Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Look Ma! No Color--OK, well, less anyway

Memory's Ghost Watercolor 22x30"
Forgive me readers for I have slacked. It has been six days since my last confession. Er, I mean post. Life snuck up on me and well one thing led to another and before I knew it I was waking up in a ditch with a pounding headache and a new tattoo that says Avis Rent-A-Car below a blue Honda Civic. I have no idea where the poodle skirt came from but the chicken seems to like it. In my last post, you remember that one from almost a week ago, whew, how time flies when you can't remember where you've been or how you got there or why it seemed like such a good idea at the time even though you were pretty sure it was illegal in most states...Oh, sorry.

Um, where was I? Oh, yes, my last blog post. As I recall I made some high faluting promises about showing you that I really could restrain my licentious ways with color. I had to dig around for awhile before I found something that fit the bill and believe me it wasn’t easy. I clearly have a problem here the proportions of which will likely require a twelve step program and someone named Thelma with big burly arms and a thick paddle to keep me in line. Sure, I tell myself I can quit anytime but I'm just lying to myself, I know I can’t. It’s time for me to see that, to admit that I am powerless over all those juicy rich bright colors so creamy in texture and vibrant like confections in a Willy Wonka factory. WHAT? No, I wasn’t painting anything just now. What makes you think that? Oh, that? Nothing. Nothing at all, just a little um, raspberry jelly that’s all. There all gone now.

The Barn watercolor 22x30"
Anyway so as I was saying, color. The bane of all that is civilized and bland. It arouses wayward thoughts of self expression and unruly feelings of joyful exuberance. It must be kept under lock and key if not eradicated entirely. There is nothing pleasurable or more decent and respectable than a simple palette of two colors. A third color may even, upon special occasions, be included but, no more. We certainly don't want things getting out of hand. An artistic life with a properly guarded imagination can be quite fulfilling, especially with the judicious use of a third color on those few but special occasions.

Ouch! It hurts make it stop. Nope, sorry, can’t do it. I’m hooked. I’m not painting unless every darn tube of paint I own is sprawled out on the table in a pigment fiesta. Trays of pastels arrayed before me rainbows in sunshine. Each tiny package of color a joyous promise of beauty. Shades of hope and beauty, touched by light and imagination.

Yes, I love color. I love the way my brain interacts with the celestial light of our world and the shadows that lurk within. With each shade and hue there is a conversation that goes on in a place where there are no words, only your own emotional language whispering in your soul. And if it is done well, that whisper can become a song; a song to lift your spirit into the heavens or render it in two. We share the same Eternal Love affair with color and light as autumn leaves on a sunny day. Artists from the dawn of time have been capturing this impossible beauty. They have used it to move the greatest and most immeasurable weight in existence, the human soul.
Fine Young Ladies pastel 24x26"
Shadows and light, nothingness and everything, exceedingly simple and endlessly complex. How could I resist using something so glorious in absolute excess? Perhaps it comes from knowing darkness, from seeing the color drained from life or the light extinguished from within. Maybe it is a talisman we carry to remind us that the light still lives somewhere, even when we can’t see it. There to remind us in the darkened hours that the sun will shine again and when it does, it will touch the deepest of shadows, turning them into rich vibrant colors, ripe with the promise of life.


  1. Oh my gosh LeSan ~ My eyes are filling with tears which are overflowing to run down my cheeks. Beautifully written from the heart.

    Love and hugs ~ FlowerLady

  2. Good Morning LeSan! When I saw the first painting, my inner voice said: Haiti. When I read your last sentence, it said the same.

  3. Truly gorgeous work!They are all beautiful. The last one of pears..absolutely stunning!
    Wonderful work!

  4. LOVE Fine Young Ladies! Gorgeous colors!

  5. FLOWERLADY~ I am glad I could make you cry so early in the day. LOL Thank you for being so open to my words. I am very glad you understood my feelings here. :-)

    TATYANA~ As always you add such a lovely and thoughful touch, saying just the right thing to move my heart.

    KIKI~ Thank you for such a wonderful and generous compliment. It pleases me greatly that you liked the pears so much. They were one of my favorites and I loved the way they came out.

    SANDY~ Your comment was so nice to read this morning. Thank you very much. I wasn't sure of the color combination at first but it just seemed right somehow. I am very glad that you like it.

  6. They are all so nice, but I just love the Barn! Your paintings say so much, beautiful!

    PS I hope you really didn't end up in a ditch recently!

