Brown is Good


I have just returned from the hardware store (needed some MDF board cut to size - works for tiny paintings, as long as it is well primed with gesso). Remember, home is in a medium-sized town where the emphasis is on agricultural and service industries, so it is not a given that a lefty-leaning female artist will always be completely understood. Over the years visits to panel beaters, tyre shops, car garages, hardware stores have been fraught with ‘isms… paternalism, sexism, racism to name a few. These days things are a bit better, perhaps because savvy businesses have cottoned on to the spending power of women, but I still have a residual nagging feeling.

Today was refreshing. As I scanned the counters for a friendly-looking assistant, a blushing young man in khaki and boots caught my eye. I explained what I wanted, trying not to be too overbearing and leaving the planning of the cutting list to him and the computer software. He apologised sweetly for the estimated three day wait for the cutting - three days! Still, I maintained my composure, trying to pass for an average customer. Eventually I couldn’t help myself and produced a sample that I had brought with me, just to check that we were talking about the same thickness of board. This little board I had lovingly prepared with gesso and then transparent layers of Ultramarine Blue and Dioxazine Violet. He looked a little uncomfortable when he saw it, and apologised again, saying that it was the same thickness but unfortunately they didn’t have it in purple. No problem, I said, brown is good. I left with a happy heart. (and he managed to get the board cut in ten minutes!)

On the way home, I had to pull off the road to pick some of the most beautiful Kiaat seeds that I had ever seen. It must be the drought conditions. Several passers-by also stared at the contorted tree, laden with angel-like seeds in glowing Lemon Yellow with a touch of Titanium White and Viridian Green, and asked me what I was looking at.  
Keeping it real.