Joy is sick. Within hours, her scratchy throat bloomed to a 101.9 fever. Pain. Throbbing headache. She could not find a comfortable position. All night long.
Today’s watercolor experiment:
I walked my pencil point lightly around the contour of two hands holding the feverish head I would paint.
I began painting the pulsating-temple headache with quinacridone purple, surrounded by permanent mauve. Working inwards, I used my flesh-tone mixture (cadmium red light, titanium white and yellow ochre) to fill the outer ring of the figure: the shape of the two hands.
Opposite the purple throbbings, on the inner contour of the hands, I continued the pulsations with a fevered red. Different shadings of red colored the face, on top of a lemon yellow tint, from the pinkish glow of the nose to the bright red leaking into the atmosphere through the top of the head.
I’m sure I didn’t do justice to the intensity of the flu. The watercolor sketch above, is removed from the suffering of being sick. First of all, I am not sick, so I am an observer of pain. Second, the sketch consists of visual manifestations of being sick: throbbing at the temples, represented by concentric splashes of color; pink and red representing hotness of fever; vague facial features. There is much about being sick that cannot be expressed visually. Third, the visual elements are my interpretation of what it is like for someone else to be sick and in pain.
Some say getting the flu is like being hit by a freight train. Seeing Joy in this condition is evidence that there is some truth to this adage. Thank goodness that memory of pain does not come with actual feelings of pain. When she gets better, she will remember that she was sick but will not remember the pain.