A little of what you fancies

Every so often a colour will cruise alongside me for a while, and then accost, assault and mug me.  It will take up residence  and refuse to budge until something (who knows what) has been worked through.Some years ago it was ultramarine blue.  You know the one I mean – that saturated, dense colour which is only itself and nothing else.  It seemed to de-laminate from the internal murk and rise slowly to the surface until it had lodged itself behind my retina.  It needed to be mirrored by objects in the external world.  I sought it out everywhere, looking for it out of the corner of my eye, restless until I found it.  I bought little bits of it to strew about the place – dishes, glasses, plates.  But that wasn’t enough and so I painted a room in it (well, actually two) and it was a strange thing -the walls seemed to pack flat and fall clean away into space so that I found myself sitting in some humming, velvety place in the upper firmament.

From Annie Sloane's Colour in Decoration.

And then it all died away and left me in peace.  When I see the colour now – in bits of detritus from that time, a chipped bowl, a stained dish – I look sideways at it with oblique glances, the way people look at past lovers.

And then for a few years there were no grand passions.  There was (and still is) black and all its attendant courtiers.  Bathrooms, studies and bedrooms have worn ebony, charcoal and blackberry garb, but those are undemanding, calming colours and so it has been more of a peaceful co-habitation than  a full-scale invasion.

But recently a surprising development has been taking shape. Pink – a soft powdery pink, a thing of no outline, no more than a murmur  or a haze really – this has been creeping up on me steathily, like a cat with buttered paws. It thinks I haven’t noticed, but I have. My eyes seek it out and when I find it I am soothed by it, as if it brushes my internal organs softly, in a downwards motion. If you knew me away from this blog you would know how distinctly un-pink I am, but there it is.  We don’t seem able to choose our invaders, but I am sure we can get something from them.

So anyway I’m putting it here, a flag in the sand, so that when I return from my travels I’ll find it and be oriented (or maybe not, but I hope so).   I can see it in the Regency Wreck – in the first floor room, a gesture of something other in a plain grey room.  A powdered brush maybe, in the hand of a Quaker.  A rustle  of silk.  A blush of the fanciful (does you good).

(I do, for once, have the references for these last three pictures, but I’m buggered if I can find them.  Underneath the suitcases, lists of instructions to Ms Pimp, dogs-who-sense-something-is-afoot, passports, thermal underwear, trousers which need mending, cameras which need charging, canvases which need painting, books which need writing, camels which need watering, rivers which need fording, houses which need building, and elephants which need grooming. Ets which need cettering.  So I will post at some later, calmer date).

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17 Responses to “A little of what you fancies”

  1. Oh boy, do I have a story for you about

    “ultramarine blue”

    John Saladino is the subject…..and it is actually “spooky”!

    He gets messages from another dimension…….I am certain of it!

    Ultramarine Blue! Don’t let me forget!

  2. Okay. I am completely and totally obsessed!

    Jeffrey Bilhuber uses these rugs right an left. Why cannot I find them”

    They are the “original’ sisal rugs…. more than a hundred hours have spent searching!

    Where the hell are they?

    One was in your picture today! Do I have to call Mr. Bilhuber?

  3. the rug I speak of is in the entry! Wherethehell is it?

    Now; I have ranted enough.

    what color would you call the sofa? (I could write 19 books about color that no one would even pick up….let alone read!)

    Some way smart person will tell me the name of this color…..”Orchid”? Does that work…..divine divine.

    Penelope

  4. Never have I read such a beautiful description of a well-lived life!
    Honestly.

    Bravo!!!

    ps the elephant part is my fave!

    You know, don’t you , we ALL have ADD! No one who is creative does NOT have “ADD”

    My very talented and gifted “shrink” says…..”All my clients have ADD!! My clients are all in creative fields…..One cannot be creative without ADD!” And she said……”I refuse to call it a ‘disorder’ It is a ‘gift’”!!!!

    Pretty much sums that up!

    Is the color of that beautiful sofa……..”orchid” I may have to ask John Saladino!

    • Oh, I do wish I could tell you where those rugs could be got, but I don’t know. THe picture – I had thought I’d credited it but it seems I hadn’t – is from an old book I have by Annie Sloane and Kate Gwynn called ‘Colour in Decoration’. I love that book. It was published in 1990, so I think you’re right – that kind of rug is ‘original’. The house pictured is in County Donegal, in Ireland. Maybe you should contact Mr B – surely he’d give you his source?

