Light and dark are associated with good and evil, happy and sad, joy and despair, purity and pollution. Clear day, dark and stormy night have billions of tints and shades along the spectrum.
Mixing color taught me to see different grays, too. Blending two complimentary colors together, purple/yellow, orange/blue/ red/green, and of course black/white all make different grays. Different color saturations occur with tints of white and black shades.
Theatre is the opposite of paint. I love to watch colors create dimension on stage, starting with a black stage. Adding light moves toward white. Place ‘bastard amber,’ a pinkish orange light, and a soft ‘royal’ blue coming from the opposite direction, makes natural white, adding depth and lifelike quality.
What about light and dark in daily life? Feeling light, going dark. We talk about our emotions in terms of light, so we use vocabulary as reflected in the arts. Long live the arts!!
I visited a place called Martz Farm in Belize, near the border of Guatemala, and my room was a tree house. Very cool, certainly not for everyone. The central farm kitchen was outdoors, and the owners didn’t use electricity. The hostess told me she preferred no electricity at twilight, because she wanted to witness gradual darkness coming upon the evening sky. She lit a couple of candles like olden times, and the family went to bed early.
I practiced not using electricity at home. When day went to night, in what is ‘the purple hour,’ watching darkness slowly come brought me serenity, because I spent my life relying upon electricity. It’s not just watching a beautiful sunset once in awhile. It’s with us every day.
Darkness has its own subtle beauty. Ancient associations with light and dark have more to offer than opposites. Different emotions arise, and grays become richer.
If I keep off the light before lighting a candle, it peacefully turns dark, and the candle becomes brighter. My eyes naturally adjust, and I feel one of the ancient human experiences of living on this planet, the mystery between grays.