Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Colorman (a gift from Luisa Perkins)

Dear Luisa,

I’ll agree with you at the outset that this book, The Colorman, is not perfect.
Yet, much like when I opened your cookbook, Comfortably Yum, for the first time and found a soul-food-mate, I read this and thought, How did she know?

...about my passion for color? That the mere mention of a hue like alizarin, ultramarine, raw umber, burnt sienna...sends me a clear, precise image. That I can see these colors so clearly in my head I can almost taste them and touch them. That those passages about the mixing, using, and forming of color would suck me in, envelop me, squeeze out my own passion like dabs on a palette, and make me want to swim in puddles of pure color?

...that I, too, recently received a new box of paints and immediately squeezed them out onto a clean palette, creating daring new mixes, watching the colors flow together? That once I closed the book I would go immediately to the Natural Pigments website to see what they have to offer my palette? That reading this made me want to PAINT.

...that I dream of living in just such a place as the Hudson River Valley, and that I’d love walking the trails, touring the paint company, driving along the river, exploring the shops, picturing the entire place as if I were there? (How did you know that I would take secret delight at the mention of Dar Williams in the acknowledgments, wanting to think of her as my neighbor and friend too.)

...that this story (while admittedly taking a back-seat to the poetic color descriptions) about a painter finding her voice, looking at taking her work to the next level, plunging head-first into the art world of galleries, critics, and also my next step? I’m a little too familiar with the fears, the insecurities, the politics, the passion...and it was good for me to see this artist both fail and succeed.

And how could anyone possibly have known that this story about a woman in search of her mother would be so deeply resonant for me, that I (often subconsciously) both mourn and seek my own mother in my music, in my writing, and in my artwork? It stirred something so deep in me to read about another woman’s loss, search, discovery, and healing.

It’s a rare friend that can find and give not the perfect book, but a book that will provide a deeply satisfying experience and suit the reader, dare I say? Perfectly.

Thank you.