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Grateful Notices: The Light in the World I

The Light in the World I

Oil on panel, 24 x 24 inches

My many thanks to close friend and collector of my works. When she saw this piece, she had a reaction to it that brought her to tears. It is one of the few works that I have painted where I felt a strong emotional connection to the work, and it did surprise me. Whatever it is, this oil was forever reason, a little different that way.

Here's the background on the piece:

It was a great honor to have recently have toured the Holy Land with a group wonderful people from Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Fortunately, we safely exited the country just before the virus began appearing there. There are so many good memories of the people, places and experiences.

Our guides kept us busy every day and although we took a lot of photos, they were mostly of the sights with very few that were the sort of scenes that I would be painting from. 

An exception to the daily travel photos was an evening in Jordan at a nice hotel on the edge of the Dead Sea. I was sitting alone with this long, unobstructed view across the water to Israel. It was a quiet evening before sunset and I had the long promenade to myself. As the light was changing, I began to shoot the scene. There may be art in this... As it turns out, I did the 24 x 24 study on panel and used to for the larger, 40 x 40 oil on canvas.

After my return to the U.S., I kept thinking about that evening and how to create a compelling painting from that idea. Ignoring the main color from the photos, I was struck by the tiny bit of orange-yellow of the sunset in a portion of the photo and I decided to create a painting exclusively with those glowing colors. I rejected the sunset portion by using a heavy crop on the photos, just leaving a portion of the long shoreline, sea and sky.

Once the painting began, the land mass became the compositional anchor and the place where the colors started to flow. As the painting progressed, the flow became an important part of the sea and sky as well. I didn't catch it at the time, but my insistence on this limited group of colors and movement in every part of the scene is what made it all come together in an interesting way.

As I was adding the last brushstrokes to the work, a title came to me, something that touches us all, "The Light in the World."

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