This summer I went to a Sunday afternoon yard party and got to talking to a friend of mine named Stevie about buying a piece of his art. I have threatened to buy one many times. His stuff is interesting and smart and sometimes funny and always beautiful. He's popular with local businesses, so I see his stuff around all the time. As well I should; he's really good.
He told me that he was working with a new blue and the idea of armadas and I knew I had to see for myself. But let me start at the beginning.
When I was a kid loving the color red was a big part of my identity. I was pretty fierce about it. When I was 8 or 9 I designed my bedroom in entirely red, white and black, complete with an enormous Swatch wall clock in all of those colors. I dyed my hair red for years. I would test myself in paint stores, trying to pick out the truest red in color swatches. Oh goodness how I loved red.
For some reason I thought that I had to not like blue in order to like red, so I didn't like blue. I willfully refused to be moved by it and after a while my dislike for it became genuine. So imagine my surprise when I saw this tea towel in an antique shop at the age of 27, deeply steeped in my blue-hating identity.
I had always thought I hated turquoise, it being a member of the blue family and me associating it with southwest art and jewelry that I don't want to wear. Then I saw this towel and my world view changed. So now I know that there is a whole world of 1950's turquoise that I adore and it has acted as a gateway drug; I am now addicted to robin's egg hues and variations of navy blue, a thing I never thought would happen in a million years.
ALSO. I am totally fascinated with the history of whaling. I have read every book on the subject. I have been to the New Bedford Whaling Museum alone. I can think of nothing more dramatic and mysterious as spending 3 years on a boat in the open ocean hunting an enormous sea mammal, not even flying to the moon.
My love of whaling history became an interest in piracy which led to Matthew and I naming our cafe The Lady Killigrew (not ours now, we sold it) after a real lady pirate from the 16th century. So, as I have proven to you convincingly, I love blue and I love boats.
When I got to Stevie's apartment to see his new work, I felt a stir of synergistic serendipitous convergence, or something like that. His pieces are big and blue and full of unmanned boats. It having recently been my birthday I decided that I would buy myself a Stevie painting. Having a house full of art made by your friends is a sign that you are doing something right, don't you think?
None of his existing pieces would fit in my house as it is very small, so he said he'd paint me something special. And boy, did he.