I’ve never been to Naples. I don’t know what the light is like there, but I have always associated the color Naples yellow with what I have thought that light would be like. Here in Montana fields and hills are beginning to change color. The range of greens, yellows and even reds is wide. When I looked out at the field across the road this morning I thought “Naples yellow,” probably because it is a color both organic and made of light. The field’s yellow leans toward green, but I know Naples yellow sometimes does that. Maybe that is why I have associated it with light... its ability to lean green or red.
A bit of internet research this morning pointed out that I am not a painter and know little of paint. The reference to Naples in Naples yellow apparently has to do with where the pigment is mined as opposed to any reference to the quality of light in Southern Italy. And the red/green range has to do with how the pigment is prepared and what it is mixed with. But knowing little of paint doesn’t prevent me from seeing the field out my window gather light in a way that makes it appear backlit...luminous and yet, still of the earth.
The field started out yellow like butter today. It was not so luminous as yesterday, but a very saturated color. It seems the smoke haze that rolled in from the Parks Fire in Lincoln has altered my perception of the color. I know it is a small thing to have the color of the field outside my window altered. So many of the things that affect my days are small: two hares dead on the Two Dot/ Melville road, a hazy view out my window, birds eating the golden currents before I pick them... everything relative.