The Unknown Artist

The Unknown Artist

Last night, Dori and I visited several art galleries on the Downtown Mall in Charlottesville. It was the first Friday of the month, when they hold special exhibitions and offer free refreshments.

The first one we entered offered some really good art, but the pickings were slim for hungry free-loaders.

The next gallery featured ugly “art” and no food, so we didn’t stay long.

But the last place, which we’ve always enjoyed the most anyway, did not disappoint us. Larger, with dozens of really fine paintings and other objets d’art, it held our attention for quite a while. We especially liked the exhibition of Eric Slayton’s oil paintings. We could see why his work has been displayed in the West Wing of the White House and in U.S. embassies around the world.

The goodies made up for the scarcity at the other galleries – fresh vegetables, crackers, tasty dips, and Sprite. I tried not to appear like the glutton I am, but did manage to, shall we say, silence the messages that had been rumbling up from my mid-section.

Sitting at a table with the little cups of Sprite was a pleasant-looking lady who seemed to belong there. Going over, I asked,

“Are you the hostess here?”

“Yes, I am.”

“Well, I just wanted to say ‘Thank you’ for these refreshments. They’re really good. We love the paintings, too.”

Smiling broadly, she replied, “You are welcome.” Then, pointing over to a tall, handsome man standing by himself, she asked, “Have you met the artist? He’d love to talk to you.”

We hadn’t known that Eric Slayton, the creator of our favorite paintings, was present. I walked over to him and introduced myself, expressing appreciation for his work. He beckoned to his wife, and introduced me to her, remembering my name and even pronouncing it correctly (most people say “Ray,” or “Frank,” or “Dwight”).

Dori had already gone off to another section of the gallery before I met Mr. Slayton, but I remained to chat with them for about ten minutes. Living in Prescott, Arizona, they had never before seen the Blue Ridge Mountains, so we shared our appreciation of the lovely scenery of Albemarle Country. We also talked about modern Chinese painting.

What a pleasant couple they were! And what a privilege, to meet the creator of the art which had brought us so much enjoyment!

And all because I had stopped to say, “Thank you.” Maybe there’s a lesson here somewhere.

One further thought: If we take the time, we can talk to the Master Artist whenever we want to, and thank Him for the beauty with which He has surrounded us.