Happy holidays from the Bold Artist Podcast. We are in that season with twinkling lights everywhere. And it's also that season where couples can have the light fight. Have you ever had a light fight with your? Do you even know what I'm talking about?
The what color Christmas lights are we gonna hang because I prefer the white lights. But my husband is a bold color Christmas light guy, and he wants colors all over the place. And that doesn't go for me.
I am a bold color, I mean surprise, surprise, but, and I switched the colored lights before Bold School and bold color was synonymous with Charla, which it seems to be everyone. Not saying that the internet thinks that, but all my friends and family think that.
But I had, I switched from the whites to the colored lights quite a few years ago. Switched back, I missed them. And
You switched back to the white> Or you switched with
No, I switched back to color.
Color. Okay. You know, I might have noticed that last Christmas. But, um, I still stayed to the, you know, pure white lights. That's what I prefer. The warm ones.
'Cuz I'm happy. I don't like those cool white lights but the warm white lights. But Steve would prefer bold color lights everywhere. I'm sure he adored your tree because it did have the colored lights now that you reminded me. But light is lights and the beauty of Christmas lights is just one of my favorite parts of the season. We like to go driving and see the lights. There's a few like very prominent homes in our city that go all out. Like their energy bill must be through the roof.
There's even contests in our city where you can win something. I can't remember what you win, but something big for the best lights.
And you know, that is one of the most beautiful parts of the holidays is the twinkling lights. But also as artists, it's a very important part of our work is to know and understand the role of light.
Yeah, I think so. Like at Christmas time, I think that light in the darkness sets the mood for the entire season. Like, there's something to be said for a snowy day. Christmas tree hunting. It's very Christmas-ey it's very sweet. But the real mood of Christmas is set when it gets dark, which in Canada happens very early in the day, and all the Christmas lights are coming on 'cuz you know, almost every second house, even still today are, are lit up with Christmas lights. The Christmas trees are plugged in, you can see them. There's just sparkly lights everywhere. Like, I spend all Christmas walking around the house plugging in lights, and then before bed unplugging them all. You know, it's,
We have our own timers now, which helps.
Yeah. Some of ours are on timers and some aren't, and I'd never remember even which ones are, It really sucks to unplug the ones on timers.
Yeah, for sure. But, you know, over and over in interviewing artists here on the Bold Artist podcast, I've, I've gotten to ask them really important questions like, what does being a bold artist mean to you? What is one of the biggest things that you've learned, um, as an artist or in your visual art? And what is one of the bigger things you've learned from Bold School? And over and over I hear one of the main answers that they say that they had their aha moments, their big epiphanies had to do with values.
Yeah. So, in Bold Color Bootcamp, which is like the the first class that I created, and, um, the one that most of our students have taken, it's why they've kind of started. And it's because they take that class, and they join Bold school because they want to learn how to create bold color. But in one of the, um, first, oh, I don't know which one it is, like third module, several lessons in, I just start it by saying, Okay, you're here to learn bold color, but color is actually not important. And by that I mean, it's not the most important thing. You can get your color wrong, even to some degree, and still have a decent, uh, a decent painting. And you can have a color or a painting with zero color. Just have just the absence of color, and you can still have art. I mean, think about pencil drawings, right. And penning drawings. You can, you can paint black and white paintings, or even monochromatic, even though I know that's color. But a painting can be stunning and beautiful without any color whatsoever. Color is not the most important part of painting. Light is the most important part of painting. And by light, the way we represent light in a painting is by painting value.
Right. So the light and, and the shadow. And so, like, I just had it, it sounded so beautiful. The way you just put it is that you can have a good painting with the absence of color, but you can't have a good painting with the absence of light.
I just paraphrase all that. But that's,
But that's, yeah, that's exactly what,
That's really good. It's such a good way to think of it. So if you, if if you can't have a good painting with the absence of light, then we need to study light. One of the ways we can do that is through Bold School, through Bold Color Bootcamp boldschool.com. But there's, there's the study of light in just observing and understanding how light works in the world around us, how shadows work
And studying just from observation and, and, and life really opening your eyes. Yeah.
