Portrait of Suzanne Valadon by Toulouse-Lautrec, 1885

Red as Self Portrait

While the color red suggests a certain quality of strength

and clarity, when an artist who for 50 years painted herself red

it might imply a strong clarion sense of something left out.

Red pigments have wave lengths that are long and chromatic

primary and direct and when mixed with other primary colors

produces white. There is no question regarding the nature of red. 

But more importantly the question is why an artist clearly

accomplished and talented goes unknown for 250 years.

The obvious reason is the artist is a woman and women

have never been as valued as men. That is as simple and direct

a truth as what happens when red wave lengths are mixed

with others to give the full spectrum of radiant light.

All her life this artist tried to say to the world, “here I am

and this is my truth” and the world did not listen and as long as

that is the truth, the world will be one-sided, lopsided, out of kilter.

The spectrum of truth will never be the brilliant luminosity of white

but the narrowness of a single color and limited as monochrome.