Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Finding Light in the Dark

 As we move deeper into autumn, we lose a couple minutes of daylight each day. There seems, often, to be feelings of dread associated with "shorter days" and the impending daylight savings which will soon see us heading home from work in the dark. But what if instead of seeing Autumn as a season marked by a loss of daylight, we changed our perspective to see it as a time of gaining darkness? What if instead of turning all the lights on, we turned them all off, and lit a tiny candle, or made a fire in the fireplace, and actually tried to embrace the darkness instead of fighting it?

Isobel Hamilton, "Light in the Dark", 11" x 14", Acrylic on Panel
 In an old newspaper article titled "Why I adore the Night" from back in 2009, Jeanette Winterson writes,  
"We now live in a fast-moving, fully lit world where night still happens, but is optional to experience. Our 24/7 culture has phased out the night. In fact we treat the night like failed daylight. Yet slowness and silence – the different rhythm of the night – are a necessary correction to the day."

Isobel Hamilton, "Autumn Glow", 12" x 9", Acrylic on Panel

Immersing ourselves in darker spaces shifts the way we think and feel. The intimacy allowed through darkness can make it easier to slip into a a place of introspection, of dreaming, or slowing down to reconnect with our loves ones.

Isobel Hamilton, "Night Light" , 11" x 14", Acrylic on Panel

We currently have a new body of work at the gallery by artist Isobel Hamilton that truly seems to glow from within. Isobel is a self-taught contemporary realist painter, originally from Scotland. She emigrated to Nova Scotia in 2013, and currently lives and works in Centreville, NS. Her current body of work is inspired by inspired by 'chiaroscuro' - the contrast between light and dark.

Isobel's exploration of chiaroscuro is captivating, and almost warming to look at. Her work reminds us of the beauty that can be found in darkness, and that intimacy can be created by illuminating tiny corners of dark spaces.

Isobel Hamilton, "Chinese Lanterns", 12" x 9" Acrylic on Panel

Heading into a darker, colder season can be really difficult for some people. Instead of resisting it and bracing ourselves against it,  let's move more slowly, and look for the little moments that are special and unique to this season. Notice the changes in light, and the thin streams of golden sunbeams that mark the nearing of night.

Winterson suggests in her article,
"Prepare dinner ahead, and plan a walk so that you will be heading for home in that lovely liminal time where light and dark are hinged against each other. City or country, that sundown hour is strange and exhilarating, as ordinary spatial relations are altered: trees rear up in their own shadows, buildings bulk out, pavements stretch forward, the red wrapper of brake lights turns a road into a lava flow. 
Inside, the lights are going on. Outside, it's getting dark. You, as a dark shape in a darkening world, want to hold that intimacy, just for one night. Go home. Leave the lights off."

Isobel Hamilton, Oil Lamp, 8"x8", Acrylic on Board

Leave the lights off, but maybe light a single candle so you won't lose your way ;)

Stop by to see these beautiful works in person; they will surely add a bit of light to your day.

*You can read Jeanette Winterson's full article, "Why I Adore the Night" here