Light and Dark

An artist’s statement often includes the word light as if it is something the particular artist alone has discovered or a found object that he or she knows best how to manipulate and bring to our attention in arresting ways. The word dark is sometimes mentioned but usually given less weight when describing an artist’s process or intent. But it is dark that accentuates light and gives it definition and often purpose. Dark sienna or black against white provides us with the drawings of Rembrandt and the starkly beautiful prints of Käthe Kolwitz. Its range of value gives us the forest and the trees and points us to the sun-filled babbling brook or the brilliant sky. Just so a manuscript needs the hills and valleys that dark and light provide, and a musical composition lacks texture and builds to no climax and conclusion without pianissimo and forte and all shades of expressive volume in between.

In this way art definitely imitates life, both personal and creative. Shining highs of achievement are often contrasted by those murky low periods when nothing seems to work and our efforts are rejected by others. With personal information readily available on the internet it’s easy to put the blame on ageism. However, bad days in the studio, as well as rejection, can happen to us whether or not we are old or young. If you’re paying attention to your craft and muse, doing the best work of which you’re capable, and if you accept the dark and light as part of the process, there’s no real reason why you can’t compete in the ways that you always have.

Believe this. Make it true.

CHASM AND STREAM, pastel on toned paper 441/4” X 30″

8 thoughts on “Light and Dark

  1. I love this pastel. Very beautiful, Pat. I would add ‘silence’ to the aspects of music….the voids / spaces that also define.


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