“Light blue is like a flute, dark blue like a cello, and when still darker, it becomes a wonderful double bass.” Wassily Kandinsky
Wassily Kandinksy saw color in musical/spiritual terms: “Color is a means of exercising direct influence upon the soul. Color is the keyboard. The eye is the hammer, while the soul is a piano of many strings.” In Lucy McTier’s painting, blues lightened by a nuanced dance of whites and yellows make a new unheard music out of the flow and swish of Chris Evert’s dress. I imagine their sounds as subtle and soft as Kandinsky’s or Pan’s flute luring us toward it we know not how. The blues grow darker, deeper, as we approach the edges of the canvas. Evert’s body/mind so focused, she might be playing Bach’s suites of stylized dances for solo cello–a light and lively Gigue, a moderate and stately Allemande, a sensual and slow Sarabande.
Here’s a softball for tennis fans: Of the five greatest female tennis players in the modern era—Margaret Court, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Steffi Graf, Serena Williams—who was the one good athlete? Easy to name the Amazons: Margaret, Martina, Steffi, Serena. That leaves Chrissie, and if we take Amazonian athleticism out of the equation (can we do that?), she is easily the best player who ever lifted a racquet. No one ever struck the ball more precisely and consistently than Evert. And that perfect, teachable technique. “Training the body to obey the mind,” as Chris herself put it.
Her two-handed backhand sparked a revolution. Did you and your daughters hit it, too? Due to her classical good looks and feminine style, Evert was often unfairly depicted in stereotypically gendered terms. Early on she was “America’s Sweetheart,” a “Cinderella in Sneakers.” After winning and winning, a cooler, cruel wind: “Ice Princess,” “Ice Maiden.” In the 1970s and 80s, how many girls wanted to be like her? How many fell in love?
A portraitist since 1979, one of the
many highlights of Lucy McTier’s
career in art was her opportunity to
paint President Ronald Reagan and
present him with his portrait in the Oval
Office of the White House along with
her then five-year-old son, Jace, and
her husband, David, in 1985.
Lucy has work hanging in over 350
public and private collections, and in
several gallery locations. Her work is
primarily in oil on linen, but she offers
prints of her work as well. Her wildlife
print series features baby loggerhead
turtles and other wildlife in limited
edition Cibachrome or digital
Portions of this writing first appeared in The Mulberry Fork Review.
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