Sunday, September 14, 2008

It's Only Paint

I was already pretty brave when it came to color. “It’s only paint,” I would always say. But moving to Mexico has made me fearless. Because here, under our relentless tropical sun, anything goes. Susan painted the exterior of her house morning glory purple. Silvino painted his cerulean blue. A neighbor on the beach picked persimmon red.

So I felt free to paint a kitchen in banana-leaf green and a dining room in cobalt blue. Windows and doors I trimmed in fuchsia, as vivid as the bougainvillea that line the driveway and coat it with falling blossoms during afternoon sea breezes.

I call it banana-leaf green because that was the model used by the guy at the Comex paint store. It was friend Carolyn’s idea. “Cut a leaf and pick a shade within it for him to mix.”

Talavera tiles, in patterns centuries old, also model colors I like to imitate---terra cotta orange, egg yolk yellow, turquoise blue. My daughter Nen, a fine arts major-cum-home renovator in northern California, laughs about her clients who ask for a vibrant “Tuscan” or “Mediterranean” look. “That’s code for Mexican,” she says.

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