The world has been at “Sixes and Sevens” lately (I first heard that phrase years ago in the play THE SKIN OF OUR TEETH by Thornton Wilder, my one and so far only venture into acting.) The total insanity of national and international news sometimes just washes over me and makes me feel … can I even describe it? Middle-aged and cynical? Sad and wrung out? If you’re old enough to remember the 60’s and you’re not frustrated, you’re not paying attention.
This is when gardens and open spaces are critical – close to home and easy to get to. Earlier this week I was able to spend a few quiet moments in the rose garden at Avery Park. The sweet scent was soothing, and in spite of the park designers’ best efforts to install all benches facing tree trunks instead of roses, I found a shaded spot where I could see to draw just this little snippet of the garden.
At first I was annoyed that pretty much all I could see were white roses. My grandmother used to say that white flowers were pointless – if you can’t have color, why bother?
Drawing the curliques of the little run of Victorian fencing forced me to slow down mentally and concentrate: up, down, and around, over and over. The breeze in the trees was reassuring. As I began to paint, I decided I was glad of the white roses, they were not clamoring for attention, not insisting that I mix just the right shades to achieve their colors. They were like cold clear water on a scorching day. My intention was to finish by writing something profound in the bottom right corner, but my mind went to mush, so I used the space for a palette square “quilt” (which had a surprising lot of colors even with the white roses!). And I felt so much better afterward: a final drawing to finish off this sketchbook, and a few minutes’ peace to carry with me into the fray. Life’s Rich Pageant Marches On.