A light touch- Nathan DeVane

My theme is emotion expressed through contrast. Light or lack there of has a direct link to how we as human beings act and feel. Darkness gives off an air of danger or mystery, whereas light may evoke feelings of hope and enlightenment. My goal is to show examples of how artists use light in order to communicate a visual message to a wide range of individuals. 

This tender scene is a perfect example of contrast playing an important role in emotional dialogue. The soft, defused light coming in through the window illuminates a young girl being taught to knit. Under the instruction of a sister or mother a bonding moment occurs in the guise of a probably routine lesson for a woman to have in the 1800's.
A beautiful Mediterranean landscape is portrayed on canvas here. It appears to be a cloudy day, as most of the scene is darkly lit. However the sun peaks through some overcast, perhaps signifying hope. The contrast helps to try and express a deeper meaning from the serenity of the painting.
The scene depicted here is a less recognizable one, when compared to the actual shooting of president Lincoln at Ford theater. The mournful nature of the painting is shown through the lack of brightness. It is very dark. There is just enough light to illuminate the grieving public and the departed president.
This painting conveys a certain mystery. The lone rider approaches a castle bathed in ethereal moon light. The rider emerges from a dark wood and gallops toward the castle which may present either salvation or perhaps a dark secret. The answer to the mystery is up to the viewer.
This scene of Parisian troops warming themselves by a fire in what looks like a Victorian mansion is, to me, quite elegant and fun. Although weary from battle the men seem to be regrouping so as to boost morale. The warm light coming off the fire promotes an atmosphere of relaxation and comfort. A man sits playing piano. This much needed down time is portrayed in a whimsical and vibrant setting.
Contrast is used in this painting to indicate a serious if not mundane tone. The use of practical lighting (i.e.The overhead bulb) is a clear indication of practicality and usefulness in a base sense. The men who are obviously reading are most likely a very stern, solemn bunch who probably believe in use through necessity. They seem as though they would spurn superfluous usage or notions of excess. This can all be gleaned from the dingy, yellow, banal contrast.
Although straight forward this illustration is rather interesting. The concept of drawing another person drawing is amusing and relatable. There doesn't appear to be an over arching theme however contrast is used subtly to show the artist at peace while working. The light is soft and the mood calm. Perhaps the young man is experiencing a sense of flow.
This odd sort of abstract painting by Wolfgang Lettl (a bit of an eccentric in his own right) demonstrates an interesting use of light and shape. The hallway which is very dark and almost eerie is juxtaposed with the human shaped hole emanating a warm bright light. The overall feeling is one of absurdity and inference can lead one to surmise that there is a deeper meaning associated with the man. Or perhaps Lettl was just an odd duck. I'm leaning towards the latter.
This straight forward image of a man holding a self portrait is simply a fantastic use of contrast in it's most basic sense. The difference between the values of light and dark are extreme. The monotone really emphasizes the direct light and the resulting harshness of the shadows. The feelings evoked are ones of reflection and illumination.
This painting depicts the inspiration of St. Mathew from an angel. The belief in this divinely inspired event provided the fuel Guercino needed to paint this beautiful image. The use of contrast to introduce a heavenly tone to the painting is a perfect example of understated manipulation of light. The light shining from above is perhaps symbolic of God's approval or influence.
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