Saturday, March 28, 2009

Earth Hour and Abstraction

Earth Hour Candles

Did you celebrate or observe Earth Hour? We did, and many people in our
neighbourhood did too. It's a great idea. We got out all of our
candles and had our supper as we always to by candle light, with a whole
lot more candles.

The kitchen by candlelight

After supper I was sitting at the kitchen table drawing,
(because you don't move 15 candles all over the house,
and the kitchen was our base). I was trying to draw a cardinal,
because I'm thinking about whether or not to put birds in my
painting, and it hit me. You know what? This is the light Vermeer
worked in. Candlelight. You're going to say, 'no he only worked
in daylight,' but you can tell that some of the paintings
from that period were lit with dim light.

Then I thought that if the light levels were frustrating
it would make sense to be trying for accuracy, to document
every line, every leaf and dot every i. Maybe the luxury
of electricity led to the birth of abstraction. I know
that abstract art also developed as a reaction to an industrial
age -- and voilà. There you have it. Electricity = industry =
lots of light = readily available paint colours = abstract
art. Maybe that's an illogical leap, but it seems to make sense.
Of course I've totally sidestepped the development of the camera,
and all that. Vermeer may have already been on to the
essence of the camera. I'm just talking about light.

A cardinal drawn by candlelight
marker on bond paper

My drawing tonight is a tiny inept line drawing of a bird,
done by candlelight in Earth Hour. More painting
tomorrow with the klieg lights on. Just kidding -- with
the art lights on.

Have a loving-the-earth-to-abstraction day.


Melinda said...

Ooooh, nice post, Barbara! I love all of your candles and the way your kitchen looks. I'm sorry to say that I have not heard of earth hour. I don't know why this is, but I am inspired by your observance.

It is very interesting--your thoughts on Vermeer, candle light and abstraction. Hmmm. You've got me thinking again!

That is a lovely drawing too. You are quite the mistress of line!

Susan Carlin said...

Inept?! Hardly! Confident and beautiful. Earth Hour isn't something I've heard about, but if it brought on dinner by candlelight, I like it. I like that you show vignettes of your home now and then. Lovely.

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Melinda,

Thanks so much. Actually Earth Hour is worldwide. So maybe next year you
can take part. It was supposed to be one hour between 8:30 and 9:30 p.m. on March 28. It seems to me that it's at a different time each year. I'm glad I got you thinking, because you always inspire me with your wonderful thoughts. I gave you the Passion for Painting award. You certainly deserve it.


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Susan,

Thanks so much. Yes, we make a point of having candles every night except in the summer when we eat on our back porch and it's usually quite bright. But it's super to eat with the room entirely lit by candles. We usually dim the lights and have candles.

Earth hour is meant to signify a worldwide desire to prevent more global warming. So people all over the world turned off their lights and unnecessary electrical equipment for the hour. But many people enjoyed the lack of light so much, that they used candlelight for the whole night. It was magical in a way, and also I noticed we got tired a whole lot earlier than normal.


eldon warren said...

Hi Barbara, neat drawing. I wouldn't feel inept had I rendered it. :) Earth hour came and went last night most likely while I was doing the blog thing. Actually I wasn't sure of it's time. Perhaps next year.

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Eldon,

Earth hour is about trying to save
the planet. You're doing just fine
getting that message out in your corner of the world. You can be proud of yourself.

Take care,


Liza Hirst said...

Love the candles, the look of your kitchen, your thoughts about abstraction and LOVE the drawing!

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Liza,

I'm glad you like my kitchen. Come on over, but let me know first. I have to clean up, tidy, wash the floor. Then we can have tea, or supper and some wine, or paint!!!


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