Tuesday, October 21, 2014

I'm honored to have several paintings in this Fine Art Auction of over 180 paintings by Southeastern Impressionists, Plein Air and Contemporary Abstract artists.
Presented by The Lighthouse Auction Company in connection with Sumpter Gallery, there will be reception Friday, 10/24 at 7 pm in Madison, GA. Join us and see all the paintings on display. Then join us at the auction, which begins Saturday, 10/25 at 2:00 p.m. and will run through completion. You can also participate in the auction online. For auction info contact Dianne Lewis at lighthouseauctionsinc@gmail.com.
To view a catalog of the paintings (my work starts on page 98), visithttp://issuu.com/sumptergallery.
Lighthouse Auctions, 1410 Atlanta Hwy, Madison, GA, 30650

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Two Pizza Boxes.

A message to my Wednesday morning class: There were 2 small pizza boxes on my dining room table when I arrived home.

The rest of the story for the rest of you:
I live in southwest Atlanta, an area that not too long ago was notoriously crime-ridden; it's not the most desirable area of town today. But the neglected Craftsmen bungalows, generations-old shrubbery and huge beautiful trees suggest what the neighborhoods used to be way back when, and could be again.

This past Tuesday evening, after having been gone all day, I went to my mail box. There was a young African American girl passing by; she looked 16. She asked me if she could use my phone. She saw me hesitate and said she needed to call her mother; she couldn't get into their house down the street. I went into my house and returned with my iphone. I waited as she made several attempts to contact her mother. She left a message, handed the phone back to me and thanked me.

As I sat watching TV four hours later, around 10:00 p.m., I had a knock on my front door. There she was, asking to borrow my phone again. It was dark and cold, and she was shivering in her tank top. "Have you been waiting for your mother all this time?" I asked, astonished. She nodded yes. I let her into my house, let her make her phone calls, made her a cup of hot tea and some biscuits, and said she could wait here until her mother finally got home. Mother, of course, never got home and never returned the phone calls. She tried calling several other people and got the same results.

While we were waiting for someone to help out, I plied her with questions, as I always did with my own daughters' friends. Was she in school? No. How many siblings does she have? Her daddy has 14 kids, she lives at home with her mom and 3 other kids, the youngest is 5. Does she work? No, she hopes to go to college. What does she want to do? She wants to produce music. Does she play any instruments? No.

I let her use my computer in hopes she could contact someone with Facebook or email. She found more success there. Her brother told her she could come to his house five miles away. My GPS gave me directions, I dropped her off, and just a few blocs from my house my phone rang. "Can you come get me?" I didn't ask any questions, turned around and picked her up. "They didn't want me there," she said.

By this time it was 11:30. I needed to go to sleep; I teach a morning class on Wednesdays and had to be out of the house by 8:30 to face Atlanta rush hour traffic. "Why don't you spend the night here. Your mom should be home tomorrow morning and you can get home then." I gave her a toothbrush, towels and a night gown. She asked to use the laundry to wash her underwear. While she was showering I got onto my computer to check my email and found that her Facebook page was open. I read her messages, same as I did my own kids' diaries, to find out what's going on.  "I got kicked out," she told one boy. "I don't know what to do. I be dead tomorrow."

The next morning I woke her, "Teneyh, I don't feel comfortable with you being here while I'm gone today. " I gave her a jacket, enough money to get some food for a couple of days and catch the train to a friend's house. "If you still don't have anywhere to be tonight, you can come back." I let her use my phone again. No success. "Do you have anywhere to go?" She shook her head no.

I know at this point many would call me foolish and I understand. But I let her stay. I would be home by 2:00. "Nobody is allowed in the house," I told her. I left for my class.

During class I was distracted and anxious. Then I received a phone call from my next door neighbor. She and the lady across the street were concerned because they saw a man at my house. They knocked on my door, saw her sitting watching TV, and asked when she answered the door, "Where's Margaret? Is there a man in the house?" "Margaret's teaching her class, and the man was delivering pizza," she responded. Of course this only validated my anxiety. "There had better be pizza boxes there when I get home," I told my morning class.

As soon as my class ended I sped across town to see exactly how foolish I had been. I rushed around the house: my diamond tennis bracelet was where I left it, dangling around the neck of a vase on the mantle. My gun was safely hidden where I left it. There were, much to my shame, two small pizza boxes on the dining room table. And she greeted me with a hand-scrawled address on a sheet of paper. "I have someplace to go," she said. She gathered her pizza boxes and her crumpled remainder of money, and we headed to Riverdale, about 20 minutes south of Atlanta. Without looking at me she got out of the car, muttered thanks, went into the house with her friend, who never acknowledged me.

