Go Back to Finger Painting
Remember the smeary freedom and tactile bliss? How you could fill the page as it curled with fire and became uniquely yours, yellow never just yellow and red never lonely red.
The fluidity of identities, a meld of hues and primaries, of places, lands and waters crossed, capsized emotions. Light and its absence, the greatest sorrows, fragmented and unpredictable. By the time you finger your colour it’s already changed.
Take Klee whose watercolours shift according to your gaze. His Architecture of the Plain depends on conjecture. Some days deliver its pleasing synchronicity – darker blues and greens defining margins left and right – and the coloured rectangles overlap, now raspberry, now vermillion. Fleeting moments pass and all you see is collision, hear a noisy argument, colours clamouring for space.
Klee knew what he was doing – flat as a checked shirt pressed on an ironing board, yet there’s such depth to the painting, you want to put your hand through the paper and feel around, you want to wear your shades, tag your name graffiti-style to the lowest rainbow stripe.
This is a multicoloured manifesto of love. Darkness and light in perfect Greek proportionality, an artful construction based on math and spontaneity where form is all there without being too visible.
Look carefully: the ratio of the smaller part (the yellows, say) to the larger part (the reds) equals the ratio of the larger part to the entirety (the painting). Even your fleeting childhood, even your fingers painting reflect a perfect symmetry where
yellow is to red
equals red is to (yellow plus red).
See what I mean?
The painting is greater than the sum of its brushstrokes.
Cora Siré is the author of three books. Her latest novel, Behold Things Beautiful, was a finalist for the Quebec Writers’ Federation Paragraphe Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction in 2017. Her poetry, short stories and essays have appeared in many anthologies and in magazines such as Arc Poetry, Literary Review of Canada, Geist, The Puritan, carte blanche and Montreal Serai. Based in Montréal, she often writes of elsewheres drawing on her encounters in faraway places and her family’s history of displacement. For details, please visit her website, www.quena.ca.
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