I love high contrast in my artwork. While I admire many of my artist friends and their glorious high-key paintings filled with light, I cannot get myself to work this way. (This is why we have both strawberry and salted caramel ice-cream...different tastes!). If a painting doesn't have some part where I have contrast between light and dark, then it is not finished.
It wasn't until I started to dive into the foundations of why I paint the way I do that this started to make sense to me. You might have noticed the tagline "art. love. hope." around here. If you have bought a painting from me, I probably painted it on the box somewhere. In the beginning, those three words were a gift from my creative muse. It was only recently that I began to understand their impact and power.
First, a word on 'hope'. I once heard someone say that hope is a discipline, meaning a practice. Like the way we practice anything we want to get better at. It's not a feeling state (although we can certainly feel hopeful at times). It is a decision. Neither is it a way to 'hope for the best' and avoid taking any action.
I believe in hope as a force of nature. As a powerful antidote to despair and distress. When I struggled to heal from deep depression and PTSD, it was hope that kept me alive, even when it was borrowed from other people. I lose connection with it and then I have to go and get it back.
Now here we are, back at the easel. The most clear visual representation I can think of for hope is this: 'where light touches darkness'. I sort of backed into this understanding; it wasn't a linear process from A to B. But now, when I create a painting and I am laying down my darks and lights, everywhere they meet... this is a visual portrayal of my need for, and my belief in, hope.