By means of a special x-ray technology, scientists at Winterthur Museum in Delaware recently discovered that beneath a particular painting called “Family Portrait” by famed artist N.C. Wyeth, there was yet another painting of his: “The Mildest Mannered Man.” The scientists not only saw the image of a two-man fistfight, but they saw it in color as well. The x-ray equipment detected color by measuring the wavelengths of the various paint pigments used and then converting those wavelengths to the colors associated with their “digital signatures.”
Wyeth’s paintings often appeared as commissioned pieces in magazines so he probably found little need to save his original works. He may have merely wanted to save on the expense of a new canvas. It was – and is – a common practice for artists to reuse canvases. And now with this new x-ray technology available to scientists, they have a way to see behind artist’s hand, possibly even uncovering works that were painted over because they were thought to be unacceptable or poorly conceived.
Some days I liken myself to an actor, hiding my spirit’s true complexion with the mask of internal balance and confidence. I do this because I sense the people near me long for a smile and a nod – an assurance that all is well. It’s important I believe — especially in difficult times — that the anxiety of today doesn’t feed tomorrow’s retreat. We should remain hopeful, even donning a mask, if necessary, in order to strengthen the links that bind us with a common desire to succeed.
Day 9 Guide
Defeated and defenseless: these are attitudes that have no place in the minds of Americans. Be careful not to fall prey to the traps of fear and hopelessness.
© 2009, Levi Hill