Friday, December 9, 2011

A Little Light on the Subject

Jack Frost has decorated the clover
I was cutting watercolor paper for an upcoming class. Too many lights were shining from different directions and I could not see the proper edge of the paper (it is just an indentation.) I turned off a light, so that a low angled beam was coming from one direction. Voila! The edge appeared.  It occurred to me that this is one of the gifts of the season we are in right now.  The sun shines more briefly and the low angle makes for nice long shadows in the afternoon. This is one of my favorite aspects of walking Carly in the winter.

     While I was cutting the paper my thoughts were on how to guide students in painting the sometimes complex images, such as a tangle of tree limbs. We are painting snowy scenes, and the snow has a unifying aspect color wise and shape wise.  That helps.  Still, you have to take the information at hand and simplify it to the level where you can convey the idea you want to present. This is somewhat like the season we are in right now. Although nature gives us the opportunity to see the world in a more simplified way, through an angled, brief light; our culture makes up for the subdued lighting with a bounty of lights and activities. Our environment is more complex than ever!  So, the same skill that we can use to simplify our images can be used to determine how to interact with the overwhelming holiday spectacle. Filter out the extraneous noise and light. Focus on the important message and enjoy.