Every now and then, we get a delightful message from one of our artist friends. The following note is one of the best; this one is from Linda Allen, a Chestnut Group member and a participant in one of my workshops: "The last week of July and the first week of August I had cataract surgery.Things didn't go well and my eyes became worse and worse. The doctors discovered that I was allergic to the preservative in the drops that were used for my surgery; therefore, I had a chemical burn on both eyes. I was in a great deal of pain and could see very little. I had to keep the curtains drawn, the lights off, and rest most of the time. I couldn't watch television; I couldn't use the computer; I couldn't read; I was just stuck. What I could do was think and reflect and pray.
While reflecting one day, I remembered [Tommy's] workshop on a Leiper's Fork back porch. While we all watched Tommy in his demonstration, one student leaned closer and asked, 'How did you mix that color?' Tommy turned with a glint in his eye and sweet smile and said, 'A little bit of red, a little bit of blue, and a little bit of yellow.' Satisfied, we all returned intently to the matter of watching his demonstration. A little while later, another student said, 'Tommy, now how did you get that color?' Without hesitation, Tommy turned and looked at all of us with that sweet smile and said, 'A little bit of red, a little bit of blue, and a little bit of yellow.'
Considering my options of not being able to do much, I decided to try painting. I reached into the jar of number 16 brushes, set a large size canvas board on one of the easels, and began painting with broad strokes. I painted from memory a farm scene with Tennessee hills. As I painted I used only colors mixed from a little bit of red, a little bit of blue, and a little bit of yellow. There were no fine details because I couldn't see that well, but it looked just like my beautiful state of Tennessee.
I stepped back and gave it a good look when I had finished. 'Not bad for someone having eyesight problems,' I said to myself. I decided right then and there that the experience was priceless for painting with only a little bit of red, a little bit of blue, and a little bit of yellow. Needless to say, I had forgotten all about the pain in my eyes while I was painting and the joy of the experience was lasting.
So, thank you, Tommy, for your bit of wisdom that a successful painting can be achieved with a little bit of red, a little bit of blue, and a little bit of yellow."---Linda Mashburn Allen