You’d like to think you’ve reached a certain position in your field when a paint company names a color after you. Joanne Loves This Red! is an intense, semi-transparent orange red from Evans Encaustics, and the name reflects my predilection for the hue.
I’m flattered. Thrilled, actually. And I love being able to say that the color I have used in a painting is in fact named for me. But namesakes aren't always as flattering. Years ago, after art school, I moved to Upstate New York to live the country life. Needing a vehicle, I bought a 10-year-old red VW bus from my neighbors, Jenny and Milford Pitts, who raised their own vegetables and farm animals. My engine, which was just slightly more powerful than a lawnmower, needed constant work so I often visited their compound for Milford’s knowhow and the use of his tools (until I got my own). We got to be friends.
One spring they bought a bunch of holsteins. I think you can see where this is going: They named one of the cows after me. "Joanne" was not the best milker, and she liked to wander off. It was mortifying to have someone call your name, and to respond, only to realize that the call was for the cow.
I much prefer the new "me."