Painting Light

This next theme for my “Compare Three” series is not what it seems. When I say Painting Light, I don’t mean that I’ve painted the light, but rather the light has put itself into my paintings! It was quite an extraordinary experience, each time. And since it’s happened exactly three times so far, I put all three in. During the act of creating, mysterious events may happen that can be described as “serendipitous” or something more. What we make of these events is up to us.

None of the dazzling light that interacts with “Flag on Mars” was edited in. This was all naturally occurring while I was painting, and was at times so blinding that I could barely see the canvas to paint (about midway through video). There’s a simple explanation. My usual painting station was already occupied by another painting in the works and I didn’t want to move my work lamp, so I set up a second station by the patio glass doors for natural lighting. The sun blared through the glass and directly struck the painting at intervals. When the video was sped up to create the short time lapse, the light effects were quite extraordinary. When unexpected things happen during the art process, the act of creating becomes something “more”.

In this next example, my experience with light happened after the painting was done. But I want to first share the painting itself because, as often happens in art, the inspiration for the painting matters and is why the “heavenly” lighting effects were emotional. This art was meant to illustrate the belief that loved ones send messages from beyond. In my personal story, these messages are “delivered” through the number 62 (age Mom was when she died; the number my family sees, especially on important dates, seemingly random, yet occurring so often that patterns defy statistical probability). I started by literally painting that number, and then let the art unfold. It was intended to be an abstract, but somehow I just drifted into painting a rather faint suggestion of a bird. It felt right, so I let it evolve. These are colors that Mom liked, and since it’s not really my style of art, it was probably hers. We tended to like opposite things. If I liked bold, she’d like subtle, and vice versa. In the end, it felt like “her” painting, something she would have liked.

This next video shows what happened to the “Bird of Light” painting when I woke up the next morning. The entire color scheme appeared in shades of red. While Mom’s favorite colors were greens and yellows, my favorite is red. But it was the beautiful light that really took my breath away, and how it added itself so perfectly to the composition of the painting. On the video I say that when things like this happen, it “confirms everything”. When we create according to our belief system and are true to our individual faith and hope, we tend to see our thoughts actualized.

Therefore, what was “confirmed” was what I believed. Being a realist allows for hope and positivity, because it is understood that these are important to the human condition. An open heart accepts life’s tragic moments as well as its peaks of awe and wonder, and is content in a solitary space where serendipity is welcome. The very act of creating is a choice, and sometimes we perceive a response that feels intimate, meaningful, and mysteriously serendipitous, “confirming everything”.

In this last example, “Eagle and Dove” (previously mentioned in blog post “Painting Music“), light began dancing on the canvas (32 second mark, when I’m painting the sky), moving where I was trying to paint. It definitely got my attention because it was distracting to paint while that was going on. My guess is that the outside hummingbird feeder was swaying from either the wind or overzealous birds, and the light bounced off of it into the house, creating a light show on my canvas. However it happened, the result was light on my painting. When unexpected distractions occur while creating, an artist may choose to take a break from the work, or work through it. Regardless of what path is taken, disruptions and detours change our experience, and potentially the outcome of our art. Self-actualization can make the difference for whether or not the outcome is positive.