Years ago, I was a penniless undergrad (art student) at the University of Georgia. I spent a lot of time in the Athens coffee shops, reading, writing and studying in between classes and work. My beloved Blue Sky Coffee house (OH! The Dancing Goats blend!) is gone now, and so is the downtown Jittery Joe's. But Espresso Royale, a stalwart landmark of downtown Athens, still sits just down the road from the old Lamar Dodd School of Art location. It was there when I first explored UGA as an option for higher education, and it is still in business now.
Sometimes I did not have even enough money to get a cup of coffee. Those days, I would buy a bagel for 75 cents (but not the 50 cent package of cream cheese) and get a cup of hot water to go with it. I'd brew my own tea with a teabag from home, and use the complimentary honey and butter for my bagel. I felt a little guilty, but at least I was buying something in exchange for taking up a table. Funny how fondly I remember these times. (And funny to think a bagel only cost 75 cents!)
Espresso Royale, like all the coffee shops and many other Athens businesses, served as a gallery space for local artists. The walls hosted an ever-changing display of local talent from painters, photographers, fiber artists, illustrators, printmakers. . . I loved to see what would turn up.
One day I looked up to spy this:
Well, I spied the painting on the wall, not a blurry reproduction of the painting on a magazine cover. Sadly, this is the best image that my limited internet skillz can reproduce for you here.
I was captivated by this painting. There's just something about it, something inspiring and beautiful, that spoke to me immediately and stuck with me ever after. I have never forgotten it. Many times over the years I've thought about it, and wondered who painted it (I'd checked, but had forgotten the artist's name), and where it was by then.
Yesterday I was making assorted phone calls that needed making, and during frequent hold times I started idly searching the internet for this painting. I had little to go on: girl in a yellow dress, Athens GA artist, surrealist style. But guess what? I found it! I found the artist!
His name is Terry Rowlett, and his portfolio is an inspiring collection of interwoven dreams and realities. You can browse the portfolio here:
And this painting from my past, called "Flight of Angela", is there on page 7. Click on it to view it larger- you can actually see it well.
I love the internet. :)
3 hours ago