Tuesday, January 14, 2020

New Color Palette on Modern Hanging Art Mobile from Mark Leary Designs

Mobile: The Bakersfield (44” x 23”)

On paint
“If I could be any color,” said fox, “I’d be happy.”
“But that’s not a color,” explained crow.
“Oh, and grateful, too,” fox smiled.

Thoughts while making
They were yellow. Like my mom’s backyard daffodils. Like the scrambled eggs dad made on Saturday mornings. A no. 2 pencil. Hope.

Spread over 18 miles and dotting a monotonic landscape, each was nearly 20 feet tall, almost 30 feet in diameter. 1760 in total.

In the fall of 1991, I drove down from Oakland to meet my mom and younger brother on the Grapevine, the massive canyon that connects southern to central California.

As a kid, we’d driven that stretch both ways every summer. Going north from San Diego, looking out the passenger seat window, a feeling of leaving the world behind, ears popping with altitude, a hundred adventures waiting. Returning south at summer’s end, a mix of fear and excitement of what the new school year would hold.

Depending on the season, the Grapevine’s hills were painted anything from lime green to weathered brown. Yet if fortune (+ rain + sun) smiled, there was a riot of yellows, oranges, reds, purples, and blues.

Goldfields, tidytips, and phacelia. Fiddlenecks, monolopias, and lupines. Van Gogh, Miro, and Picasso. Klimt, Giacometti, and Rothko. Your world an orgy of colors dry brushed in three dimensions.

Ostensibly, we were meeting to see Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s “The Umbrella” art installation. Enormous parasols shading the rolling hills from a mild October sun. But, really, we were meeting to give and get hugs and say “I love you.”

As I was painting this mobile, its vivid colors reminding me of thoughts thunk as I looked out the car window as a kid, and that windy fall day, and gratitude for the connection that art enables between us all.

If you could hop in your car and go anywhere in your history today, where would it be and why?

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