Friday, November 20, 2015

Lessons and Light

Today began with overcast skies.  It is unseasonably warm and it was windy.  I have a long drive to take dad to his program, but it's a nice drive on a long country road.  I love country roads and I love how they change with the season.
 Fall is always bitter sweet, since I know the winter cometh!  But in truth, I love all the seasons and welcome the changes.

On the morning drive, the overcast skies gave the landscape a moody feeling.  We saw what looked almost like tumble weeds bumping along the grey, plowed under soybean fields.  We passed the old barn that looks like the recent high winds are going to have their way with it soon.  Leaning, with half its roof gone, the sheets of the metal roof wave in the strong winds, ready to break away. I enjoy seeing old barns standing along the road. They seem like sentinels to the past.  We can't go back they say. The old barn looked tired and grey.  Just about everything looked gray under the gray cloudy skies.

That same strong wind blew all those clouds away and by the time I was headed back that way after lunch the sky was blue and the light was bright.  Most of the leaves are gone now, but there are still russet or gold leaves on some trees.  When the sun hits those trees, they absolutely glow amber and gold!!  Quite the different landscape in the light.  The sunlight bathed everything and transformed it into a completely different scene than the earlier one.  It was breathtaking.  The colors we vibrant and  it felt, happy.

As artists we are trained to look for the light, because the light makes things look spectacular.  Bright and high contrast, the light brings everything it touches into focus.  I love the light.  But low light, while less dramatic, creates a different vibe.  Low light (or low key) paintings can be as powerful in a different way.  As I drove home I thought about how I would have taught this lesson on light.  What paintings of famous artists I could use as examples.  How I could play with the light on a still life to show the concept.  About how to create emotion and mood with lighting.  That part of me, the artist, the teacher, is always working even when I'm not!! Driving along, observing the light, writing blog posts in my head and planning lessons.

While the artist rests from production, the mind remains a painter.  Funny how that works.

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