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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Seeing Red

Fall Woods. 20" x 20", acrylic on stretched canvas, not finished, but getting there. I added red. It's now a painting of primary colors--not quite on par with Mondrian's Broadway Boogie. Today, I'll break that connection and sneak in some grays and a wee bit of green to calm the nerves and please my wee bit of Irish, (Johannes Itten's The art of Color).

I'm using the new palette I picked up when I went to buy watercolor paper last week and I'm loving it. It's called the Lock Box Palette made by Jack Richeson & co,. Inc. It kept my acrylics wet for 48 hours--three of which I spent lunching with a HS buddy I haven't seen in four decades! I was so tired from talking and laughing through the sixties,seventies and eighties of our lives, I had no energy left for painting. We're going to do it again sometime soon. Old buddies are the best. There's something about hanging out with people you knew when you both knew nothing and thought you knew everything that binds you for life.

After three hours, you'd think I had enough talking, but no. When I got home, I called another HS classmate my friend and I are concerned about. I wanted to hear her voice-- to see how she's doing. She had her second chemo treatment. Seven days later, I was hoping she was well on her way back to feeling herself. I see red when I think of anybody going through that hard time.

I could tell from her voice she was still tired. But she was doing okay, we talked for nearly an hour. All tests were good and she hadn't lost any of her hair. Learning that, brought back my own angst. I wondered if I had panicked and buzzed cut my own too soon when I got a handful of it exactly when they said after my first cocktail? Silly, two years later, to wonder good move, bad move, but that was a horrible experience--even though I'm laughing at myself in this photo. I'm glad my friend might be spared that added insult. It's bad enough you have to go through all that shit, but to look like you are every time you look in the mirror was the pits.

Finally in the studio yesterday, I was so pleased with the condition of my paints. After those 48 hours,they were great--just like they came out of the tube--just as wet as I had mixed them for washes. The lock box did not disappoint. Nor did my week of reconnections. I saw red for the painting, and red for my friend's situation, but my color preference during this week for old friends was a beautiful blue--solid stroke opaque, not a wisp of a thin wash.

Subjective timber is a color exercise Johannes Itten gave his students. Over an hour, you simply paint whatever colors you fancy in a cluster on one sheet of watercolor paper. Collecting these papers over the years he taught, he noticed that everyone's choices differed and realized that everyone had their own private conception of color harmony. I might try that today.--or I might already know what my choices would be. Wouldn't you think they be the tubes of colors we absolutely can't live without in our paint boxes? I'll try it anyway--I don't know the proportions or what degree of saturation I would choose for each?

Have a lovely weekend--and call a friend you haven't talked to in years or someone you know who's ill. The call will fill your heart.


  1. Linda, u are gorgeous in that photo! What a beautifully shaped head... Your eyes are smiling which says it all...

  2. Thanks. I thought I might have scared people away with that photo. You're the only one to leave a comment. Serious, life threatening illnesses do scare people away. I think it's because we don't know what to say. We feel so badly and at the same time,we're glad it's not us; we feel guilty. However, that's when our ill friends need our support the most. I learned the lesson the hard way. I wanted to spread the word.

  3. Perhaps 25 years ago people would of been afraid.. heck, I've lost a few friends to cancer, a good friend who was one of my agents for my future health issues passed away from pancreatic cancer a year ago.. he only had 6 mos., after being diagnosed...Cancer has been written, talked about for a while- we all have it, its all a matter of what sets it off in our bodies.

  4. Nevertheless, the prospect of it is damn scary. We put off and dread having the check ups we should have because we just do not want to risk hearing the worst--men more than women I've read. My oldest just turned fifty. Don't think this mom didn't remind the doctor last Saturday that it was time for him to schedule a colonoscopy. I'm pretty sure I'll have to remind him again, albeit nag.
    Cancer is the scariest word in our language. Going for catch-it-early tests is a no-ride for cowards, a long-ride for the timid, a short-ride for the courageous, and a must ride for survivors. You're a survivor. Your "heck" signaled you're a cancer preventative activist.