Thursday, July 11, 2013

Midnight Sun Palette

A friend who is traveling in Alaska texted me today a photo of the "daylight" horizon viewed from his ferry last night at nearly midnight.

I was up to my elbows in oil paints, 24 tiny sand-blasted vessels awaiting their multi-color treatment, and, well, if I didn't end up painting one of them those same midnight-sun colors! To be exact: Payne's grey, verditer blue, zinc white (hint of Prussian). And to think that these will be shipped tomorrow to a gallery in Maine, where a stranger will lay out cash for one of these pieces with no inkling of the inspiration from whence those particular colors came.

There's something particularly enchanting about that, I think. That this thread of inspiration originated in the Gulf of Alaska, in view of glaciers, traveled via the marvels of modern technology to a small house/studio in Seattle (the garden in lush bloom, the crocosmia luring hummingbirds, a Stellar's jay alight on the suet feeder), where the colors were squeezed from tubes onto a porous surface, smoothed & blended, fired, and then wrapped in blank newsprint, stuffed into recycled wine boxes, set out in larger cartons for our reliable UPS driver, then trucked cross-country 3,000 miles to a coastal town on another ocean. And I'll never see them on the gallery shelf!

I believe that some essence of spirit travels with these pieces, embedded in the layers of color — some fragment of the music I was listening to, the conversation that might have been taking place, even possibly a hint of the coffee cooling in my cup, with milk. A slant of afternoon light, caught in the angles of the prism hanging from the west window, distorting for just a glance all the colors into a rainbow's array —

I know, in fact, that all of this is true: that these colors entered into me through my eyes, then traveled out again through my hands.

And what spark, what flare of intuition will compel some kind stranger to see this glass and feel a shiver of cool northern breeze at her neck, breathe in barely a nuance of deep woods, lucent glacier, sense a trace of salt-spray on her cheeks? And know the trail leads back and back, past rutted road and ramshackle cabin, to some unnameable heart of intention, to an unseeable light impossibly blue and wrenched from a dream-haze night after unremitting night?

Just this.
photo courtesy of Jed Myers

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