I am sitting here listening to Still Waters by David and Steve Gordon. I find their music very soothing, very gentle, and very peaceful. I appreciate that peacefulness right now. So many things are going on in our world. Sometimes it’s good to tune it all out and lose myself in art.
This ink painting — When Shadows Fall — was a challenge. At several points I wanted to give up on it. I won’t say that it’s at all that I’d envisioned it to be or what I’d hoped it would be, but in many ways, I think it’s better than what it might have been had I simply brought forth that initial image I had in my head.
This painting was made with my alcohol inks. These inks are new to me. I don’t know how to use them, but I’m excited to explore the possibilities they present. Right now, it feels a lot like getting lost in the woods — there’s beauty all around, yet at the same time it’s frightening because I don’t know where I am, and sometimes I fear I’ll never find my way out again.
In this painting, I wanted to capture a singular moment in time — that eerie, quiet moment that happens just before darkness falls, the mysterious time when shadows seem to come alive.
I began by lightly sketching out a few of the basic elements of the scene I wanted to create. I applied alcohol inks — blue, yellow, and black — to create the essential idea. The yellow was much too bright, so I wiped it away. I added gold in places.
I used a brush pen to draw the basic shapes of the trees and to delineate the water’s edge. It was awful! I nearly gave up, and maybe I would have if my husband hadn’t walked by and said, “That looks nice.” Really? I didn’t like it, but I decided to keep going.
So I poured alcohol on. I wiped alcohol off. I drew more with my brush pen. I dabbed on more alcohol inks — orange and a hint of magenta. I wiped, I rubbed, I drew, I tried this, tried that, and little by little I saw an image taking shape on its own.
I reached for the white gel pen — figuring a little light in the darkness might be good — and even though the painting isn’t what I’d set out to create, it became something more, something it wanted to be, something that spoke to me in its own way.
For me, this artwork is one of possibility, one of hope, one of promise. And that’s how I see darkness and shadows, too. You can’t see what’s there. You can’t really know what you’ll find until you step into that darkness.
It takes a bit of courage to face the unknown — in life as well as in art. Maybe what you find won’t be what you wanted or even what you expected. That’s what makes it exciting, though. That’s why I sometimes like to venture into the darkness and the shadows. What will come forth from it remains to be seen.