A while back, I was looking at some paintings I did back in the late 70s. A lot of the colors had faded away - the rich reds and violets, the pinks. What was left were the blues and black and grey.
I started thinking about the tattoos that an old sailor had when I was just a kid. He lived next door to us, and he showed us one night when he was over in our yard drinking beers with my dad. He had horses, various names, stars on his knuckles, and some kind of half naked harem girl on his chest. He had been in the Navy for 40 years. Everything on his wrinkly, tanned and white, old man skin was faded to mostly blue.
I wonder about all the pretty young girls, starting 10-15 years ago, who were getting tattoos on their lower backs, will, or already look. They probably spent quite a bit of their student loans on that.
Back in the time a group of us were painting with our airbrushes in grad school, we were a lot like the tattoo artists downtown. The renegades of the artworld, painting flesh, skin, sometimes in lurid night-time colors. Now we are old and wrinkling, and our colors are fading away too.
But the skin on my paintings from that time is still smooth with hardly a blemish at all on the surface. Maybe a little rough around the edges from being all the places they have been in the last 40 years, but too nice to just be thrown away.