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.