yellow yellow yellow

These pears fell off my tree. We were pruning it to get rid of those darn tent caterpillars. I had thought I’d forfeit the whole tree, but lo and behold, there were so many pears on it this year! As you can see, they are NOT exactly ripe. Who knows if any will be edible before the cold comes.

Look at those pears. They are green. (And aren’t the shapes irresistible?)

Even, though they are unquestionably green, they brought up the color yellow in my mind. Memories of painting pears. Always starting with just the color yellow.

In my first year of official art school, I was a student of Kaji Aso, a Japanese man who had immigrated to Boston. But what he taught had no relation to the “current art scene”. Instead he taught watercolor. Not in the usual way with single layers of colors next to each other. His method was all about layering.

The first layer HAD to be yellow. In fact, the whole painting was laid out in layers: more layers for darker areas. The color, yellow, with the least intrinsic value was used to define all the values.

And what was I painting over and over again? I painted pears. Pears and pears and pears. All yellow.

In the end, the paintings glowed. Hours of observation. Time to let the paint dry between layers. And this luminescent brightness underlying it all. I loved my pears.

After I left his class, I ventured into traditional/ European watercolor. I moved on to oil painting. I studied how the Renaissance painters layered oil paintings.

None of them used yellow like Kaji Aso.

Here it is year and years later.

I think back on that first appreciation of the color.