Thursday, November 12, 2009


Wikipedia says:

Chiaroscuro (kiːɑːrˈə.skʊrˈoʊ, –skjʊrˈoʊ, Italian for light-dark) is a term in art for a contrast between light and dark. The term is usually applied to bold contrasts affecting a whole composition, but is also more technically used by artists and art historians for the use of effects representing contrasts of light, not necessarily strong, to achieve a sense of volume in modeling three-dimensional objects such as the human body.

My friend Deb often refers to chiaroscuro in the life sense, the interplay of lightness and dark that makes up our day to day. Like the touch of bitter that makes the sweet taste sweeter, or the long winter that makes the warmth of spring fairly explode in green and gold. We are supposed to have both, life would not be as rich without the contrast...but I forget that sometimes.

Sometimes I just want sweetie, sunny, lollipops and tulips, happy, happy, safe and sound, sex in the afternoon, buttercream on cupcakes and laffs and fun, and pleasant, peaceful times. I forget about that other stuff, that it is coming, always around the corner, always a measure of it to be mixed into your cup (hopefully just a small measure, just a teaspoon or two, if you please?). Or I don't forget, I get askeered...nervously waiting, fretting, worrying, what's coming next??? And I'm not even enjoying the sex and the buttercream, and my dimple-faced kids, because I am too busy anticipating trouble.

What if ((dramatic pause))...what if I could just accept the chiaroscuro of life?

Could I?

Wow. I don't know. I may have just blown my own mind. It is so antipathetic to my own personality. I am a planner and a worrier, not an easygoing bone in my bod. But what if I could just embrace the light and the dark, respecting that life ever has been and always will be balanced on the tensile wire of the two?

I will be sad. I will be frustrated. I will show my impatience. I will try and fail. And that's OK.
Grief will come. Bad luck, bad judgement, hard times, illness and struggle. Angst and boredom. All a part it. And that's OK...really OK, not indicative of a larger failure, a lack of planning, lack of faith, or weakness of character...just part of being human, part of life, as natural as breathing, as inevitable as -40C in a Winnipeg winter.

Because there is the other part too...the light, and I have noooo problem accepting that (funny how that works).

Been playing with some new texture and colours in my art journal. Oranges, purples and reds. I love this page, but can't seem to get a really good pic of it. It is rich, full of light and dark and beautiful all the same.


  1. i so hear you sis. the dramatic changes are something i await as well some days. it is all rich and beautiful, but not easy to endure in the moment. i get that.

    oranges and purples and reds oh my! you know how i love me some rich colour, so i love to see those all meshed together, like you have done so beau-ti-fully above. keep going! colour alone is worth painting for! thanks so much for sharing.

    and hugs. duh...

  2. Wow, how nice to see those colors on a cold november day! :)

  3. I love love love the journal pages. I love this post. I'm trying to embrace the dark myself, I'm just exhausted from all my anxiety and fretting.
    Just learning to relax my shoulders and my jaw as I go about my day is taking a bit of effort, but at least I try to remember.....
    Wishing you mere teaspoons of dark to offset your light, and time to keep writing and painting. :)

  4. your journal pages are beautiful! I think of chiaroscuro as a necessity of life, because with out the contrast one would not know what one wants. the work I am challenged with is to keep my attention on what I WANT..... not on what I don't want. I am getting much better at this! : )

  5. yes been working to come to grips with that myself, especially this time of year. we could start a Chiaroscuro support group xD

  6. Oooooo look at that richness. Luscious. Really beautiful, E. Not much choice about that oscuro so might as well embrace it as much as we can, hey? Or at least not consider it a personal failure when it comes. Yes, sistah E. It's usually appreciated a bit after the fact. Hah. That taught me something. Hard to love while it's happening. But it makes for great writing and great and glorious journal pages!And I have a feeling without that dark we'd all be airheads. What a horrible thought for us hey? Airhead? Me? Noooooooooo. xo deb

  7. i wrote a really bad poem called Chiaroscuro. your post brought it all screaming back to me...

  8. Evangeline, I love your words just as much as I love your art. Someday, I hope to pick up a book written and illustrated by you. I have been a big mess of worry the last few days.

  9. I get the world's best comments. Srsly. Thank you all! :)

    @Deb Yup, a leetle dark at least to keep us grounded. No airheadedness for me either please, I'd rather be the neurotic that I am. ;)

    @ La Dolce Vita Focusing on what I want, not on what I don't want...absolutely. I need more of that.

  10. must.... restrain.... from.... rambling.... comments.... go to own blog... go to own blog...

    I so enjoy reading your blog and I believe that is because it inspires me to think, to write, to take a closer look.

    Thank you, dear E!


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