The Mystery of White

In December we spent the holidays with my family in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Going back east for Christmas is always tricky weather wise. At the same time, it is always a blessing when we experience a little snow.

 My older brother J.R. walking in the neighborhood I grew up in.

My older brother J.R. walking in the neighborhood I grew up in.

These pictures were taken a couple years ago. Although I am not aching to live in snow country again, I am still charmed by snow’s power to re-invent the world.

And that makes me think about artist Robert Ryman, and the simple pleasure of white.

  Robert Ryman, Untitled, 1958, oil on canvas, 43” x 43” Image courtesy of collection of SFMOMA

Robert Ryman, Untitled, 1958, oil on canvas, 43” x 43” Image courtesy of collection of SFMOMA

Ryman was asked once what is it that a painting communicates to the viewer. He replied:

“An experience of. . . enlightenment. An experience of delight and well- being, and rightness. It’s like listening to music. Like going to an opera and coming out of it and feeling somehow fulfilled—that what you experienced was extraordinary. It sustained you for a while.”