Deepest Blue

Shades of Indigo

Ocean or sky, it’s all the same; liquid or vapor, fluid, sky—

Look for the stars and wonder why you can’t remember your place, your name,

Your hopes, your fears, your heart, your dreams, or anything like a concrete fact,

But only sense, faintly, a world intact when the air and sea converge their streams.

When the blue engulfs both thought and time, what is the measure by which you live?

How many tears and breaths must give their blue to make the world so sublime?Digital illo from a photo: Deepest Blue

A Touch of Blue

 

photoJoy has a funny way of residing in our hearts: it’s never completely untouched by sorrow or the knowledge of trials and struggles. It requires a measure of trouble, in fact, for joy to exist. How else can we begin to know and appreciate the depth and breadth of true joy?

I was reminded of this today by one of my little hummingbird friends. They are frequently identified, these tiny flying powerhouses, as being most strongly attracted to red flora, to bright red and orange and sometimes yellow flowers. But they’re not that exclusive, really. They are aggressive and territorial and mercurial, all colors we tend to happily equate with so-called ‘hot’ colors, of course, but it hardly proves that red flowers are actually the best available attractants for hummingbirds.photo

The hummingbirds that hang around my back patio have other ideas. Not least of all, that their pleasure, and their urge to imbibe a grand zing of energy-booster, can come from what is presently their very favorite treat back there: the blue-blooming sage. It’s a hot color too, that it is; the blossoms on the lovely Salvia ‘Black and Blue’ practically scream for attention from amid the bold lime-green foliage of the plant, so nobody with a modicum of visual acuity, hummingbird or human or otherwise, is going to buzz by without giving it a good, longing look of admiration.

With what do we credit the boldest of blues? ‘Cool’, we call them. But just like the wildest, hottest of reds and yellows and oranges, intense blues are attention grabbers. They grip us by the heart just as easily as any other high-hued beauties. But the existence of both is necessary for us to understand the differences between them, and the power each has. Is ‘cool’ the metaphor for melancholy and The Blues a name for sorrow? Perhaps. Are red and those other ‘hot’ colors present in warming flames, in sunlight, in the brilliance of joy? Possibly.

Do all of them enrich our lives? Absolutely. Ask a hummingbird.photo

 

A New Lens

digital painting of a mixed media original

My world is water-colored . . .

Having spent much of my life near the coast, both at home and abroad, I am less of a swimmer than you might expect, though most of my water time has been spent near northern shores, if that explains anything for you. But I am greatly comforted by being near water without needing to be in it. Rivers, oceans, lakes and ponds, streams and waterfalls, puddles and pools alike all have their appeal and the sight and sound of them soothes my soul like few other things can do. A walk along a riverbank or beach boardwalk, out on the mud flats or wading in the cool fringes of a foaming inbound tide–all have the power to send the complications of life fleeing, if only for a while.

Not so surprising, then, that many of my artworks play with the cool hues of water and the shadowy welcome of its associations. Whether in the impressionistic and abstract styles seen here or in images quite specific to the sea, the hold that water has on my heart must make its appearance often just to comfort me.digital photo-paintingAll the same, as a northerner by birth and years of residence, I have always been wildly fascinated too by the idea of those mythic turquoise tropical waters whose gem-like clarity would surely entice me in, offering the siren-like assurance that I must be utterly safe in them since I can see practically forever in their depths. I know that this is not entirely true, but the appeal of their warmth and seemingly pure glassy transparency has its potent pull on my imagination anyway. So it was a bit of a fait accompli that I should love it when I did at last have my chance to step into the perfectly sheer aquas and blues of the Caribbean for the first time. It was everything I’d hoped, and of course a little something more.mixed media + textSwimming in Warm Water

I:     Skimming along as if in flight Just under the surface of a lake, I can look up and see through its tinted lens A circular and absurdly distorted universe Of inbent trees examining me in kind, Of ship-sized cumulus zeppelin clouds whizzing by, The pillowed prows of ducks plowing past me And convoluted birds careening In zigzag traffic from shore to shore.

II:     Looking down, I see dazzling curtains of kelp Dyeing mottled sunlight as it Cooks the lake like a giant kettle full of fish. Flitting, darting shapes shoot up to nip me Or casually brush by And I exult in floating a subtle touch Toward a parti-colored veil-tailed fish When it fixes me with its dully silver, Unemotional lidless eye.

digital painting made from an oil pastel drawing

Perhaps I shall always be looking for a sea change . . .

Because for all that we know and admire about its clarity and simplicity, and surely for its necessity to life, water is also still a source of great mystery and power and its depths both literally and metaphorically may never be fully plumbed.

Blue, She Said!

That most fa-BLUE-lous of women, Ms. Cyndi Bookchick, just posted about her eternal color love, blue, and while I’m mostly noted as a whopping fool for unlimited color of every kind, I am, among those multitudes, deeply fond of all shades, tints, and hues of the blues. So with that friendly little bump from Cyndi’s blue-sky moment, I am moved to share some pretty blues with alla youse.photophotoBurning in Midwinter

Turquoise of the hottest hue

(A word not often linked with blue)

Bears in its heart the sun’s true fire

From its desert home, where it may transpire

Even in this day of detachment, cool

And belief in only the Facts of school,

That mystic magic and alchemy

Still stalk abroad and begin to be

Unearthed in windstorm when the stone

Under the sand is polished, blown

To visibly capturing sun’s wild rays

To give bold turquoise stone such blazephotophoto

Am I Blue?

In a word, no.

The relentlessly blue sky of triple-digit Texas, still occasionally fooling me into thinking it would be “nice” to “go outside” and “do stuff” shortly before I snap back to sanity–and if I don’t on my own, the giant slap from the outdoor air will reboot that for me instantaneously–could conceivably lead to a little case of the blues. The prospect of job-prospecting can certainly be azure-tinted. The creeping necrosis of ancient age can induce a bout of cyan-shaded maundering in many.

blue poppy

Cerulean sweetness

But really, mes amis, isn’t there a lovely side to the melancholy, a lure inherent in the dark, even? Seems to me it’s part of the whole Artiste mythos, a contributing factor in the raging Romanticism that makes everyone think it’s okay at some level to be utterly bonkers in a gothically twisted way if one happens to be a Creative Type. Anyone that knows me the slightest degree beyond phone-book-listing knows that I think it’s a massive heap of hooey to say one can’t be truly creative without suffering deeply or that misery somehow engenders and enhances artistic brilliance. I’m more of the poster child for Better Living Through Chemistry and stand around shaking my scolding digit (choose one) at those who use such dangerous rubbish as an excuse not to take their treatment. If the treatment (whatever therapy, from talk to shock) isn’t making you more of the creative soul you were born to be, more, in fact, the very person you were born to be, that’s a failure to find the right recipe of treatment for your individual needs, not proof that treatment is not for you. And decidedly not proof that being unwell is preferable in any way to being whole and contented.

That doesn’t mean I expect or want to be leaping deliriously from one sugar-spun rose petal to another while pan-pipes tootle gaily in the copse. One-note existence of any kind is guaranteed to annoy, at least before it bores you to death. So I’ll take my bumps on the way, settle under the lapis lid of passing sadness when it can’t be avoided. But aside from any urge to grouse, I’ll also take what inspiration I can from the blue-tinged moments and dash back as quickly as I can into the cheering light of a strangely blue-sky world.