Today's title is of course from one of Hemingway's short stories. I reference it today because I am generally at peace in a clean, well lighted place. There is something about the lack of clutter and the quality of light that simply opens something in my brain. It's as though my mind hums along more readily when not impinged by interference.
I also chose this quote because one can't help but interpret light symbolically in most literature, and definitely in art. In the Hemingway story, the old man prefers to have his evening drinks in the bar as opposed to drinking at home alone. He finds it soothing to be in a clean, well lighted place as it helps keep his despair in check. In effect by shining the light on his depression, by acknowledging it, he understands it rather than denying it. As is most often the case, light is used to convey goodness, life and hope.
I have been working on some commissioned paintings this week and considering how the use of light makes a statement in each one. For the hotel where I live, I am painting a vintage train. As it emerges on the large canvas, out of the dark with white smoke swirling about it, it seems to surge into the future offering progress and a kind of moving realization of ambition. The darkness of the iron train makes for an interesting backdrop for glints of color that result from the light bouncing off the metal. The train image originally appeared in the background of another painting I did for the hotel. If you look closely at the lobby scene featuring Frank Sinatra at the piano, you will see the train painting about halfway between Frank's face and the open doorway of the adjoining bar.
After I finish the train and a nighttime, glowing version of the hotel, I am moving on to some ideas that have been brewing in my mind for a few weeks. I will be starting a series of large portraits that feature repetition and reflection. More about that later. Until then, I will close with this thought about light:
"At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us."--Albert Schweitzer