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Having at least partially satiated my need for color by painting more miniatures in the last couple of years, I notice now that I am increasingly drawn to textures. That might sound like a no brainer for someone who has devoted 33 years to sculpting non ferrous metals, but I find myself wanting to surround myself more and more with a range of textures that look and feel sumptuous.
Perhaps it’s spurred by retreating to the safety of my home and not being out where I used to perceive a greater range of textures from the art of many cultures. Perhaps, but perhaps not. It’s not like I walked up and touched every silky fabric or carved wood panel I came across in my vast travels. Hell no. My good girl, “don’t touch!” upbringing would never allow that. The funny thing is that I notice textures most often now in 2D while watching television, and I catch myself wanting to recreate their feel in my own environment, so maybe it is out of deprivation. Maybe after spending so much time in the same building, it’s finally occurring to me that life, ease of use, parenting, and financing mean I’ve acquired more slick Ikea than sumptuous silk.
I noticed this craving after watching season 2 of Vienna Blood on PBS. While the main characters use fin de siecle forensics and Freudian schools of thought to decipher seriously disturbing crimes, their modernist plots twist against the utter maximalism of Vienna’s centuries of opulent design. – Even the main character’s name is Max. Probably not a coincidence. – When there is international intrigue, there are Rococo carved wall panels behind the whispering officials. When there is the brainiac and logical archivist, there is a warren of old wooden file drawers, cubbies, and shelves that would give any antique hunter a serious thrill. When there is the somewhat austere museum researcher and conservationist, there are mazes of cases filled with jumbles of complicated fossils and ornate metalwork and jewels. I doubt I’ll be on eBay shopping for desiccated reptiles, but the other bits I can definitely handle.
When life is complicated, 21st century humans drone on about simplifying. When we’re afraid, we tend to hunker down. Whatever the problem, we intuitively respond to our environments. Two years of being held hostage in my own home by idiots who won’t do the right things for their own health, let alone mine, and I’m ready to surround myself with self-made opulence. It’s probably safe now. With my son grown, the only one likely to smear crayons on the walls is me.