The Long Way Home

Trick-or-Treat 1957
October 26, 2012, 6:31 AM
Filed under: Art Gallery | Tags: , , , ,

From Wunderly Galleries, Pittsburgh, 1957. Artist unknown.

One of the reasons I love Jeff and his sweet junk-pickin’ ways is because he’s so good at it. He’s got a gift. When we walk into a room full of dusty ancient cast-offs piled ceiling-high, I grow impatient and turn to walk out – the chaos is overwhelming. Jeff’s eyes sparkle. His shoulders relax, he licks his chops in anticipation. Then he disappears into the mess and comes out with treasures: a chalk statue of the Virgin Mary from a local church; a home taxidermy manual from 1912; a pigeon skeleton, its tiny bones all intact. He acquired the painting above way before we ever met. Back in the 90s, he was making his weekly trash-hunting run in Squirrel Hill when he saw the painting sitting on the curb. The woman who ditched it came out of the house with more trash, so Jeff politely asked her if he could have it. The inscription on the back reads” Given to Christy from Grandaddy – Halloween 1957. 2 years old.” A bit sinister for a two-year-old, if you ask me. It hangs in our living room, making it Halloween every day of the year in this house.


Trompe L’oeil
March 12, 2012, 6:55 AM
Filed under: Ohio | Tags: , , ,


Yesterday was such a beautiful day that I decided to forgo my usual jammies-and-crime-shows Sunday routine and take off on a photo adventure. Jeff, Bill and I drove through Ohio River towns, ending up in East Liverpool to hunt for more junk that we possibly do not need. But it’s been so long since we looked, I figured why not? I found three great old photos (which you’ll see in future posts), and the awesome score of the last few months: an art deco announcement plaque with overhead lamp from the Roy Powell funeral home. East Liverpool was a ghost town at 4 p.m. on a Sunday March afternoon, but tucked away on the former site of an old theater was this trompe l’oeil mural of a garden fence and two secret doors, possibly of the theater that once stood there?  The things you find when you wander aimlessly.




December 8, 2010, 7:04 AM
Filed under: Pennsylvania | Tags: , , , ,


Snijeg is “snow” in  Croatian, and Sunday morning reminded me of Osijek, how frustrating and beautiful and unexpected each day was when I was there. I spent most of the winter  in a perpetual state of freeze. My apartment didn’t have central heat, only a large space heater from the 1960s that looked like two thin sheets of metal slapped together. I’d switch it on first thing in the morning, the red coils glowing as  I got ready for work. Sometimes I’d turn on the oven and open the door to warm my hands. You really do get used to wearing sweaters and mittens to bed, drinking mulled wine to calm your nerves.  This past Sunday, my tripod went missing, so I rigged a make-shift one in our backyard out of a wooden chair, two old books and a scarf to protect the camera. My eyes watered from the wind, so it was hard to focus, and my hands ached from cold. I thought, why the hell am I doing this, just as I had asked myself six years ago in Osijek. And it’s because I can’t imagine doing anything else at that moment.


first snow

'portal to spring.' unfinished painting by jeff schreckengost

Here Comes the Sun: Mural Progression
October 20, 2009, 10:15 AM
Filed under: Art Gallery, Pennsylvania | Tags: , , , , ,

Curt Gettman, project manager for the Sprout Fund has been tracking the mural progress. It looks as if the sun will prove to be the mural’s savior. In the future: do not put on clear coat if the temperature is below 60 degrees with rain in the forecast. Lesson learned.

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