.

The Tony Pro / Brooke Olivares / Matteo Caloiaro show we have up for December at M Gallery in Charleston offers a needed break in all the acts of is a gift you can give your self: a delight and respite.

Our headliner Tony Pro is well know to many of you. Long respected among the art community, he has developed a bold style which serves him and his viewers well. In his fresh take on images like his snappers & roses we see a sensitivity and passion uncommon in the world of art. Tony's competently rendered paintings display his virtuosity as a painter, exploring contemporary and traditional venues...paparazzi to geishas & back. His quiet kiss on his wife's figure in Daydreaming shows a mature loving husband admiring the strength & passion he knows is his wife.

Olivares has images of beaches, dolls, home life. She shares her life with Caloario. Many of our good friends avidly collect Matteo's work and will find the couple's blending fascinating. It is hard to tell where one stops and the other starts.

As with many of our painters who are very close, we see a merging of images painted, skills learned. A painting partner is oh so beneficial, and lucky are the few who have one. The famous painting couples of our times have illustrated clearly the bounty to be had by having your mate as your artistic partner. It certainly is the case with these two.

Matteo's quiet rendering of his life, their apartment, Brooke sleeping unveil the tenderness and regard he has for her and their life together. Oh to be so loved! You'll enjoy it, I am sure.

All three painters will be with us in the gallery on Broad street both Thursday & Friday evening. Thursday is a quieter venue for lengthier interactions, Friday a more festive atmosphere. We will have Spanish guitar both nights, & of course, wine & hors d' oeuvres. Or of course on the web at M Gallery of Fine Art

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Olga's Masterpiece

Olga Krimon's painting breaks every rule in the book and is perhaps one of the finest figurative paintings we have every hung in the gallery. Which is saying a lot based on the caliber of artists we are fortunate enough to carry in our humble M Gallery inventory. She centered the figure, placed it too close to the top edge, etc., etc. yet the thing is a masterwork and belongs in a museum. Her paint handling, management of edges, values, chroma, drawing all speak of intense easel time, meticulous training, a great eye & remarkable talent. Ms. Krimon is destined to be a rock star painter. And, she has no idea how good she is...humble as a mouse she is typical of the best painters I see...for them "there is never there"  in terms of mastering their craft. "There is never there" for these painters in the creation of master works, studies or simple studio notes. Stop by the gallery in Charleston this week if you can...Olga's painting is on display along with several other of her works. We are in the midst of the chaos of hanging the wonderful works of Tony Pro, Matteo Caloierio & Brooke excuse our jumble. But come on by & visit or of course see us on the web at

Friday, November 19, 2010

Revolt, Revolution, & Regard

South Carolina has a long and proud history of independence and insurrection. As I begin to understand the strong complex character of the area, I am delighted by the wide range of cultures and values.

In York County, the "Four B" churches (all Presbyterian) of Bethel, Bethesda, Beersheba, and Bullock Creek became the first religious and social centers in this Scots-Irish stronghold and during the Revolutionary war were considered the "Four B's in King George's bonnet". Apparently, the four ministers of these churches preached the gospel of revolt, revolution, and regard for human they strongly advocated the ideas of separation from England and abolition of slavery.

Simon Kogan recently was sculptor in residence at Brookgreen Gardens where he served as a 2010 Rainey Master Sculptor. While at Brookgreen, Kogan depicted the "Four B's" in clay, and the pieces are drying in one of the salons at M Gallery in Charleston.

I envision these works at two times bigger than life-size, positioned on the four corners of the market in the center of Charleston. Simon captured the fire, movement, and conviction these historic men must have carried, sweeping the Carolina countryside, risking their lives for their convictions. It was as if he breathed life into their stories, made them real as they swirl about.

Also, Simon Kogan has designed the 2011 Brookgreen Medal, the 39th in its prestigious series, to be given next April to its upper-level members. As 2011 marks Brookgreen's 80th Anniversary, the medal's theme is especially appropriate as a celebratory symbol of not only the illustrious history of South Carolina, but of the founding of Brookgreen Gardens by Archer and Anna Huntington. In addition to the Brookgreen collection, the medal also enters the collections of the Smithsonian Institute, British Museum, American Numismatic Society, and National Sculpture Society.

The "Four B's" along with several other signature works can be viewed at M Gallery of Fine Art SE 11 Broad Street Charleston SC 29401 or at

Monday, November 8, 2010

Recipes from Frank Gardner's Reception

Many of the attendees at our Friday Art Walk & Reception for Frank Gardner requested recipes for the food I served. Most of them are slight adaptations from the La Sazon Cooking School at San Miguel (where Frank lives). So apologies to La Sazon if these are not exact and many thanks if they turn out for you.

I served:

Jicama w/Lime & Chilies

Peel the Jicama and slice into sticks. Coat in lime juice (a plastic bag is easiest). Serve sprinkled with chile powder and chopped peanuts.

Roasted Salsa

Roast the following on a griddle or comal:
Whole tomatoes
Whole unpeeled garlic
Whole unpeeled quartered large white onion
Blacken over an open flame an assortment of chiles according to your desired heat. I used poblano, serrano & jalapeno. Sweat & remove skins, de-vien, de-seed.
Peel the onions & the garlic, de-stem the tomatoes.
Throw the whole mess of vegetables along with a handful of cilantro into a blender or food processor. Pulse to a coarse chop. Serve warm or cold with tortilla chips.

Spiced Peanuts

Lightly brown salted roasted peanuts in olive oil with springs of fresh thyme, sprinkle with chile powder, squeeze a fresh lime over the nuts, use a slotted spoon & remove to a dish, sprinkle generously with coarse salt.

White Sparkling Sangria

1 quartered orange
6 sliced fresh strawberries
1 large cinnamon stick
Handful fresh mint
1 bottle cold non alcoholic sparkling strawberry juice
1 bottle cold Prosecco

Serve immediately

His painting Snacks in the Jardin can be seen at
or at M Gallery of Fine Art 11 Broad Street Charleston SC 29401