Of Light and Space


Of light and space I have as many questions as answers , light is said to define space and yet the work I so often admire ( such as this 2nd-3rd century sarcophogas relief panel ) defies the contemporary conception of “good ” composition.Yesterday I was reading a slim volume of Blake, specifically the Book of Job. I picked up this treasure for one dollar at PAFA’s library sale as they transition to  another floor- it’s a sad loss for the new space not to have this book, but my gain .

But looking at his Inventions as he preferred to call them ( I’m going to adopt that phrase as I have been told frequently by this school that I  am an illustrator and not an artist ; inventor seems a sly reply ) one cannot easily  sense a definite light or an obvious  sense of space . In fact quite the opposite , they are cramped with esoteric curiosities  and the most peculiar of light yet still the viewer is aware of being in the presence of a great and universal truth.

One of the criticism of my work, one that stung a bit because I am aware of my struggle with it, was one of light and space . And although I feel I have addressed that issue in other paintings my work here has had less of an emphasis upon those qualities.

I’m aware of this as I start yet again another painting . My last , quite wonderful critique with Patricia Traub concluded with the suggestion that I put aside the paintings I have been struggling with and start something afresh, freer and more joyful. Given that my spirit has been flagging and this program has come to feel an ordeal, I found that sound advice .

I approached the canvas with a light hearted spirit with my friend the Welsh artist Clive Hicks-Jenkins in mind . Clive no matter the subject always seems to approach his work with a smile . I wanted to channel that sense for no other reason than my own deflated  personal ones. 

The new painting , perhaps defiantly, once again seems to defy conventional /sanctioned/approved space , not unlike in my mind, the Roman example above ( or Master Blake). It is very much in the hatched stage and how light defines the space , if at all, is to be seen. But for now I’m seeing it through .

The program ends soon and I am overall pleased with the experiment , I feel better able to define my intentions and surprisingly , defend them. I hadn’t thought the need for defense existed but I see that isn’t the case. I had hoped to bring my interests to the table and had hope to seek  direction as to better express them. That hasn’t happened here with this critique program but I have been able to tap into a truer sense of myself.

Gratitude in the long run. 

I’ll conclude with my as of yet , sketchy painting. 

  And today’s progress.., 


Author: babylonbaroque

I am a painter and printmaker working towards creating a body of work that reflects my own developing aesthetic. New work ,first link. The second link is an on-line portfolio.

7 thoughts on “Of Light and Space”

  1. I’m sorry, what the hell, “an illustrator, not an artist”??? What does that even mean? This is the kind of stuff I always hated from critiques when I was writing–at its worst it can be a bunch of mediocre folks trying to bring everyone else down to the lowest common denominator. Few people are brave enough to really go along for the ride, and your work is quite a ride, my dear, and I mean that in the best sense. I’ve loved what you have posted through this experience, and I’m looking forward to seeing some of the work in person. And you, too!

  2. Leonard:Illustrator!!!???…how can you be that without being an artist??…These critics as claire barbetti wrote…bunch of mediocres at best…Light and Space…who better than Vermeer for light…space is nebulous as an artist …a 3D compilation shows space, ….as the illustrator comment: they(I love that ‘they’) said Gainsborough, The Saturday Evening Post artist, were all illustrators!!!,but Grandma Moses was an artist ??? Just paint on Leonard and follow your dream, The new painting I will not comment on until you finish..bringing out something ‘joyful’…If an artist creates…what is more creative than your images??There is no one who produces these wonderful characters in your paintings…no one……!!! DK

    1. Thank you friend for your kind support , I will see you upon my return – after I settle down a bit!

  3. The line between “artist” and “illustrator” is one I’ve yet to grasp. Nor do I see any reason to do so. Such labels are only important only to those who need to compartmentalize life in an effort to contain the uncontainable and to keep the ego intact.

    1. I think you are correct . I’m taking offense to that fact that I’m taking offense to being called an illustrator ! The snobbishness and elitism of this place is as infectious as the summer cold I seem to be suffering from!
      Xo to you my dear.

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