      As for the pink – it seems to hover between pink and an almost-purple. I think ‘orchid’ is a wonderful name. Maybe ‘orchid creme’ because I love ‘violet cremes’ so much.

      And the 19 books on colour – I think you should write at least one! I’d lend you my elephant for the section on grey (and its toenails for the section on pink).

      If I don’t get to hear this story about ultramarine blue I shall remind you!

      • Okay! Here it is so I don’t forget! The walls in entire inside of our house which we built 13 years ago is in “lime wash”….and in the master bath there are some “ultramarine blue” border tiles. I LOVE my people who do lime wash; and she begged me to do an “ultramarine blue ceiling!” (it is kind of a curving up ceiling); so I did. It didn’t feel right. Literally two days after we moved in; John Saladino came over to see the entire house. I had my yellow pad and my pencil; and I asked him to please share his opinion about everything! (I consider him a complete and absolute genius!) (I am going to write a blog post about all his suggestions…..funny) Anyway, he walks into the master bathroom; looks up and groans……….”The lime washer talked you into this! Awful! It looks like a “Greek Restaurant” (he pronounces the middle syllable!) Way too heavy! He was, of course, right! But it was a happy accident because she lime washed over it with a pale blue; there are little bits of the ultramarine peeking out……It is gorgeous!!

        Thanks for sparking a blog post idea! I have to learn to think like a “blogger”! Which is basically telling my favorite stories!

        This is a good one! (the whole story of what he said,etc!!!)

      • Your house, from what I’ve seen, is beautiful. Hard to think of a wrong note in it. And actually, I’m quite interested in ceilings painted a different colour to the rest of the room – can’t decide what I think. I’ve seen, for instance, black ceilings in white rooms and in the pictures they look good, but in reality..?

        I’ll look forward to your post on John Saladino, who I don’t know but he’s obviously incisive and frank!

  5. First pic reminds me of Helen Frankenthaler who left this planet only a few days ago. A Mistress of Colour she was indeed.
    The “pink” issue makes me think you are in pursuit of romance, or maybe a bit of light relief. Have a safe and lovely trip.

    • I’m reading of Helen F’s death all over the blogosphere and until now didn’t know of her existence.

      I think you’re right about the pink – some light relief would be fantastic. It’s been a year of drudgery, on the whole.

      Have a good new year Suzanne, with good things in it.

  6. Y’all: You can get that entry rug in America at Pier 1. I had one in my dining room in the mountains. They are great for entries and dining areas because they are dirt cheap and easily replaceable. I love how you are now glancing at ultramarine like a former lover. That is how I am with pink now. With three girls, I cannot even look at it except for linens, flowers, and china. You are the best writer in the blogoshpere!! I notice Penny found you as well.
    Best,
    Liz

    • Pier one doesn’t have them anymore! But I found them! Finally!

      They are called “Honan square” rugs; and they come in 12″ squares that can be sewn together. Truly inexpensive; and they look fantastic!!!

    • That’s the problem with colour pashes – there’s an urgency to be surrounded by the them, and of course you think it will be forever. But then when the passion fades, as it inevitably does, how do you live with them? Walls are easy to re-paint but I have my eye on pink sofas and nothing but pink sofas! (or ‘orchid creme’). A sobering realisation to hear that you are past pink and that people do actually move beyond it…

  7. My mind was set in a whirl with your titillation pink. It’s so intimate and shy, so sensual and innocent. The inside of things, the hidden parts, the blush the pure pink of baby flesh. The perfect colour for a lounge on which one with fair skin can rest.

    A colour which seeks to be surrounded by dominance of contrasting grey to set it off.

  8. Honan matting is similar to Seagrass matting and was a very cheap floor covering used by many of us in the sixties. We would not want ot go there again. A very “trendy” floor covering used in struggling architects and advertising offices or in your first flat. Impossible to clean after a party (think nasty cigarette ash, food particles and hair clips, toe nails, small crawling insects etc). Easy to trip on when wearing high heels. You can still buy it in bales if your the only sort of person who learns by doing.

  9. without wanting to sound too new-agey (but failing miserably) pink is the colour of unconditional love, maybe the crummy year has put you in the mood for it. I had a run in with it for many years, I’m still quite keen but not so desperately. The obsessive running helps. Enjoy the cold and send my best to England!

    • Well, Suzanne thinks it could be light relief and you’re suggesting unconditional love – I’ll happily take either! I’d have been with you once on the running, but not healthy enough at the moment. And I’ll wait until I find a suitable place and from there send your best to the UK.

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