Several years ago I made a new friend, her name is Carol. Carol and I met while “on the stump”, her as the Democratic nominee for Lieutenant Governor and me as the Democratic nominee for Insurance Commissioner. For months we traveled Georgia giving speeches, answering questions, and asking for votes. On many occasions we sat through each other’s speeches each of us growing to respect, then eventually to like, the other. By the end of the elections in November 2011, we were friends.
Along with all state-wide, elected Democrats we lost, but neither Carol nor I spent any time licking imaginary wounds. We were women of action and leapt sure footedly from one jagged outcropping to the next. I returned to lobbying for truth, justice, and self-insured health benefits; and to satisfying my passion for all things olive and olive oil by launching Olive Crazy. Carol, who had been the general manager of a newspaper, became a television personality, newspaper food columnist, and returned to what she had always been, an artist.
A few weeks ago Carol texted me to say that her paintings were going to be exhibited at the Macon Arts Alliance in downtown Macon, Georgia. I hadn’t seen Carol since we shared a quick bite last spring and was looking forward to seeing her and whichever of her adorable sons she would inevitably bring along.
I left north Atlanta very early in the afternoon so I could make it through the city before the Friday exodus began. My traffic pattern calculations were correct and I arrived at the gallery with an hour to spare. No one but the curators were there when I arrived. I wondered how I would be able to kill an hour looking through Carol’s modest-sized collection before the showing actually began. As I stopped at the first painting I found out.
Carol’s paintings are complex. There is no other way to describe them. Each painting is covered in hand-written messages all of which are interwoven into faces, scenes, and in one an olive tree. The viewer must take the time to read the words, look up close for the visual surprises, and then again far away for some more surprises. After completing the circuit, I knew that this was art I wanted to own and I knew which piece. I quickly made my purchase and a curator placed a blue dot on the wall near the painting.
Carol arrived, wine was opened and the hoards descended. It wasn’t until the end of the evening and the showing was over that I could take any pictures for you. For most of the evening I stayed near the front door chatting and chatting. The number of people in the gallery was overwhelming. It is difficult to take photos of art that is blocked by a crush of admirers so I waited.
Again I had a surprise, most of Carol’s pieces had been sold. I have been to lots of exhibits and had never seen so many works sold in the first few hours of an opening. I was happy to see my friend’s talent recognized.
Later that evening, after dinner, I walked back to my car with Carol’s eldest son. I told him that I had made up my mind. I would like to commission Carol to paint a very special piece for me: Adam and Eve, the serpent, and the olive tree.
May the sun shine through your branches.