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Friday, January 11, 2013

Mary Boxley Bullington

Portrait of moi by my college friend, painter Mary Boxley Bullington, requested by poet and teacher Robbi Nester, also a college friend. We were all aspiring young poets together and all still write poems, all these years later.

Mary taught Medieval Literature in her post-schooling life but has been surviving for many years now as a painter and collagist working with painted papers. As many of you know, that's quite a trick. She lives in a jolly, bright Roanoke bungalow and shows her work at galleries and events in the Southeast, and you can even visit her at home during the annual Roanoke studio tours and during her Christmas open house. So if you're traveling along the 81 corridor or live in Roanoke, you might check out her schedule! A number of my painter friends in North Carolina and New York have said they want to meet her; you might too. Just be sure and take home a painting, large or small... They're great fun as life companions, those pictures.

Mary is an exuberant, wonderfully vigorous painter and collagist. I think she may have the messiest studios that I have ever seen; they are as rich and layered and full of interest as her collages. She is among those friends of mine who are genuine characters--who possess gen-u-ine character! You may see her blog here, but to see a rich world of new characters, her facebook photo pages are the thing: here. (And if you have a time-frittering desire to see a great many often very silly comments on the little portrait, go to here... Some may be "hidden," but many will show.)


  1. Here are some of the comments saved from Mary's portrait posted on my fb-page--full of fun notes from painters and writers and jolly people that will soon fall into the fb-abyss. Names replaced by initials except for me, the artist, and the gifter, all of whom were named in the post. Hurrah for Mary!

    V J, S L, N Rand 8 others like this.

    P T This makes me HOWL! I love it!
    Thursday at 11:55pm · Like · 1

    PT (This puts me in mind of Mary Bullington's work!)
    Thursday at 11:56pm · Unlike · 1

    U G, L C, A C and 14 otherslike this.

    P W J I knew before I read below it who did the art. Love it. What a thoughtful gift from a friend.
    2 hours ago · Unlike · 1

    Marly Youmans Yes, Miss Mary Boxley Bullington is un-mis-tak-a-ble! I am now also the proud owner of a bird and a head ornament and one of her paintings, inspired by some my "The Book of the Red King" poems. Hurrah!
    2 hours ago · Like · 2

    P W J art inspires art! : ) Love it when that happens.
    2 hours ago · Unlike · 1

    Marly Youmans Me, too. Sometimes it goes round and round!
    2 hours ago · Like · 1

    2 hours ago · Unlike · 2

    Marly Youmans Yes, 'tis!
    2 hours ago · Like

    R L Oh this is so delightful! Tippy toe people are divine...and red shoes add to the aura of authority.
    2 hours ago · Unlike · 2

    [Skipping a long back-and-forth here.]

    Marly Youmans Paul, yes, it does put one in mind of Miss Mary Boxley Bullington. Firmly!
    Thursday at 11:58pm · Like

    Mary Bullington Marly, I copied your dress precisely, I want you to know.
    Thursday at 11:59pm · Edited · Like · 2

    Marly Youmans It's too bad I was stabbed so very many times! XD
    Yesterday at 12:01am · Like · 1

    P T Looks firm enough to me!
    Yesterday at 12:01am · Like

    Mary Bullington Et tu, Brute? You had on your polka dot dress for Christmas!
    Yesterday at 12:03am · Like · 1

    Marly Youmans P T: sheer courage.
    Yesterday at 12:04am · Like

  2. part 2

    Marly Youmans Mary Bullington: Polka dot, polka dot... Memory is full of polka dot holes.
    Yesterday at 12:05am · Like · 1

    Mary Bullington Yep--the first chapter of my dissertation is titled "Memory's Broken Circle."
    Yesterday at 12:06am · Like

    T L B M and U G like this. Sorry TLBM and U and 17 other liking people who I am too lazy to itemize, I had to take down two copies; they were madly multiplying like the broom of the sorceror's apprentice.
    Yesterday at 12:16am · Edited · Like

    Marly Youmans How can you possibly remember the name of your first chapter, Mary Bullington? I can't even remember the names of characters from books written in the past decade!
    Yesterday at 12:12am · Like · 1

    P T 'Memory' is where we exercise intellectual precaution over logical deduction.
    Things in the past always look good : )
    This image, however, captures Marly as anyone would want to be captured.
    .... in a polka dot dress : P
    Yesterday at 12:12am · Unlike · 5

    Mary Bullington Things in the past always look good?? Often, but not always--.
    Yesterday at 12:13am · Like

    Mary Bullington I liked my first chapter, and it may have been the best chapter I ever wrote.
    Yesterday at 12:14am · Unlike · 1

    Marly Youmans I do have a gray-green dress with sort of turquoisey polka-dots, but I am incapable of remembering a blue and red. Mulling. Too lazy to go search the closet.
    Yesterday at 12:14am · Like

