Passion for light
When I was a child, I made Christmas cards for my family, little scenes of a house covered with snow. I glued glitter to the snow, and that was magical too, because the snow I had painted reflected light, just like real snow. Everyone in my family liked the letters.
Later, in art school, I learned to paint and draw light and shadow, a very important skill for creating volume in a two-dimensional world. And this is, today, what I still teach. The ability to make light and show creates a dimension that synthesizes three-dimensional volume. We are all programmed to see this third dimension in a two dimensional illusion. This is the way we see.
I took a job as an assistant in a lighting show hall. It was only going to be a temporary thing, while I was setting up my studio, but I found that I was really interested in it and eventually auditioned to become a lighting specialist. I enjoyed advising clients on lighting options and the whole retail aspect.
I began to see that light was important in my work as an artist. If I sculpted the figure of a horse, it was important to me how the light illuminated the three-dimensional object. When I painted, I discovered that light infused two-dimensional surfaces in two ways: one, when light and shadow were represented using light and dark colors, and two, when just by using colors themselves I could transition from light to dark. darkness and represent light and shadow that way. Then all the things from art history, grids, light and shadow painting to represent space, popped into my memory and I started painting that way. The effects were amazing.
HISTORY OF LIGHT REPRESENTED
Light and shadow weren’t always what art was about. In many cultures today and in Western civilization from primitive to medieval times, representing volume and dimension was not important. The icons, the religious images that were drawn or painted did not need a depth of space. The flat and iconic symbols of religious deities and figures representing social concepts and spiritual inspirations did not need space, light or shadow.
In the Renaissance, artists began to create spaces based on perspective and light and shadow. They built large glass panels, framed and often on wheels. On the surface of the glass they drew a grid. They brought the grid to what they wanted to paint, a landscape, a group of figures, or a figure and worked from a quadrant (a specific grid space). They had to sit very still and not move much, or their vision of looking through the glass grate and their subject might change.
Artists like Michelangelo, Da Vinci and Albrecht Dürer, who used this grid, began to see how the objects they were looking at receded in space, that is, in the distance, things became smaller in very exact increments. That recession of objects to remote space would become a real mathematical calculation. It was a great combination of science and art, so typical of the dynamics of Renaissance knowledge.
This illusion drawing and painting of the third dimension using a grid to locate objects in space and transfer them to a two-dimensional plane became the way we see things today. We look at magazines, videos, movies, apps and with this new visual data we never question our visual alliance with the illusion of the third dimension. And we consciously and unconsciously react to this illusion. A horror movie could scare us deep enough to influence our behavior, perhaps for the rest of our lives. Or a pleasant scene in a movie, magazine, or online website can stimulate and enhance certain reassuring and calming memories. In fact, we are believers in illusion and we are very absorbed in what we see.
After more than thirty years of teaching art, working as a lighting specialist and artist, I began to see that light is something very personal, an engine of my own artistic endeavors. I see, through the teaching and retail interactions, that we are all greatly influenced by the quality of light. I can see, although I have not investigated this in a scientific way, that light affects us much more than we think. The qualities of light in a workplace influence our work habits. In our homes, our lighting plays an important role in the way we interact with our surroundings. I know this from years of consulting and recommending lighting solutions and receiving positive feedback from my clients.
The way we perceive events in our own lives, and specifically aging, are influenced by enlightenment. I think that early in our own development as human beings, sunrise and sunset were very important spiritually and logically. Many cultures: Stonehenge, the Peruvian Indians, developed their cultures around sunrise and sunset. Artificial lighting has made us transitions, it has expanded us to a time zone in which we can work more, but also create more. It has also demystified the rule of the sun in our lives because we have created our own enlightenment. This has also been a major cultural change.
Now that I am 70 years old, I see that the light in its many manifestations has guided me throughout my course of existence. When I was building my artwork for an undergraduate show at the Pratt Institute, making carved shapes on old doors, I sprayed the cracks in those buildings with iridescent paint and played black lights on my frames. What I wanted to show is that those iconic figures, so medieval in shape, carved on the doors, were backlit by a very contemporary light. There was a spiritual quality that was medieval, a kind of upside down church window where the light came from the church, rather it came in from the outside.
Since then, my artistic endeavors have focused on many areas: collage, printmaking, oil painting, watercolor, acrylic paint, mixed media, quilts, art clothing, and more. In every investigation of the materials and the techniques and skills necessary to master those areas, the light has always been behind those projects.
My feeling is that light is also a life-generating factor that imbues each of us with a primordial spiritual force and that we feel too comfortable with it. But if we sit, just for twenty minutes, in any corner of a room and look at the light on any given object, we will begin to see how this incredible phenomenon can affect our lives. And perhaps, what will be revealed is that the concept of perception of light has shown, through many definitions of light in many languages, to define inspiration, spiritual contact, realization and visualization that progresses in thought and understanding. creative action.