The Hillhouse

The Journey of a Mother and Son

Blue March 16, 2014

It’s probably the cold. Day four and it’s still pretty bad. My nose is sore, I’m pooped and this endless winter isn’t helping. My poor kid is fed up too, and he’s not even sick. But God bless that little man, he finds joy enough to keep both of us afloat when I’m at the very end of my rope. Not saying that Elihu hasn’t felt it too – oh he has. He’s had his mini-meltdowns, been brought to a point of near weeping for the endless cold and indoor living. But he rebounds fairly well. Better than I do.

House-bound as we are we’ve had to make do like the rest of the world in our northern neighborhood. But even with the gift of a new tv in our basement, we’ve found other things to keep us entertained. Good thing too; I’m fairly ready to sink into despair. A quick visit to the Studio today was a bit discouraging and had my mood becoming even darker; the workers have torn out more of the walls than we’d originally planned on. It was not a happy surprise. Guess it was necessary. Must have been some additional damage, I don’t know. It’s Sunday, and there are no answers today. Gotta get thru til tomorrow before I find out where we’re at now. But for the moment, I rest in a very blue mood.

I’ll get to bed soon, heal myself with a generous night’s sleep, and then rally tomorrow. Another long week ahead, more on my plate than I can ever see achieving, but what can I do? Either give in or push back. Right now I don’t feel the strength to do a single thing. But knowing that I share my life with such a boy as Elihu gives me the inspiration I need to keep it together just a little longer. After all, blue moods don’t last forever….

IMG_0803

A little music….

IMG_0776

and then some tower-building.

IMG_0791

Impressive, huh?

IMG_0822

In the end, it’s always about the birds…

IMG_0815

Because they’re such a big part of our daily lives.

IMG_0849

Inspired by his desire for Spring, Elihu drew this lovely picture. I had not the heart to tell him that the reeds were as blue as the jays… He would have been heartbroken that his use of color wasn’t accurate. But notice what a lovely mood has been created precisely because of the blue palette…

IMG_0844

Maybe blue’s not such a sad color after all.

IMG_0830

Let’s hope a good night’s rest helps us do away with the winter blues…

 

15 Responses to “Blue”

  1. Gene Burnett Says:

    Wow! Great picture. Talented kid right there. GB

  2. hobacaitbe Says:

    Nice post, at my age I’m still drawing stick figures.
    Ed

  3. Eric Schultz Says:

    That’s a fine painting. I have no problem with non-literal colors. Your son should keep on painting just the way he wants, and he will continue to do some good work.

    Here are a few thoughts about color and seeing color. It could very well be that color only really exists in our minds. Color is defined by various wavelengths in the electro-magnetic spectrum. Blue is about 400 nanometers in length, and red is about 700 nanometers long (if I’m remembering correctly from a class that I took in 1984). Our eyes pick up light rays, focused through our lenses, and our retinas receive the rays, which then are translated into electrical signals which are picked up in a certain area of our brains, where these signals are then translated into visual information. Somewhere in this process, our brains register color. Maybe color is only something that we imagine, to help us to interpret what we’re looking at.

    Many narrow-minded people refuse to accept black and white photography or motion pictures, and that is ridiculous. A photographic image is not anything real in itself, anyway, so it really shouldn’t matter if it is in color or in black and white. I could spend hours looking at the rich gray tones of Ansel Adams photographs, and not for a minute miss seeing any color in these beautiful pictures. One of my fondest memories is carrying my first baby daughter over to an Ansel Adams calendar, which had a perfectly wonderful picture without any color (I did this with my other two kids when they were babies, as well). My baby took interest in the spiral wire binding of the calendar, and put her incredibly tiny finger into that circular tube like shape of the wire, while I called her attention to the picture of sand dunes or Yosemite landscape. Now our oldest daughter is 20, and she appreciates both works in color and in black + white, as do our other two kids.

    In the Art Institute Museum in Chicago, there are a couple of Frederick Remington (or was it Charles Russell?) paintings of cowboy scenes, which were painted in various shade of gray. Apparently, these paintings were made to exercise control over the tonality of print media reproductions. When color paintings were reproduced in print, some tones would be lost in pure black, while others would be washed out in white. Remington was paid for a number of paintings to illustrate stories in magazines, and in order to control how the tonality would appear on the printed page, he purposely painted them in monochrome black, white, and various shades of gray. A couple of these paintings hang in the Art Institute, and they look just fine without any color. Actually, he seems to have slipped in a bit of yellow and brown, but this may have been the way that the paint has aged over the last 100+ years.