    S D-de S R I want to know what happened at that marketing meeting....
    Yesterday at 12:16am · Unlike · 1

    Marly Youmans Paul Tree: You said a mouthful, bud.
    Yesterday at 12:16am · Like · 1

    Mary Bullington I think we are petering out--meant to go to bed an hour ago.
    Yesterday at 12:19am · Like

    Marly Youmans Pa W J and R L and S M, sorry! I pasted in your comments. The images were multiplying like adorable, lusty rabbits!
    Yesterday at 12:19am · Like · 1

    Marly Youmans Mary Bullington, I am not sleepy after reading aloud act 2 of "Taming of the Shrew." Petruchio, so bawdy!
    Yesterday at 12:21am · Edited · Like

    Marly Youmans S D R, the pictures were all courtesy Mary Bullington. So you may quiz her!
    Yesterday at 12:21am · Like

    S D R Ha! I don't believe it. I think you have thriving fourth and fifth careers in illustration, and marketing.
    Yesterday at 12:22am · Like

    Marly Youmans S D R: I wish. I am Marketing Moron, truly. Alas.
    Yesterday at 12:23am · Like

    Mary Bullington Of course she does--and a sixth career dancing around in red shoes.
    Yesterday at 12:24am · Like · 1

    Marly Youmans Though I kick against the pricks, marketing-wise (have been reading Shakespeare aloud, you may note.)
    Yesterday at 12:24am · Like

    Mary Bullington Reading WS aloud, I mean--not kicking pricks.
    Yesterday at 12:27am · Edited · Like

    Marly Youmans Kicking against the pricks? Or reading Shakespeare? (It's the same, sometimes!)
    Yesterday at 12:25am · Like

  3. part 3

    Marly Youmans I like the career dancing in red shoes! Yes!
    Yesterday at 12:25am · Like

    Mary Bullington Of course. Dorothy shoes dance all over the place!
    Yesterday at 12:28am · Unlike · 2

    Marly Youmans Ah, well, Mary Boxley Bullington, since you ask, I read act 2 to my recovering-from-bug soon, who is now somewhat behind in his homework after missing the last three days... I was quite surprised to find (despite having read it many times--those holes in the memory again) that it is really, really bawdy. I'm wondering if the 10th grade team realizes exactly how bawdy...
    Yesterday at 12:28am · Like

    Mary Bullington I don't think I realized it when I read it last at age 28. Too bad! But it isn't one I liked much, either. Midsummer Night's Dream, Romeo and Juliet, King Lear--those are wonderful.
    Yesterday at 12:31am · Like

    Marly Youmans After consulting with R, I have decided that Mary Bullington has conflated my red dress from Christmas with my polka-dot bathrobe! / I do love those plays as well--and "The Tempest" and lots more--but of course "Taming of the Shrew" has certain issues for contemporaries...
    Yesterday at 1:08am · Edited · Like · 2

    Mary Bullington Yes--I love hybrids. But shrews--oh dear.
    Yesterday at 12:43am · Edited · Unlike · 1

    Marly Youmans Still, much that is wonderful in that play... / What a fun gift! Brilliant idea... Yay, Robbi Nester! / Stuck it on Twitter and my blog as well, Miss Mary. With a link to your blogspot blog. Maybe you'd rather have one to your work here?
    Yesterday at 1:13am · Edited · Like · 1

    D R just like Paul, I am HOWLING!! The eyebrow tic sealed the authenticity for me!!
    Yesterday at 6:06am · Like

    Marly Youmans Howler monkey!
    Yesterday at 7:14am · Like

    D R Thank you. Thank you very much.
    Yesterday at 7:25am · Like

    Marly Youmans D R: Knew you liked cute little furry animals... XD
    Yesterday at 8:26am · Like

    B A Oh my, late to the polka dot party, but I'm loving it!
    Yesterday at 8:42am · Unlike · 1

    Robbi Nester Love it! I may have commissioned it, but didn't see it till now.
    Yesterday at 8:45am · Unlike · 2

    Marly Youmans I'm going to have to use it next time I'm asked for a picture for some magazine or some such!
    Yesterday at 8:54am · Like · 2

    Robbi Nester Well I love Mary's work and wanted people to see that she could do this sort of thing, so it might help her. And Mary and Marly and I were all pals at school.
    Yesterday at 8:58am · Like · 1

    Robbi Nester Mary, I love that you tagged me as a foot. Suitable somehow.
    Yesterday at 9:00am · Like · 1

    Robbi Nester Grand idea Marly to use this as a portrait for a book or publicity.
    Yesterday at 9:05am · Unlike · 1

    Mary Bullington Sorry--I lost the scan. Marly is dancing like a bear, as we always knew she might.
    Yesterday at 9:46am · Unlike · 1

    Marly Youmans No bear ever had such lovely shoes!
    Yesterday at 9:49am · Like


Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.