One of the things I always did as a photographer when I would enter the scene, because in photography, I mean, it is made with light, photos are made with the light hitting the paper, you know.
Actually, I had read a definition of photography, like one of the poetic definitions is painting with light.
A photographer is creating a visual piece of art using light and capturing it in the camera. And so it's
All about part of light. All about the, the light.
Yeah. The science of photography. Now it's digital. You don't think about it quite the same with how you're exposing the film or you're exposing the paper. Whereas when it was back in film day, it was all about exposure. And that's what it meant. How the light, how much light hit the paper, and in what way. And so, but when you're composing a ph uh, a photograph, you're also thinking about how you're composing it in terms of light, where the light is hitting and falling, where it's falling within your frame. So, one of the things I used to do and teach when I taught photography was to go into a scene, you know, you got maybe, um, I would usually be photographing a person, maybe in a landscape or whatever, to go into a scene and squint my eyes, so everything gets blurry and fuzzy and just kind of brought down to its basic values.
And it's, it becomes high contrast. So the darks become darker and the brights become brighter. And when you squint your eyes in a scene, you can do it wherever you are right now. The, the brightest lights will get super bright and the shadows will get super dark, and you'll be able to see where the light is concentrated. So, when I squint my eyes right now, I've got a light right above my computer to light me for the show. And I've got a window over just on this side as well. So when I quin my eyes, all of a sudden the whole room kind of disappears and the light and the window come into view. So now I can see that's where the light is, that's where my eye is gonna be drawn when I'm looking at the photo. So I can compose, I can put the person in it in whatever way that I want to.
So it would be a really quick way, especially in a wedding, when you're like flying through the day and you gotta just shoot photos really quickly, you can compose pretty quickly that way. So, I also approach teaching, uh, values in art the same. If you're painting a painting, you need to see the values. And squinting is one of your biggest tools when you're looking at a reference photo. Squint, which will blur the entire thing. And you can really see where the brightest whites and the darkest darks. And that's the first layer of your painting, really is your shadow and your highlight. It all feels really straightforward. But when you get your thoughts in order, that this is actually the most important thing in a painting is your value. Where is your highlight? And where is your shadow? That will set you up right there for success in your painting. Now, there's lots of things to make a masterpiece, but that's the first and foremost thing. And I am amazed with how many students come into, uh, Bold School and say they didn't know that.
I know, I am too. And, and it's a really big key component to what we teach at Bold School and how we teach. 'Cuz even though it's like you said all about Bold Color and the use of color, we have color classes, we learn all different kinds of palettes there. It always comes back to that foundation of values.
I mean, if you think about art, um, if you're still not sold on this idea, if you think about art, if you think about the absence of color, which I already said, you're gonna get black and white art, it can still be quite beautiful. The absence of subject matter, you know, like, I like to paint portraits, but if you take a person out, if you take landscape out, if you take hedgehogs and different characters out, and suddenly you have no subject matter, you still have abstract art, which is beautiful, incredible emotive art. You get the absence of form. It's the same thing. You got abstract art, the absence of shape. You can also have, you know, 2D art and cartoon art, which would be, um, you know, flat, the absence of 3D form and shape. But the absence of light completely will, you, you can have three options. You can have a black canvas, you can have a white canvas, or you can have a gray canvas. You know, like, like, I mean, one
Foggy, you call it a foggy day.
A foggy day canvas. That's the only thing you can, you can paint if you're going to have the absence of light or the absence of values. You just have one tone. And there's not, I, I'm pretty sure you could only get away with that once. You know, in, in one's instance, when you paint that and put it on a wall. Um, no one's gonna pay you tons of money, and you're not gonna be able to make prints of your orange canvas. So the absence of light is nothing. But think about that gray foggy day painting. It's completely fogged out. You can't see anything in front of you. And all of a sudden a car comes down the road and you can see two headlights. They're super bright white, they've come through the fog. Now you have your gray foggy day canvas with two headlights in the corner. Suddenly, you have story, suddenly you have something to look at. Something you have suddenly you have interest.
Focal points, but the focal point is coming from the presence of light.
Yeah. From the presence of light. So, now you have a value shift, a light shift, or even a, it could be black, as well.
