Birth Of Light Oil on linen 122 x 153 cm 2014
I've been painting!
And reading...three books at once. One is Wonders Of The Universe by Brian Cox and Andrew Cohen. It's the book based on the BBC series of the same name which is hosted by Brian Cox. The first chapter is called Messengers and light, visible and not visible [eg: Cosmic Microwave Background CMB] is the main topic. Light, which exhibits a wave/particle [photon] duality, brings us information from and about the early stages of the Universe our 13.7 billion year old environment.
It is amazing to realise that visible light emanating from stars, and other entities in space, is old by the time it reaches us. We are seeing the past in our present because light takes time to reach us. As Cox and Cohen write about human awareness through sight, even when we look at ourselves in a mirror, Without realising it, we are all travelling back in time by the most minuscule amount. The consequence of light travelling fast, but not infinitely fast, is the you see everything as it was in the past. The text goes onto say However, the further we are away from an object, the greater the delay becomes. For example light from the our sun takes 8.3 minutes to reach us and from Neptune it takes 4 hours. With the help of Earth-based telescopes and observational spacecraft we augment our ability to see back into time. For example for just over 20 years the Hubble Space Telescope, in orbit 600 km from Earth, has brought us images of deep space that have changed our Universal perspectives.
For the naked eye, without help from technology, the night sky is a 'jewel box' of sparkles and luscious bling. I find it intriguing to think about those who lived 100s and 1000s of years ago, who without technology, made valuable and interesting observations of the night sky. For instance, Australian Aboriginal astronomy has provided interesting perspectives for modern scientists. An article called The First Astronomers by Andi Horvath, in The Age newspaper, briefly describes some of the sophisticated observations made by Aboriginal people. You can do some more research yourself, as there is plenty available.
The night sky provides a black canvas for visible light to 'paint' Universal history upon. Every night the 'painting' subtly changes. Daylight saturates us with warmth, illumination and energy, but as night arrives it's like turning a page in the story of time. It's also fascinating to think that light, in all its visible and invisible permutations, itself has a history. Whilst photons appeared in the first three minutes of the Universe, it took along time for visible light to emit. This happened about 300,000 - 5000,000 million years later when stars and galaxies started to form. You will need to read a book like The Wonders Of The Universe to get more detail on this incredible history. I recommend it.
Light as a metaphor, for knowledge, pathways, spirit, guidance and more, has interested me for a long time. A previous post called Let There Be Light is a small online exhibition of a few of my 'light' paintings. It is easy to understand why light, especially visible light, has entered humankind's cultural and spiritual endeavours and beliefs in the form of metaphor. Through ritual, ceremony and artistic interpretation light essentially celebrates wonder...and how amazingly appropriate is that! It links us back to the beginnings of time!
BIRTH OF LIGHT Oil on linen 122 x 153 cm
My new painting Birth Of Light tries to capture light's 'brushstrokes' across time and space, those 'strokes' that illuminate and those that provide unseen, but felt or detectible forces. Yet, like many of my paintings, there is an ambiguity because it could be an image of the beginnings of the Universe, yet also maybe one star, or a galaxy, or it could be a thought emitting knowledge and creativity that affects the world, or it could be an eye...the very thing that enables us to see light. Thus, this painting is not a scientific illustration or an artist's impression. It a creative piece inspired by wonder. I will say though, that it is definitely a cosmic 'landscape'...a landscape untethered from Earth's horizons.
Birth Of Light is related to my earlier painting, below, called Pale Blue Dot [inspired by Carl Sagan]
I also wrote a post a few weeks ago called Art -Science -Imagination -Wonder which might interest you. it was inspired by something astronaut Chris Hadfield said in an interview on Australian TV.
Pale Blue Dot [Inspired by Carl Sagan] oil on linen 120 x 150 cm 2014
1. Cox, B and Cohen, A Wonders Of The Universe Harper Collins, London, 2011 P.44
Tomorrow night Saturday 18 October 2014 I am one of 13 artists from Barcelona, Brisbane, Paris and Sydney in a one night exhibition called Painted Prose. We have each responded to poems written by Brent Bridgeford. The poem I responded to is called In Abysm Inhere which actually uses light and dark as very forceful metaphors for internal battles.
The exhibition is on at Substation 4, 22 Petrie Tce, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia - 7 pm.
My painting is An Eternal Dance [below]. In this painting I have played with light and contrasting dark. I am really happy with it.
An Eternal Dance Gouache on paper 32 x 114 cm 2014