Vimaris/Paint it Black
To us, Vimaris was V.
Her one wandering eye and her not walking, talking or able to use her hands, many, most?, everyone? failed to see the depth and breadth of her mind and the fine, fine sense she had for painting. I mean fine. I mean the real thing. I mean our Tracker and I were humbled by the paintings V created.
For many weeks she had been working on a beautiful set of colored rectangles, each sharing an edge with the neighboring rectangles. Like a Mondrian, but in pastel colors. This painting was so nice, so balanced, so naturally simple, pure and direct we knew it would be a big plus to the upcoming exhibition.
The painting appearing to be finished, compliments coming in from staff, V indicated to our Tracker the painting was not done. Taking directives from V, our Tracker, Carol, blended a bowl of black, with some silver, and added some water. Carol demonstrated the color for V by painting some of it on a scrap canvas. Inspecting the results V directed it needed a little more water.
Satisfied, V watched Carol move the long straight edge in order to locate where the black was to go, and to Carol’s surprise V stopped the straightedge at the outer edges of all four sides of the canvas.
“The whole thing?” Carol asked.
“The whole thing, you sure?”
“You know you’re going to knock out all this work you have done.”
No response from V.
“You want me to paint over your entire painting with black?”
And so the black was brushed over the pastel Mondrian and the canvas was black.
We always trusted the artists knew what they were doing but this might have been the most radical move we had ever seen. All those weeks of careful work and V had painted it all black.
I think Carol and I were thinking something like, “Oh well, it was her call. She’s the artist.”
As the next painter maneuvered to the workstation, V waiting for her aide to show up to wheel her off, the thin black paint with some silver in it had been drying, oxidizing.
“Whoa!” Carol exclaimed. “Look at that.”
As the black wash had dried, the colors of the rectangles had re-emerged so we could make them out. All of them now unified by the black silver patina, so they were no longer pretty pastels but the colors of tinted iron.
“Wow.” Carol said. “That is amazing. Far out.” To V, she asked, “You knew that was going to happen?”
V, looking at her painting, looking quite satisfied, gave Carol her Mona Lisa smile.