Tuesday, December 7, 2010

landscapes, limens and mauve

It is definitely that time of year. The leaves are gone from the trees. Wisps of snow linger in the air.  Last night the wind was bringing in with great determination that cold cold air that turns the ground and the ponds hard and icy. Looking across to Massamont the woods are grey with just a touch of warm. A complex color that changes with the light.

I finish the wall hanging in grey. I am fascinated by the colors in this piece. Such a simple movement and design.  Does it hang vertically--like a tree?

Or is it a landscape? With bits of light in it. Stark but warm. Lots of hints of color.

 So many possibilities. What about using the color mauve? Pronounced to rhyme with stove.  Did you know that mauve was the first "invented" color? An 18 year old chemist in 1856 was trying to create artificial quinine. First it was called mauveine. Do check it out on Wikipedia.

I love the subtleties. How warm the bits of dusty red are. The complexities of the greys and blues. Such an interesting combination.

I love the subtleties of landscapes. Anne Truitt speaks of them as the line between the conscious and the unconscious--the limen of the world. Great word--limen.  I had to look it up myself. It comes from the Latin meaning threshold and is pronounced LY-men. From Wordsmith I find this great quote:

"Such to the dead might appear the world of living -- charged with information, with meaning, yet somehow always just, terribly, beyond that fateful limen where any lamp of comprehension might beam forth."
Thomas Pynchon; Against the Day; Penguin Press; 2006.

Pretty haunting isn't it? Perfect for this time of the year.

John O'Donohue--the Irish poet--spoke of landscapes as showing us the line between the inner and the outer world. A horizon that you are called to. Hmm. Check it out at the NPR show On Being. This is the time of that ambiguity when the inner and outer world are intertwined.

I love the thought of mauve. So many different mauves. A color that we can all recognize but also a created, invented color of the Industrial Age. Such a great contradiction. I want to make this quilt in all the different mauves--in dusty greens, slate blues, taupes--to capture all the moods of the horizon--what will I learn from this?  The thresholds--the ambiguities--the entrances. I see so many possibilities haunting me and want to go deeper. 

What do you think? Do you use the color mauve?


  1. Definitely love it, hung vertically like a tree. The mauve provides a warm contrast to the cool blues and grays.

  2. Lovely stuff, it reminded me of layers of rock as well.. funny too, being originally from CA, where the jagged lines would indicate a fault line! :) Love all the colors, even puce, mauve and magenta ( I think I just like saying the funny names!)

  3. Thanks. Yes, the colors do have great names. I may have to do a piece on puce just because....