Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Festival of Lights

Last Sunday night I went to the "Festival of Lights" service at Bard College Chapel in Annandale, New York.   

The concept of the gathering was to celebrate how all the different faiths cherish the light. I arrived early, along with my wife, who was there to sing with her Sacred Harp group. They handed me a program, which said there were going to be ceremonies from the Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Sanskrit, and Pagan perspectives.


I found a chair in the back. While I was waiting for things to get going, I fished out my watercolors. I liked the way the chapel was lit with two bright reflector floods flanking the chancel, with a recessed warm incandescent on the altar, and some cool ambient fluorescents behind me.

Just as the service was about to start, someone switched off almost all the illumination. I was plunged into darkness. The scene totally changed, and I couldn't see what I was doing. All the colors on my watercolor kit looked black, so my color choices were wild guesses.

I considered strapping on my night-sketching headlamp. But I didn't want to alarm all the nice folks there. What would they think of a dude in the back bobbing his head up and down with a light attached to his forehead?



7 comments:

smudgemaster said...

I really love how you take your sketchbook along where ever you go and start sketching. I'm going to start taking mine with me. Thanks for this post, it was joy to read.

Bill

Tom Hart said...

Absolutely beautiful, James! As for your "wild guesses" for the color choics after lights-out, my "considered choices" should be so good!

Steve said...

I agree with Bill; it's inspiring how you take a little sketch kit just about everywhere.

"What would they think of a dude in the back bobbing his head up and down with a light attached to his forehead?"

Well, gee...it IS a Festival of LIghts...though I suppose BYO wasn't the plan...

I admire and applaud Bard College's ecumenical spirit.

P.T. Waugh said...

Hm, there might be an interesting art lesson here. You could have students paint in the dark to get them to push the lights and darks, or have them wear head lamps to see whether they're looking at the subject or their work.

Eric Bowman said...

Regarding your headlamp; with a festival that catered to such a broad spectrum of religions, one would think Mole People would be included too...

Diana Moses Botkin said...

"Drawing in Darkness" would be a good name for a rock band.

Meera Rao said...

Challenge well met :) Btw, Hindu is a belief system and Sanskrit is the language in which the prayers written like Latin and Hebrew.