A Lesson in Light

February 17, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

I found this draft from last September that I never posted.  So, here it is...

This past week, a Facebook friend posted a poem I've heard often around my church, Broadway UMC. The poem resonates with those of us whose mission is "to be a multi-cultural Christian community that, in its ministry, seeks, welcomes and values all people."  Much like our National Anthem, we regularly say this out loud to reaffirm our mission. Less like the National Anthem, we do this weekly at service so it almost becomes part of our subconcious through hearing, saying, listening and seeing it over and over.

sub·con·scious
səbˈkänSHəs/
adjective
  1. 1. of or concerning the part of the mind of which one is not fully aware but which influences one's actions and feelings.
    "my subconscious fear"

    synonyms:

    unconsciouslatent, suppressed, repressedsubliminaldormantunderlyinginnermost

    informalbottled up
    "subconscious desires"

 

If we go through this spiritual ritual enough, I believe that old saying (with some creative license) is true:

  • Watch your words; they become thoughts.
  • Watch your thoughts; they become actions.
  • Watch your actions; they become habits.
  • Watch your habits; they become character.
  • Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.

The full poem can be found online (Anthem, Leonard Cohen), but the lines that strike me the most are:

Ring the bells that still can ring,

Forget your perfect offering,

There is a crack in everything,

That's how the light gets in.

 

This evening, I was working late in my studio. I was painting walls to prepare my new portrait studio. 

Tuesday nights around these halls at Broadway are swarming with activity. Everyone in the neighborhood should come over and experience the hustle and bustle of kids and parents coming in and out of the main entrance - cellos, violins or violas in tow (with an occasional bass to keep things interesting!). You should wander the halls, and hear the many practice rooms, with an instructor and one or more students. If you work your way up to the third floor, you'll hear the occasional dance step as Iibada Dance Company calls Broadway home. This month, Brandon Rutten is holding a five-week Yoga workshop in the parlor. He also has a Thai Bodywork and Yoga Studio on the first floor (www.SomaBolo.com). And the list goes on...

So this evening was pretty typical. I love the energy around this space on nights like this. It feeds my own creative juices, focus and energy.

As I finished the first coat, I noticed the beautiful sky outside my window. I love the view regardless of when, with our inner courtyard, stone walls and outdoor patios and doors. They are all connected by a courtyard reminiscent of an English garden. I have 2 old-style, oversized windows looking into the courtyard. The glass has been cleaned, but still the panes still possess an aged haze - perhaps layers and layers of history, etched into the glass. Two of each of the three sections in each window open out into courtyard, allowing the breeze, the music and sounds of Mapleton-Fall Creek to flow in and out of my space. 

Tonight, most of the window sections were open, creating 4 foot bays of breeze, light and reflections. As the evening sun set, I noticed that downstairs and to the left of my window is Beck Hall. For Broadway, this is our choir and handbell rehearsal room. Oversized with well designed open spaces, it has a piano, its own sound system and rows of choir robs in the built-in closets along one short wall.

But this evening, like most Tuesdays and Thursdays during the school year, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Youth Orchestra uses Beck Hall for one of its larger rehearsal spaces at Broadway. Tonight, there was a group of what looked like 8-10 youth and a conductor in Beck Hall tonight, practicing.  

Of course, it was hard to see for sure - because this was all through my bifocals, through the oversized, angled window panes. 

In fact image, what I was seeing -- the reflecting light and images -- were all from a story below me!

That almost sounds impossible, for light to follow such a weird, almost gravity-defying path.

That's when I remembered a recent class on studio lighting, where the speaker talked about the differences and effects of soft and hard light sources.

Of course light can do that - that was the point of his lesson!

 

With that inspiration, I started taking some pictures to try to capture the moment.  Given how I got to the moment, I was less concerned about making sure the exact image was captured. I was more concerned with capturing the creatively fluid light flowing into my studio on a breeze. My intention is to better nurture my inner, creative artist. I'm beginning to see photography as not only its own art form, but as a beautiful starting point for so much more creativity.

I created my first meme - however one spells that. I got it all ready to be able to post, and I realized...I made a cut and paste error. I went back, and through user error, I hadn't saved the "interim" step in Photoshop that would let me easily go back and correct the text. It would be like removing graffiti from an original oil painting, expecting the original piece to be unharmed.

And this seemed fitting for the poem and the lesson in light...  'here is perfect crack in everything!

 

Of course, instead of writing this preamble to my photo, I could have simply shared my final creation on Social Media, with a quick one or two-liner. And many would have probably seen into the image and gathered some of my story.

But, I wanted to share more of my story in art -- as word, image and lesson merged into one. It's how my left and right brain work together, telling stories through another lens - with C Todd Creations.

Thanks for listening!

  A Lesson in LightA Lesson in Light

 


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