Friday, November 27, 2009

Shaped by the Shadows

At the labyrinth
I’ve been thinking a lot about shadows lately. Last weekend when I was painting hands and faces, it occurred to me that most of my energy was spent trying to get the shadows right. Without the shadows on a painting or photograph, the hands and face have no shape.

It struck me that that’s a powerful metaphor for life. Sometimes we get lost in the shadows. It feels like the light has passed us by and may never shine on us again. Eventually, though, (and sometimes very slowly) we emerge from the shadows into the light, and the warmth and brightness is so much richer because of the time spent in the shade.

If there were only light in our lives, it would seem flat and uninteresting. But throw in some shadows and various intensities and shades of light, and suddenly you have shape and beauty.  Though it was hard to believe at the time, I am a richer person for having been through the shadows of death, rape, more death, the near loss of my beloved, and many lesser shadows.

Making Art

Dipping my brush into the paint
I wrestle with the shadows
The face emerges
Only because light balances with dark

Dipping my memories into the past
I wrestle with the shadows
The beauty emerges
Only because hope balances with fear


Poetic Painter said...

What a profound post!

Dale Cook said...

Ah. Wise words. But keep in mind that there is often reflected light from things nearly that bring at least some warmth into those shadows.

Pamela said...

yes... yes...