I left depressed. What did I just hand this girl over to? She has no job. She has no skills. She has no parents. She has no support. She does not drive. I doubt she has a high school education. She won't produce music. What, I wondered, are we producing from our high schools? For the first time I could see that the most practical thing for a girl like that to do would be to have babies and go onto welfare. I myself saw no other alternative unless there were some intervention.

I got back home and found that she had made the bed. I wanted to cry.


This picture has nothing to do with the above, of course. And hopefully it'll make todays post not so depressing. It's one of the first pieces I'm happy with from my Tuesday painting class. I'm taking a mentoring class from Jim Richards http://www.jrichardsstudio.com/ (probably close to my daughter's age), and I think I'm really finally learning to paint.

Monday, October 6, 2014

If you're seriously considering purchasing some original art, Allison Sprock Fine Art is hosting a preview party, launching a satellite gallery in an intimate home setting in Atlanta, off Collier Road. Two evenings, Wednesday, October 22 and Thursday, October 23.

RSVP at janet.asfa@gmail.com or 404.245.7668 if you're interested in going. I'll be there on the 23rd.

Saturday, October 4, 2014


It was hard to shine in my family. I was surrounded by 5 intelligent, talented, funny, high-achieving siblings. I always felt inadequate (still do). But one thing made me more special than any of them: my godmother was Rosemary Murphy. Rosemary was my mother's best friend at Manhattanville College. Mom went on to marry my Dad, have a station wagon load of children, and leave New York to make a home in Atlanta. Rosemary went on to to perform in 15 Broadway productions, in film and on TV (Eleanor and Franklin, To Kill a Mockingbird, Julia, Walking Tall, to name a few).

I was 8 years old when we left New York, but I remember visiting her cluttered, book-filled apartment on the upper east side. I'm sure if I could see it now I'd be fascinated by the photographs, art and show posters, but back then I was just enthralled with her little dachshund, the dressing-room lights on her vanity, and the black eye masks she wore when she slept. She was the most glamourous thing I had ever seen.

She would visit us occasionally in Atlanta. I was never so proud as I was when we could show her off. She was larger than life, tall in her mink coat, a booming voice. She definitely did not look like she was from around this part of the world.

Rosemary died this past July after a stellar 60 year career. This September, her friends and family held a memorial for her at Sardi's, the celebrated restaurant in the Theater District of Manhattan, where hundreds of show-business celebrities' caricatures adorn its walls. Rosemary's is among them. My sister Catherine and I were observers, on the outside looking in at another world of actors from previous generations. We didn't recognize anybody, but knew they were names many would. Actors, agents, friends, family--a community rich in history and stories I'll never know.

Thank you, Rosemary. We were always so proud of you. I hope you and mom are best friends again now.

See more of Rosemary here:
Rosemary's IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0614677
And here:
Rosemary's Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosemary_Murphy

Friday, October 3, 2014

Not so trivial maybe...

I admit it. I read the Bible. And I love reading it. There's not another book that feeds my soul like this one. I was reading Ezekiel this morning and came to the line that said "Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing." I had 2 fig trees in my back yard ('had' because I inadvertently murdered one last year; I am still grieving over it and thinking I ought to be charged with a crime), so I did some google searching to see what modern thought was about fig tree leaves. What I found is pretty gosh durn amazing: http://www.phoenixpermaculture.org/forum/topics/fig-leaf-benefits-diabetes-triglycerides-etc
I'm going to go pick some fig leaves, dry them and save them for my morning tea. Couldn't hurt, could it?

I also came upon the benefits of olive tree leaves, none of which I happen to have in my back yard, but I was fascinated by the benefits of those leaves too. I'm wondering about pear leaves now, which I do have in my yard. Back to google now...

Just thought it was cool information to share.

As for the pastels here, they're hanging tonight at Sue Stewart Fine Art in Charleston, SC, where there is a First Friday Gallery Hop. If you're in the area, drop in please. Although I had planned on being there tonight, a nasty cold has set me back and I dare not share these germs. I know exactly where I got it--on my plane ride home from New York recently. The girl to the right of me sniffled and wiped her nose continually through the trip, and the guy on my left coughed. The whole time. I knew, just knew I'd be paying for that within days. And I did. Still am. Thus, the search for healing leaves today.

Sue Stewart Gallery

12 State Street, Charleston, SC  29401

Monday - Saturday, 11 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.