immediate vortex

From Where Is the Light Coming?

Nancy Friedman, Co-Educational Director, RR Fine Arts Guild

Some of us would like to know when the light will be coming from the end of the COVID-19 tunnel, but this article is not about that intangible light.

Since March 15, I am sure everyone has observed and appreciated the little things in life, such as the various desert spring flowers in bloom, and has examined one’s backyard in person or through the window, since we have not had so much to do recently. My question for you: have you noticed how the light affects what you see? Have you viewed the sunset over the local mountains? Did you see how the mountains, trees, and cacti were in silhouette rather than in color at sunset? Yet, if you look at the same saguaro or teddy bear cacti at sunrise, you spot the needles glowing with sunlight so that the cacti appear to have a halo and long shadows. Did you know Claude Monet, one of the famous Impression painters, was fascinated with light and would paint the same subject at all hours of the day, to appreciate how the colors and shadows would change the paintings.

In one of my first painting classes here at the Ranch with Jan Patton, she asked me, “Where is the light coming from?” I looked at her, the lights above me, and at the window. I had no clue what she meant. It was then I realized a few art classes might enlighten me. One of the tricks painters use is light to portray a painting so a 2-D format takes on a 3-D look. One can see in the simple strawberry where the light is coming from above by following the black arrows. The white lines indicate the shadows. You can observe how just by painting the light and dark sides of the strawberry, it is given a rounded shape, and by doing the same with the leaves you can see where the leaves fold over. In giving the strawberry a shadow, it has a place on the table to sit, not just hanging out in space.

So, grab a pencil the next time you look out your window, find something simple to draw, even if it is a rock or a stick. You can do it! The Fine Arts Guild is now reviewing how small, social distancing classes can return for the winter season. We think there is an artist in you all!