Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The Joy of Light and Dark

Last night I listened to Pope Francis' Christmas Eve homily.

I'm partial to this Pope, not just because he ditched the ridiculously expensive papal wardrobe, reprimanded a German bishop for spending $3 million on a marble courtyard,  sneaks out at night dressed as a priest to feed homeless people in Rome, and used to ride a Harley.

In addition to those things, I also admit to a bias with regard to his choice of name, because St. Francis is my favorite - the patron saint of animals and little children - how could he not be everyone's favorite? I have a life sized, hand hewn mesquite statue of St. Francis in my living room, if that tells you anything about my bias. (You can see pictures of him in this blog post.)

But the real reason I'm partial to this Pope is that I think he's an artist. If you listen closely to what he says, he speaks a very visual language.

I particularly liked this section: "There are both bright and dark moments, lights and shadows," Francis said in his homily. "If our heart is closed, if we are dominated by pride, deceit, self-seeking, then darkness falls within us and around us. "

I also just got done with a four week drawing class where our teacher kept teaching us to look for points of tension in our drawings - those places where things were out of balance, and where the viewer might get trapped in sameness with nowhere to go.  To escape these points of tension, you need contrast. You need light and dark, up and down, complementary colors. To appreciate the white of the paper in your drawing, you need deep, dark shadows.

That was one of the most useful art tips I've ever gotten. And it's not a bad life lesson either.

But again, I'm biased. My go to art is high contrast, black and white, yellow and blue. No feathered edges here :).

This year's Christmas card, while it praises light by contrasting it with some crisp dark, is a bit of a departure for me from my normal neat and clean Christmas cards. I've had such fun with the Mix-Ability challenge on Splitcoast this year, I had to do a little mixed media for my Christmas card.
Pin It

To create the world (how's that for an ego trip? :D ) I watercolored a full sheet of Canson Watercolor paper with a diluted Tempting Turquoise reinker. While it was still wet, I sprayed it with some Stream Adirondack ink in my mister to get some deeper blues. Then I spritzed it in spots with a mixture of Kiwi Kiss reinker and rubbing alcohol, which pushed the water-based inks away and made the fun, well defined spots of "land" on my world. I punched them in two different sizes - 1.75" and 1.25" and used Joy to the World for my greeting in Basic Black.

And, since every year I break down the anatomy of my card - for 150 cards, I only used three sheets of the Canson ($1.23), and 75 sheets of Whisper White cardstock ($17). So the total consumable cost of these 150 cards was $.12 each. How about that for a bargain? The cheapest I could find on Amazon were cute, but about $.72 apiece. And not lovingly handmade by yours truly.

I had fun making them, and I always have fun writing a note to my friends each year. It's a time that I really treasure, because I rarely (sad, but true) make time to just write notes to people for most of the year.

I like (despite my Virgo tendencies) that each one is completely unique this year. here's a sampling.

Pin It

Maybe you recognize one of these as the one you got!

Joy to you and yours today. I hope you have a great holiday!

Merry Christmas!


  1. Lydia, thank you for the beautiful card you sent to me :-) Merry Christmas!!

  2. gorgeous cards Lydia, I love them!

  3. this is lovely, lydia, and i'm glad you went this direction for your card this year. it demonstrates how much you have grown through your art exploration this year, and the card commemorates that!

    merry Christmas to you and P and Maddie and Splotchy!

  4. Love your comments on the new pope, I am also quite impressed by him!
    I LOVE how you created the world! It's just beautiful! But you know how I love how the paints do their own thing! Merry Christmas!!! :)

  5. Agreed on the Pope! Card is even lovelier in person. Merry New Year!


Every time you leave a comment, a new LOLcat is born. ALSO - don't panic if you don't see your comment right away - I moderate my comments to keep those spammers out, so your comment will show up in short order. Unless you're linking me to Russian brides or Nigerian princes.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...