Tuesday, March 17, 2009


A few weeks ago the first assignment in my studio painting class was to paint a tomato. It sounds fairly straightforward at first blush. It's red paint, green for the stem, and hey, presto! You have a tomato.

Not by a long shot.

First thing to consider, what shape is the tomato? What place does it occupy on the picture plane? How is the scene lighted? Is the canvas vertical, like a page, or horizontal, as in a landscape?

A litany of further choices proceed. I discover that cadmium red medium is nowhere near the yellowish, orangey, firecracker red of a real tomato. How much yellow do I mix in? What color are the areas of highlight? What about the shadows? Before I was finished, I was ready to engage in the time-honored tradition of throwing tomatoes, I was so frustrated!

It seems to me that our frustration over the economy and all the other angst we are experiencing right now has come to a head over AIG and the bonuses paid out. We are angry, we feel cheated by the wealthy, we're afraid, and we feel powerless. So powerless, in fact, that maybe all we can do is throw tomatoes.

The one single thing I was most grateful to see today turned out to be the headline on USA Today. It had "AIG" in huge font, splattered with a picture of a yellowish, oranegy, firecracker red tomato!

Makes me wonder if we'll resort to throwing real tomatoes or, God forbid, worse...before all this is over.

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