In pursuit of light, a personal journey
Sometimes it takes just one small comment from another artist to bring what has been lurking in the back of your mind into sharp focus.
Over a year ago, I realised the stunning visual response I had as a small child seeing bright light shining on wet bitumen made me a painter. All I wanted to do was capture that effect whenever I made art.
Over the years, I’ve studied all kinds of things to improve my art. I’ve also painted a wide range of subjects in order to find a “voice”.
But during this painstaking journey, I forgot what was most important to me.
I stopped thinking about light and concentrated on composition, mark-making and colour. Light was there of course, but it was certainly not the focus.
Today, I’ve embraced light once more, realising that it doesn’t matter what I paint, as long as I succeed with capturing the type of light that is distinctly mine.
I recently read this article by Lisa Marder. It’s from 2017 but is every bit as relevant today. Enjoy!
How different artists bring light into a painting
Whether you are an abstract or a representational painter, painting is all about light. We do not see anything without light, and in the real world light is what gives things visible form, shape, value, texture, and colour.
The way an artist uses light and conveys light says a lot about what is important to the artist and reveals who he or she is as an artist.
Robert O'Hara, in the preface to his book on Robert Motherwell said:
"It is important to differentiate the light in different painters. The distinction is not always historical, nor is it always about source.
It is in its actuality the most spiritual element technical only in so far as it requires means, painterly means, to appear at all. It is the summation of an artist's conviction and an artist's reality, the most revealing statement of his identity, and its emergence appears through form, colour, and painterly technique as a pre conceptual quality rather than an effect."
Here are five artists - Motherwell, Caravaggio, Morandi, Matisse, and Rothko - from different places, times, and cultures who imbue their paintings with light in ways that are unique to their artistic vision."
Do take the time to look at each of the artist's work. You won't be disappointed.
This colourful abstract landscape was inspired by the lights of Brisbane looking towards My Coot-tha, a well-known tourist spot. As you can see, it's all about the moonlight too!