Lessons of Light and Shadow

As a young woman living and working in Manhattan, I had the good fortune to live in walking distance to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I visited there often and felt that I was coming home when I walked amongst the artists who memorized life. My favorite section was where the paintings of the great Impressionists were hung. I remember the awe I felt the first time I saw Renoir’s painting of a forest. The light and shadow danced within his painting of the wooded landscape. As such a young woman and artist, I had no idea how he could capture the morning sun reflected against the leaves.

I often wonder if digital photography had been invented when the great Impressionists lived, if perhaps they too would be confused as to which medium to use to memorize the moment. Would Monet have played with Photoshop to perhaps find just the right hue of purple to express his interpretation of the water lily and neglected his gifts of painting?

As I drove home this morning, I turned down a lovely road with wooded landscape on either side. The sun was bright against the fall scene, and the light seemed to glow on the orange and yellow leaves. The deep brown and gray of the bark was even more exaggerated having been wet from the morning shower. The rich contrast of the vivid light and shadows playing magic in the forest landscape brought me back to the memory of staring at Renoir’s paintings as a young woman.

The wisdom of years gone by and life lessons makes me analyze what beauty I see with a different perspective. Years of painting have taught me that If I approached a canvas with oils I would use the skill taught of layering paint to achieve the depth and to add light in the final stages of the painting. If I painted in watercolor the passages of white would be there first and washes and negative painting would add the necessary depth to express the landscape’s truth. Using my camera to memorize the morning might require a special lens to capture the light and perhaps after placing it on my computer require a digital enhancement or two.

There is much to be taught by the landscape of life, and the light and dark discernment is equally as valid as that of the technique used to paint the contrasts one observes. Sometimes it is the very darkness found in adversity that provokes the light within to shine. In Renoir’s painting the dark burnt umber was equally as important as the bright yellow and orange ocre paint used to highlight the the light that speckled the wooded scene. I was reminded of a great poem which sings a melody of lyric into our spirit and resonates in our hearts the truth of why our days are speckled with light and dark circumstances.

The Weaver

My life is but a weaving Between my Lord and me
I cannot choose the colors,
He worketh steadily.

Oft-times He weaveth sorrow,
And I, in foolish pride forget
He sees the upper,
And I the under side.

Not till the loom is silent
And the shuttles cease to fly,
Shall God unroll the canvas
And explain the reason why.

The dark threads are as needful,
In the Weaver's skillful hand,
As the threads of gold and silver
In the pattern he has planned.

He knows, He loves, He cares
Nothing this truth can dim;
He gives the very best to those
Who leave the choice with Him.

I am living somewhere between being that innocent young woman who visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art instead of having lunch, and being an old woman who reflects back on her life’s canvas. Yet, the middle is a glorious place to be. I have learned to lean on God to paint His will for the rest of my life, though I take time to reflect with wonder on the blessings and bittersweet moments that He has used to create my landscape. I know for sure that it was not only the beauty I so easilly learned to love in life, but the adversity and dark circumstances that made the light within shine. I suppose it does not matter which medium we use to capture the beauty around us, but rather that we see it, memorize the blessings, see hope in the light, embrace the joy and give the glory to the Lord.

The song for Lessons of Light and Shadow is Seasons Change by Paula Arlich from her albumn named appropriately A Ray Of Hope.
windy angels said...

Karen, this is so beautiful. thanks for sharing it with me. I so appreciate your kindness, your generosity.
Angels be with you,

Tea Time and Roses said...

Karen this is a lovely post... I love the words of the Weaver...beautiful indeed. Thanks you so much.



KarenHarveyCox said...

I was questioning the Lord lately about why certain circumstances were allowed. He kindly reminded me of how far I have come one day at time with Him. I needed to be reminded of the poem, so I thought that maybe others might enjoy reading it too.
Blessings, Karen

the feathered nest said...

This is a lovely post. I used to live in NYC when I was in my 20's and visited that Museum many a Sunday! I used to live by the Museum of Natural History.