Abandoned Art

By Anita Garner

I go to the thrift shop to donate but can’t leave until I check the bin full of castoff art.  Is this a paint-by-numbers piece?  Is it from a student?  Or from a professional painter whose early work was given up too soon? Are these flowers from an artist momentarily adrift in a garden of self expression?

I own several other pieces that look like they could have been done by a person who went home early from the community center art class.  I say this with love.  I admire the gumption it takes to make a picture of anything, any time.

I rescue abandoned canvasses and wonder, were they created with love and given away, then secretly discarded by the recipient? The only two things we know is that someone made these and someone didn’t want them.

I’ve seen stories on TV about people who collect old paint-by-numbers canvases and many narrow their search to a particular subject – horses or trees or dogs or boats or barns.  I’m not picky about subject matter, though I do seem to have several examples of flowers painted with varying degrees of verisimilitude.  (I’ve been hoping to use that word all week, ever since I convinced the Grand it’s really a word.)

My knowledge of odd collections comes from “CBS Sunday Morning” which often takes us to meet people who own many examples of an unusual kind of thing.  If I had the space, I’d keep going.  Mine are now sprinkled around the house, in the kitchen, the office, and these two new pieces with the black backgrounds are looking great in a bathroom.

This one’s signed, dated and titled “Self Portrait.”

As I paid my $4.99 and $1.5o at the counter, the checker, a beautiful young woman dressed head to toe in vintage chic, smiled as she rang them up.  She said, “I love it when they’re signed.”  Me too.  Then she told me she plans to start painting.  I expressed what I hope was the proper appreciation.  But there’s more, she said.  She has a specific plan for her art.  She’s going to sign them all and give them names and then donate them.  They won’t go to anyone she knows.  They won’t hang on her wall at home.  They’re going straight to the thrift store where she works, eliminating a middle person who may not have fully appreciated them anyway.  I get it.

How could anyone give away a bicycle with golden wheels?
My photo doesn’t do it justice.  Those wheels are shiny.

If my new vintage-loving acquaintance’s plan to paint and donate comes to fruition, every time I pick up a castoff canvas I’ll get to wonder if its one of hers.




CBS Sunday Morning is like church.

By Anita Garner

CBS Sunday Morning is my church when I’m not in church.  When I hear the trumpet fanfare, wherever I am, I settle in.

There’s news, art and literature and music and lots of things I didn’t know before  – and without being saccharine they weave in stories about good people doing good things.

We’re familiar with every note of that opening theme, so we instantly noticed the difference when Wynton Marsalis recorded it. This, quote, right here, about the opening theme,  is the kind of background the show offers on any number of subjects.

“The piece spans two octaves of the trumpet’s range. A vinyl recording of a version by Don Smithers, played on an eight-foot baroque trumpet, was used as the theme song for almost 20 years until CBS opted to switch out the vinyl recording with a clearer digital recording performed by Doc Severinsen on a piccolo trumpet.”

Now we can watch as Wynton Marsalis records the new version, complete with his own frills and trills. Click the link to see Wynton at work.

And here it is from a Boston Pops string quartet


New book, “The Glory Road: a Gospel Gypsy Life” is now available everywhere.