    Anyway, whether a painting has “correct” colors, or is interpretive/non-literal, it can work either way just as well. The idea of French impressionist painting was to convey the feeling that a sight left on the painter, and not the literal duplication of the actual colors. Your son is doing some good work, which he should continue doing. For someone who is “officially” blind, he has quite a good artistic eye.

    • Gene Burnett Says:

      I totally agree Eric. Reminds me of the little girl who said she liked radio better than TV because “the pictures are better.” ;~) GB

      • Eric Schultz Says:

        That sounds like an irony, but considering how much garbage is on TV, her words are actually quite true!

      • Gene Burnett Says:

        I think the little girl was speaking to the fact that imagination is better than TV. Content aside, that was one nice thing about radio and books as well. The listener or reader has to bring their own energy and effort to the table. A reader or listener has to contribute to the overall experience. A TV viewer, not so much. I think too much of our entertainment these days is too easy. A typical modern pop song gives up everything it’s got in one listen. No layers of meaning, no depth in the music, nothing that requires any effort on the part of the listener to “get”. When everything is spoon fed to us in the easiest possible format, much is lost.

  4. nurseann44 Says:

    Beautiful drawing! So cool he has an eye for details at such a young age.

  5. Laura Lynn Says:

    What a wonderful bird he did on the floor out of the sticks! I love that…we have a lot of birds here too. A never ending source of entertainment on the cold rainy days. Theres a hummingbird that waits each morning for the feeder to be put out (or it would freeze) and he hovers right at eye level until Liza hangs it on the branch. Quite an intimidating little bugger but we’re used to it now.
    Elihu looks like the best cure for the blues I’ve seen in a century. Chin up. Spring’s on it’s way!

    • wingmother Says:

      thanks! xo and happy Spring to you too!

      • wingmother Says:

        oh – and I can’t believe you have hummingbirds now — it’s always a HUGE day here when they finally return – last year on my birthday (may 7) and always around then. Never in April… blows our minds to think of their journey. I guess it’s a bit more temperate where you are… we’re still up to our eyeballs in snow… that first hummingbird will likely have us dancing around the house like crazy people…

  6. Gina Says:

    Blue is my favourite colour, and I love how the bullrushes and birds look in Elihu’s drawing! He’s very talented. Beautiful blog and writing, and thank you for following on my blog. Looking forward to reading more of your story! :) And it’s true, the blue mood always passes … as for the cold, a musician friend of mine said that all the musicians she knows get colds when they’re not playing or singing enough! haha … it has been true a few times for me (although could be the opposite sometimes too). But now that Spring is coming, it’s a perfect time for “clearing out the pipes,” and singing, like the birds! I wish you more happy days this Spring filled with music and warmth! PS. Also love how Elihu is playing a melodica :p

    • wingmother Says:

      nice to meet you! yeah – my kid is usually playing drums or more recently string bass, but he’s branching out. First day of Spring here yet all we see is snow… we two are reminding ourselves to admire it while it’s here… in a month’s time most of it will be gone. Wonder if you’re closer to Spring than we… enjoy the upcoming changes! xo

  7. Eric Schultz Says:

    Blue is the color of a clear sky and clean water, so there’s something pure and nice about it.

    • wingmother Says:

      just a reminder – Elihu sees no color, only value of light or dark. So his reference is always more about texture, light and dark or composition. Interesting to think of how different his world is. NO color at all. Imagine! But as he scolds me when I pout about it; he’s never known any different – plus he feels strongly he’s been given this vision in order to learn certain things this time ’round… glad he feels this way. I admire my kid for sure.

      • Eric Schultz Says:

        Yes, I kept that in mind when writing my earlier post about color. It’s a good thing that your son has a positive attitude toward his limited vision, so that he enjoys and appreciates what he is able to see. How many of us have the full range of colors in our sight, and we don’t appreciate the beauty of it? Some will pause to take in the sight of something beautiful (like a bird on a branch or a sunset), while all too many others will shrug and say, “whatever”.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s