Saturday, July 20, 2019

Beyond Blackness

What does "blackness" mean to you? Has your concept of blackness changed or shifted meaning during your lifetime? What brought that about?

Black in artistic terms suggests the absence of light and therefore color which is dependent upon the presence of the spectrum of white light. But does defining blackness end there?

I wonder...

A glance into any good dictionary will suggest that beyond the ideas shared above, black can have a host of meanings and applications ranging from color... to emotional meaning (ie. evil vs. good).. to heraldic implications.

I felt it very appropriate today to use black as my focus in this post. That usage is possibly the single most important use of black in modern world history. Where were you on July 20th,1969 when Astronaut John Glenn stepped from the safety of the LEM module onto the surface of the moon?

Think of that epic and awe-inspiring moment in human history and their travel beyond  the influence of earth's safety... science and technology into that vast blackness of space. Think of the depth of blackness that these three earthlings were thrust into.

That achievement is perhaps the greatest measure of Light and Darkness for me in my lifetime... though "Darkness" has certainly revisited me in other forms less pleasant. I will not revisit those  here in this blog post today. Those (might be stories.... for another day)...

I choose rather... to share two of my painting projects with you to commemorate this human landmark of achievement. The first that I have chosen is a smallish painting that I hurriedly created for Allie's 31st birthday. Ironically... I chose a toned black canvas to depict the subject - our favourite Venetian religious structure, Santa Maria della Salute for my gift. Stranger still... is the presence of that silvery full moon illuminating the magnificence of the Salute.

This Baroque-styled white Istrian marble domed church was created by Venetians as a gift to God to celebrate the end of "The Black Death". This devastating plague was believed to have been a divine intervention, or punishment for disobedience. It ravaged Venice and all of Medieval Europe between 1347 and 1350, killing one third of the population and leaving the survivors with conditions of famine and economic upheaval.

On dark nights, the white marble structure appears to float effortlessly upon the inky blackness of the lagoon. It struck me fitting to paint this remarkable edifice... lit by the full moon. I titled the painting "Notturno"... or Nocturne. Can you not feel the sanctity and peace in this small painting? Allie did. It hung directly above her head in her bedroom during the last hours of her own journey... into Darkness.

Today ... on this 50th Anniversary of the Moon Landing... the painting including the Salute and the Moon has even more meaning for me.  Ironically again... is "The Salute" not giving the illusion of hovering??? How did I miss that until now?

I wonder...

Stay tuned... "The Games"... are nearly played out... and are ready for posting! lol

                  "Notturno... at the Santa della Marie de Salute" - oil on black gesso toned canvas 12 x 12 inches


  1. Wonderful commemoration of Allie - and the beautiful moon in the black sky!

  2. Thanks Rhonda... Seemed appropriate to link the two "celestial forces"... and mention their victory on this evening over Darkness!

    Happy Summer Painting!
    Warmest regards,