  7. Hello LeSan, Your posts are so radiant filled they last a good week... so not to be too hard on yourself! This is delightful at the same time bringing haunting thoughts as Tatyana so aptly notes. Your ghostly watercolor is just that ... a skeleton... ruins of what was... the layers of earth in movement... Brilliantly executed! I love your barn and the rich washes of colors in the snow. Your ladies are lovely, sensual and the colors fabulous. Your words both witty and deep... creating smiles and touching on torturous dark shadows... but you leave us with hope filled light and color. You are such a gifted artist!! ;>))

  8. Big WOW once again. Man you are talented. And speaking of which, I thought of you reading about a contest that you MUST enter. A humour writing contest over at Erma Bombeck's site. All you have to do is submit one of your blog entries.

  9. Beautiful work, LeSan. I love color. But, The Barn is beautiful.
    I love barns. Old barns, especially. You can feel the chill in the air, in this painting.
    I never worked with water colors. And, I can't make anything look right, without a brush. So, drawing never works for me.
    Needless to say, I envy your talent.

  10. Thanks again for sharing your artwork. You truly have a way with words and paint. I will return in hopes of seeing more!

  11. Right on, right on, right on. Ya Mama. You are sooooo right. What is this restraint about when nature is no good at it? Why else are my little ice pansies, dying and reviving, dying and reviving on my front porch in the freezing winter and popping out purple blooms the second the temperature goes above zero. I have often wondered if the people who hate colour, might be colour blind. Does that seem possible? I love your bit about how important it is to repress our urge for colour. Funny. I can't do it either. That third colour can jump on over and become 6 or 16, or....

    Love all three paintings. The pears are yummy.

    Take care,


  12. Hi LeSan - once I'd stopped laughing at the image your words conjured up, I fell in love with 'The Barn' painting. The others are gorgeous, but that one sings to my soul :)

  13. CATHERINE~ Thank you Catherine. I also love the barn painting. It is one of my very favorites. It is a barn up in the Skagit Valley next to a tulip field. The silo is gone now. It fell the very next year after I painted this. That was a melancholy feeling for me. Oh, and yes, the new year has started off in a bit of a ditch but not quite a literal one. The month is not over yet though so there’s still time. LOL

    CAROL~ Your comments are always so lyrical and kind. The castle painting was inspired by a scene in Jane Eyre. Oddly however, it was not the part where she returns to Thornfield Hall. It was the emotion I felt when she visits the grave of her childhood friend Burns. There was something deeply haunting in that for me. The gentleman who now owns the painting was the dearest man, he was deeply moved by it for his own reasons and even sent me cards long after the purchase telling me how it made him feel. That was greatly satisfying to me, knowing that the painting had found the best home. Thank you for your compliments. They carry me through.

    TERRY LYNN~ Terry you blow me away. Your confident support is amazing. Entering a contest seems so far out of my league. I am extremely flattered that you thought of me and thought I should enter. I’ll give it a look for sure. Thank you so much for being such a great cheerleader for me. You buck me up when I am so unsure of myself. --Worth more than your weight in gold my friend!

    PATCHWORK~ Thank you Linda! It’s funny that you say you can feel the chill with the barn painting because when I took the photograph of the barn it was surrounded by fields of tulips. I tried to paint it originally with the fields of color but quickly realized that it was the drama of the barn that had really drawn my eye. Barns haunt me, I remember them from my early childhood and they are places full of mystery in my mind’s eye. Of course in truth they are usually filled very mundane and often smelly things—but let’s not talk of that shall we? LOL You should give the watercolors another shot. Try dropping the paint directly into shallow puddles of water on the paper. Let the water move the pigments for you. It’s a lot of fun to see what they do on their own.

    ROSEY POLLEN~ Rosey I certainly hope you keep coming back. I look forward to your comments. They always make me smile and occasionally threaten to make me spew liquids out of my nose. Hehe. Thank you for the compliments my friend!

    BARBARA~ I knew you would understand the color commentary. Sort of preaching to the choir with that one. Hehe. From only my personal experience with color minimalists, they seem to be more of the personality style that is more comfortable with order and deliberation. Lots of color can be internally discordant for some I guess. I did have a very touching experience directly related to my use of color though: A woman who was losing her sight to macular degeneration fell in love with my work and wanted to be surrounded by it as the world slowly went dim around her. She wanted to see the vivid colors of the world before they were forever lost to her in darkness. It broke my heart.

    NUTTY~ The barn is definitely one of my favorite all time paintings. It was so simple in design but had so much emotion for me packed into it. I have wanted to paint a copy for my own collection but have yet to do it. I really should, shouldn’t I? heheh I am glad that you liked it and I especially liked the way you described your reaction to it. That was very special! :-)

  14. Well, I need to get back to work, and will have the images of your beautiful paintings to keep a smile on my face. I love them all, and can't pick a favorite!