You can't have light without the dark.

As a newer artist, I realize that no painting, collage, photo or any other creation is "Done" without adding some contrast in the form of highlights and shadowing. It's the duality of our nature. We find it repeated throughout nature.

My favorite collage pieces I've created  are the ones with a marked contrast. In fact, I told my collage teacher, Annette DeFerrari of The ArtsCenter of Carboro, in the second class that I wanted to learn how to work with dark/black colors so that the end result was uplifting and inspiring, not dark, pessimistic or hopeless.

For the bright, light colors, I find metal colors, reflective surfaces and pure light colors work well. So I use
  • gold leaf, aluminum, coins (metal)
  • rhinestones, mylar paper, mirrors (reflective)
  • glitters, heavy pigmented paints and thick solid papers (pure colors)
For the darkness, I use the blackest of blacks: 
  • noir paint
  • crepe paper (from the party store)
  • cardstock
  • ink (beware the poisonous properties of India Inks - I'll have to research them to find out exactly what the warning labels mean and share with you later)

I believe people pursue spiritual practices for the same reason -- to find balance. They want to learn how to shine their light and highlight what's good in a world gone dark.

Do you have an example of duality? Of the dark and light interplay in your life or your art? Please share.

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