Let there be (artificial) light ...

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Let there be (artificial) light ...

From Jeffery LeMieux

Published before 2005


Yes I meant omni-directional lighting is less desirable and uni-direction lighting is more desirable for illustrating form-defining light and shadow. This of course must be balanced with adequate working light. Should we put room light switches on the easels so that the student can switch back and forth from viewing light to working light?

I couldn't agree more about the accomplishments of the European masters... what an amazing triumph. I use Vermeer often as an example of someone cramped by circumstance both social, personal and technical, who was still able to turn out 35 jewels of human dignity in paint. I agree that the main thing that distinguishes accomplishment in the arts is usually an unwillingness to compromise on quality. The good thing about this is that since great art arises substantially from adopting the right attitude, we can all aspire. I'm reminded of the unforgettable scene in the recent movie Dodgeball in which Lance Armstrong "consoles" the main character after he has quit before the final match. It's a classic scene about the cost of greatness.

As for the lighting, I still maintain that it is easier to talk about form-defining light and shadow when they can be seen, and many instructional settings have neglected to take this into consideration. Surely at some point in one's education lighting must become an object of study. I think in trying to get people who are primarily verbally oriented to rely on their visual faculties, some dramatic lighting comes in handy. And I wonder about those early instructions (judging primarily from my own experience) and how much more effective they might have been had they been properly lit.

But in the end, the question is still... "so what are you going to let stop you?"