01 February 2009

brown and grey, silence and snow

I have been rather taken by brown and grey lately. I never really got Rothko but visiting the exhibition at Tate Modern a few weeks ago, I had a bit of an epiphany. It was a Friday evening. The gallery was packed with people. But sitting on one of their wooden benches, I managed to do that thing that accomplished commuters can pull off after years of practice - completely disengage from the hubbub around me. (This can be a troublesome thing - I have several times in the last few weeks gone past my stop on the tube as a result of complete disengagement.) And that was it, looking at his brown and gray paintings, I got that quality that Sara Maitland in her Book of Silence described as as silence made visible.

Being a shallow individual, I got something else too - how well brown and grey work together. I pulled out all my grey stuff and started matching it up with brown and managed to recreate a rustic-fifties- spinster look that was just about perfect for the time of year. I've been very pleased with my drabness.

I've spent today sitting by the fire, reading a Brunetti mystery (more brown), darning those moth damaged scarves and polishing my shoes, no radio, no noise, revelling in the peace and quiet.


And now I feel quite recovered from the nasty bug I've had this week which left me unable to stomach anything other than Heinz tomato soup and milky drinks. It's snowing outside. The garden has disappeared under an icy duvet. I've just taken a carrot and two pieces of coal to some boys making a snowman. Magic.

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9 comments:

60 Going On 16 said...

So glad you're feeling better.

The icy duvet now stretches as far as Devon; we had our first snowfall this morning. The dogs love it but the cat remains unimpressed.

I have been wanting to read Sara Maitland's book since I saw an interview she gave to one of the Sunday supplements last year. What did you think of it? Living alone in a fairly remote village, silence is a constant companion here - apart from the radio, of course. Now, after eleven years of semi-isolation, I am ready for a little more human contact . . .

Liz said...

Yes, brown and grey (as well as black) are favourites in my palette so I really like what you have going on there. Sorry to hear you've been under the weather (speaking of which, I can do without this snow as we're off on a jolly later this week) but I'm sure the Venetian tale (which one?) helped the recovery process.

emmat said...

i think you've surpassed even your usual high standards with that photo. If it wasn't for the digital camera in the middle, I'd have imagined it was some 1920s tribute to Van Eyck by some little known British female painter that you'd spotted on your way round the tate. It's the most gorgeous photo and the colours are lovely. I too am glad to hear you are feeling better. Have to say, Donna Leon can definitely cheer me up on a bad day... (especially all those descriptions of the food!)

HA ha my word verification is skedsi - is that some new kind of sledge crossed with skis?

Anna said...

My kids have carefully constructed anatomically correct snowpeople in our front garden. I'm so proud...

purejuice said...

your self portrait really reminded me of this pic by ingres, which de kooning and gorky spent years looking at and arguing about, in the east village automats of downtown NYC in the 1950s.

purejuice said...

oops.
here's the link.
http://www.artchive.com/artchive/ftptoc/ingres_ext.html

purejuice said...

oops again.
it's Louise de Broglie, Countesse d'Haussonville, click on the name in the link above.

colleen said...

Thanks all for your best wishes. I think the cold snap has done away with all remaining bugs and the snow cheered me up immeasurably.

Liz - the one I was reading was Fatal Remedies,but any one would do the trick just as well. I could even revisit the Aeneid for Guido...

D - I found the silence book a bit of a mixed bag. Interesting observations on her personal experience of silence, but also over padded in parts.

Emma & PureJuice - Blimey!

Milo said...

Lovely self-portrait! They're not easy to do but that's a classic!