That Particular Green. by Elizabeth Flood (class of 2014)


Pablo Picasso once said, “They’ll sell you thousands of greens.  Veronese green and emerald green and cadmium green and any sort of green you like, but that particular green, never.”  I have developed a love hate relationship with the color green during my time at Mount Gretna—constantly grasping for that particular green in the particular light of a particular instant in time.  For the first week or two that I was here, I was so caught up in mixing exactly the green that I saw, but it became clear to me very quickly that it is nearly impossible to paint exactly what you see  As I tried to grapple with creating space and variety among a dense patch of trees, our first painting instructor Martha Armstrong told me something that I will never forget.  To paraphrase, she said that you can’t always paint exactly what you see in order to paint what you see.  The more I’ve painted here, the more Martha’s words of wisdom have really sunk in.  Upon a first glance into the woods, or across a field, everything looks green, but as artists, we develop a unique language of line, color and value that expresses the world however we see and feel it.  Our current painting instructor Xico Greenwald constantly encourages us to paint in a way that feels authentic.  Like Martha’s advice, I’ll certainly keep Xico’s guidance in the back of my mind while painting. 


            On July 4th, we had a show displaying the work we’ve made throughout the summer.  When I walked around to look at everyone’s work it dawned on me: not one of these paintings has the exact same green in it. Every one of us has learned to embrace our own artistic language through painting, whether its expressive and chaotic marks or more structured blocks of color, there is no one particular way to paint, no predetermined shade of green.  Picasso’s “particular green” is different in every one of our paintings, and that to me is just awesome.  I’ve learned so much here, and made so many fantastic friends.  Although I’m sad that my time at MGSoA is coming to a close, I’m so excited to take everything I’ve learned here, continue to develop my own artistic voice, and carry on my wrestling match with the color green wherever I end up.