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mediterranean light

March 31, 2010

This is what I remember: the blinding yellow light, everywhere.  Everything ablaze with the light of the sun; ten degrees cooler in the shade, the awning overhead at every outdoor cafe, old men sitting on a park bench under a tree, their brown leathery skin that never really got away from the hot heat covered from it for the moment.  The light along the Mediterranean is an illusion, and we don’t see anything like it here in Chicago or anywhere so far north of the equator.  But there’s a few minutes on a bright morning when the sun shines straight ahead as it rises, a direct line at you, intrusive enough for those few minutes to get a feeling for what the sun is like all day along the sea.

No. 278: 3/31/2010

Color is my day-long obsession, joy and torment. To such
an extent indeed that one day, finding myself at the deathbed
of a woman who had been and still was very dear to me, I
caught myself in the act of focusing on her temples and
automatically analyzing the succession of appropriately graded
colors which death was imposing on her motionless face.

– Claude Monet

No. 279: 3/30/2010

The Mediterranean has the color of mackerel, changeable
I mean. You don’t always know if it is green or violet, you
can’t even say it’s blue, because the next moment the changing
reflection has taken on a tint of rose or gray.

– Vincent Van Gogh

No. 280: 3/29/2010

Shut your eyes, wait, think of nothing. Now, open them … one sees
nothing but a great coloured undulation. What then? An irradiation
and glory of colour. This is what a picture should give us … an abyss
in which the eye is lost, a secret germination, a coloured state of grace
… loose conciousness. Descend with the painter into the dim tangled
roots of things, and rise again from them in colours, be steeped in the
light of them.

– Paul Cezanne

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