Put a Little Mustard on It

digital illustrationDespite my admiration for—nay, adoration of—color, I can be a little timid about being bold and colorful myself. Whether it stems from any inner quirk or flaw or simply is, I can’t begin to guess, but when I become aware of my fearful nature beginning to stifle other aspects of my personality I get a little irritated with my sheepish side and want to jump up on the table and do a dazzling tap-dance that ends with a spectacular back flip, splashing adrenaline into the hearts of all others present.

I don’t know how to tap dance. That kind of throws a monkey wrench into Plan A, even if I did have the remotest idea of how to do a back flip of any kind other than the I-just-got-pushed-off-a-cliff kind, and since that one ends fairly inevitably in messy death, the whole of the plan quickly loses its appeal.

But I can make artworks, and colorful ones at that, so as an acceptable Plan B I am quite often glad to whip out the spicier colors and wilder strokes of a bold design to assuage my spirits and reassure myself that I’m not entirely straightjacketed by my timidity. It’s good and wholesome to kick my own self in the pants occasionally (as well as less gymnastic, no matter how it sounds, than back-flips and tap dancing) and remember that I may be mild-mannered in general but even the quietest soul can sometimes have a momentary outburst and not only survive it but kind of relish the shock that it gives those around me who have also forgotten the possibility of my doing any such thing.

14 thoughts on “Put a Little Mustard on It

    • Delighted! I’m so impressed with the way you manage to seamlessly merge brilliance and boldness of color with sometimes extremely delicate subjects; your hummingbirds, for example, which in nature are indeed flashy little creatures, become astounding jewels and stained-glass dashes of brilliance, but even a more meditative portrait or landscape doesn’t become dulled down by sleepy coloring. Wonderful, inspiring stuff! 🙂

  1. Here, here!!! My ‘colorful’ side rarely breaks out, and then almost never except in the company of close friends. To fearful of what people might think, I guess.

    A lovely image, Kathryn! Hugs from the both of us.

  2. I thought when you mentioned ‘mustard’ and ‘table’ that you were going to shock your fellow dinners by, like I, putting mustard on your fries…and, if one does not feel like dancing on the table when you have just relished fantastic deep red/brown BBQ, cool white/orange/green coleslaw, and yellow mustard on tanned fantastic fries, I feel sorry for them. (Yep, it’s lunch time around these parts.)

    • Mustard in the American mind being dominated by the neon-yellow, vinegar-based variety that it is, this idea of fry-dipping shouldn’t astound your friends so much, if they have any knowledge of the long British tradition of malt vinegar on fish and chips, not to mention the closer-to-home fact of ketchup’s getting its brightness from vinegar. Funny how stuck in our ways we get. I, on the other hand, didn’t try the northern European thing of mayonnaise on fries until there and once I did, wham! I was addicted. (Of course, the Dutch make killer fries anyway!!!) My newest addiction on fries comes from a Dallas restaurant we visit regularly for their spectacular beef dip sandwich. It’s so big that Richard and I split the meal, and he doesn’t like horseradish so we always get their horseradish cream on the side. After using it on the sandwich the first time, I experimented with it on fries and now, none of it gets to the sandwich at all.

      And now *I’m* hungry!! 😀

  3. I love this Kathryn. When I first started writing just 2 years ago after the diagnosis of MS seemed to catapult me in that direction, I wrote a poem about how I had always been a cream and beige personality. But the diagnosis did something to that and now I need colour, lots of it! I ditched all my neutral cushions, cups and mugs, pictures on the walls etc and they have all been replaced by vibrant colours. I even hought a red cardigan!! And this Christmas, a friend who had read my poem in my poetey book, bought me two brilliantly multicoloured mugs and a matching bowl I love them!

    I cant explain any of this and I guess I dont need to. So anything bold and vibrant you post I will be there!! 😄 Xx

    • Hurray! Yes, bright colors can lift the spirits amazingly. So can rich color schemes, even the not-so-intensely vivid ones. And bold black and white. But while I have all the respect and admiration needed to love cream and beige (come to think of it, I’m wearing a beige sweater-jacket today), I find as I get older I happily veer toward those more intense combinations more often!
      xoxo 😀

  4. Your colorful art colors my world, for sure!

    ‘… even the quietest soul can sometimes have a momentary outburst and not only survive it but kind of relish the shock that it gives those around me who have also forgotten the possibility of my doing any such thing.’ You could’ve been speaking of me, Kathryn! XO

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