All the Greys on Greene Street by Laura Tucker
Olympia lives in a world of artists: her mother a painter turned sculptor, her father an art restorer, and her father's studiomate Apollo. She enjoys assisting Apollo with grinding pigments and mixing his own paints. She too is an artist. But her medium is the Blackwing 602 pencil. She works strictly in black, white, and grey.
When events force her to temporarily give up sketching, she turns to watercolor. Her experiments with this medium reminded me of my early forays into the magic of pigments mixed with water and then applied to pristine white paper. I unearthed some of my childhood watercolors and paired them with some of Olympia's observations on color, art, and life.
"...a wash of blues...so deep and rich that looking at them made you feel like you were learning something."
"Apollo mixes colors for his own paintings too, which is why they're so beautiful they make your chest hurt."
It's not the worst thing, is it? To celebrate the extraordinary in the ordinary?
It was a relief to let things be a little blurry. I liked how forgiving watercolor was, how easy it was to pretend that you hadn't made a mistake.
"but there were hundreds of blues in there that I had no words for, smoky purples and faded teals, colors even Apollo might not have known the names for."
" learned that if I held the brush at the very end...and made a lazy stroke with my whole arm, I could lay down a luxurious swath of color."
"Dried gamboge doesn't look like much-just another sticky, ugly brown rock. But put a drop of water on it, and that rock will weep a tear so brightly yellow it will hurt your eyes."
"They turn difficult things into beautiful ones. They're the artists. And that's what you are."