Art Class – Light and Dark

Live model sketched in white pastel
Live model sketched in white pastel

The values of light and dark play an essential role in art and in life. In art class, we were encouraged to “see the light”. We used white pastels on black construction paper and focused our eye where the light fell on the model.

Live model in pastels
Live model in pastels

As we perfected the technique we added color, using black (in this case the black paper) or white to lighten or darken the value of the color.

“”Value refers to the lightness or darkness of a color. It indicates the quantity of light reflected. When referring to pigments, dark values with black added are called “shades” of the given hue name. Light values with white pigment added are called “tints” of the hue name.””  ~Artbox

A Mystic’s Musing

Now, if you will indulge me for a moment, my inner mystic wants to share her perspective on the “value” darkness brings to our human experience. Sadly, I spent too many years fearing the dark, literally and figuratively. But now, when I look back on my life, I recognize the transformative power of the darkness.

In my darkest hours, I have fallen to my knees and had to reach deep within to find my light. Times of suffering and loss can cause us to implode and spiral into a dark abyss, feeling as if we may drown in our sorrow and grief. There have been long stretches of darkness in my life where I wandered aimlessly in search of the light, looking everywhere for the light, only to find that no one, or thing, could save me from the darkness. I had to save myself. It was within the darkness that I found my strength, and realized that I would have to shine my own light to find my way to the other side.

If not for the darkness we would not know the light. 

Having survived the darkness and rekindling my light provided an opportunity for reflection. With reflection came clarity, strength, and growth. I no longer fear the darkness. I do not welcome its approach but I recognize the power it has to teach, transform and strengthen me. I know now that I carry my own light within. It is always available to me. And even when my internal light appears a mere flicker,  I know that if I bring my focus to the present moment, accepting whatever the moment brings, that flicker will ignite and  shine brightly, guiding me out of the darkness.

My inner mystic often reminds me, look within, be still, focus, be grateful for this life and know that you are loved”.  That last part, “know that you are loved” – those are powerful, transformative words – more to come on that topic in a future blog. In the meantime just know that you are loved!  

Wishing you all a weekend filled with light and love. 


10 thoughts on “Friday Features ~ Art Class ~ Light and Dark (and a mystic’s musings)

  1. I enjoyed this so much. I copied the first sentence, intending to use it in the future. “The values of light and dark play an essential role in art and in life.” Indeed! Without dark, light has little value; without light, darkness is lifeless. If we embrace the darkness, as you did, we lose our fear of it. Light a candle to see the light. Thanks for writing it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am glad you discovered value in darkness. I have never feared it, to my knowledge. What I see when I close my eyes is as much value to me as that I glimpse in daylight. Lovely drawings, as well!


    1. I also wonder if you were raised in a fundamentalist religion, as was I? Part of why I left it at 14 was because I was being conditioned to fear and loathe those dark spaces which fed the deepest parts of myself. My sisters still are in that place, afraid of shadows and of their own shadow nature. Not sure it serves them, but it’s their path. Aloha.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I was raised southern Baptist during the summers with my grandparents and Methodist the balance of the year. But I’ve always been curious and my study of the major religions led me on a spiritual journey where I found my own truth. It sounds like you’ve done the same. Aloha!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Absolutely, and thanks for sharing. Do you think this early training, so to speak, had something to do with your fears of the darkness? Only if you want to answer 😉 xo


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