1130 Pine Street, Paso Robles, CA 93446
June 16, 2009

Why I'm Mr. Rainbow

By Harold Spencer

Why I'm Mr. Rainbow

Folks who visit my studio often ask me the meaning of that rainbow-like line across so many of my paintings.  Well, it has many layers of meaning for me personally and, over the years, has become a signature of sorts.  Foremost, I see this spectrum as the anatomy of light itself.  Without the light of the sun, there would be no life as we know it, so the spectrum is for me, a symbol of life and well-being, as well as the fundamental element in image-making.

As an art historian, I was originally attracted to the rainbow idea while studying the fantastic painting by Herironymus Bosch, The Garden of Earthly Delights, specifically the image of a transparent globe on the closed wings of the tripytch.  But that's a long story...

The multiple horizons in many of my paintings have dual meanings for me.  First of all, they establish a layered composition that evokes the sequences in our lives, very much like the strata of geologic time.  At a more personal level they recall my experience as an officer in the U.S. Merchant marine during WWII when the horizon was a focus while on watch and, as navigator, the essential line in the optics of your sextant.  It was important to know where you were.  Indeed, knowing where you are in the world is always a good thing!


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