Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Diane Churchill's Paintings: Mojacar Red

When I first met Diane Churchill at the Fundacion Valparaiso, an artists and writers colony in Mojacar, Spain, she was working small, mostly sketches.  It wasn't until we were back in the states, and I saw an exhibition of her work in New York, that I realized how much the colors of Mojacar had saturated her paintings.

There were the colors of our long walks down dirt roads, past pomegranate and fig trees, the Prussian blue of the Mediterranean, the hot sun, the reds and violets of plants floating up. But you didn't have to know Mojacar to be drawn to these colors.  Yet I liked being reminded of the place, and made to see it again, see it differently through Diane's transforming colors.  She did not paint the harsh aspects of Mojcar, which is built on a former sea bed.  The hills thrust up as if from volcanic eruptions; the roosters crow before dawn, tearing apart the violet-pink sky. What a racket!  And packs of dogs race down the dirt roads.

Diane is still working with red.  There's violet, too.  Orange and white.  

Can poets work this way?  Choose a color?  Write a suite of poems in red?  Or any other color?  I'm not sure.  Maybe one of you reading about Diane's work will try a suite of poems in a color you cannot live without.   But then, is there any color you or any of us can live without?  I would not erase one color from our palette.  

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