Highlight shift. Yeah.
Highlight shift or a shadow shift depending on what you're doing and putting in that canvas. And, and you have story and you have interest, and now you have a piece of art. That's...
I love that that word picture that you just gave us about the headlights coming through the fog. And it just brings the story because I'm passionate about story. That's a lot of what I, you know, as an illustrator, as as a podcaster. I have a memoir cast where I share the stories of my life. And so stories are a very, very big part of what I do or create as an artist. And I've never made the connection, Charla, about light, for a visual artist, for painter, light, bringing the story. That's, that's an epiphany for me.
It is all I like for me, whenever I, I see art that really, and now I, I do this on purpose when art impacts me. I mean, I, I love all kinds of art. I often see art that I love and I think is beautiful, but once in a while you get something that really impacts you. And it's often the story, it's often maybe the subject or whatever, but what I do now on purpose is I stop and I go, where's the light? Is it the light that makes this story so beautiful? And quite often it is. Or, if there's several artists in front of me and somebody attracts me and somebody doesn't, I'll often look, and it's usually the light that is, is the thing that is different of what I like more. I know that could be personal preference, but I think that it's a worthwhile exercise for you when you're at shows or you're out into in the world or even at other people's houses when you're attracted to photography or art of any kind... Movies, like, think about your movies that, that set the, the best moods, your favorite movies, like Lord of the Rings. I mean, think of Lord of the Rings movie. These, incredible...
It's about lighting.
It's all lighting.
So, just to interject here, sometimes I go to the movies for the lighting because that's,
Oh, like I go, Okay, I should correct that. I go for story, and I go for lighting because story is, is so important to me. But.
I will see. So, when my husband's next to me watching, he's absorbing just like every, like, he's just kind of like looking at everything all at once. But I study, and I sink myself right into the lighting, and I'll notice things that, that he, it, it just like goes over his head because I'm just studying the lighting and I'm studying the story. And I'm thinking, why did the writers write it that way?
Yeah. And me too. Oh, definitely. The light and the story. The, and that's kind of the second point is, is light within your story, as well. Which to me is, is actually the word hope in your story. When you're, when you're filming a story or photographing or painting a story, if you don't light your subject matter, you gotta think about it that it's going to be in the dark. Like, darkness is the absence of light. Light is an object, or it's not an object, but it's a thing that exists that has power. But darkness is simply just the absence of light. If there's a shadow, it's because light can't get to it. I also love that metaphor of, of how powerful light is and how it can overcome darkness. Like, I just think that's just the most beautiful, uh, metaphor because when you feel fear, it's because you feel dark. You or you, not because you feel dark. Because you feel darkness. You know, depression is darkness. That's one of the the first things that people will describe.
When they feel grief and loss and despair.
They feel darkness. So, you bring light into that space, suddenly the darkness can't exist.
It's hope. It's hope.
Yeah. And that's hope.
Light is hope. Yeah.
So, then when you think about your story and how you're, you're, uh, framing your story as an artist, and movies are a really good metaphor and thinking about it, but it's true in painting and photography and illustration and whatever type of visual art you do, your story and your story, bringing hope in, in the place of darkness is what makes your work authentic. So, not only should we be thinking about how we portray light on the canvas, but how are we portraying light in the story, as well? How are we bringing hope in places of darkness to people? We've experienced despair and loss and grief. Majority of people have experienced it in one way or another, and we're still alive, which means to some degree we've also overcome those dark places. Even if we're still struggling, we know that there is places of hope because we've overcome it in some form.
We're still living.
That means we have a message and a story, and we have even just a little version of hope. Even just a little, tiny little bit of hope that we can share with other people. So, when we paint that into our stories, like our own experiences, not what we think it would be like, but our own experiences, it rings true to people, and it brings light into their dark places.
And gives them hope. And so I believe that a art without value, without values, I mean these light, these words are just so metaphoric. Art without values, holds no values. And art without light in your message also holds no value. Um, and I don't think that's an opinion. I think that's truth. And when we, we have that epiphany when we suddenly recognize that your art transforms like overnight in my opinion, even though I don't think it's an opinion.
Yes. Well, so much of what you said today, it's almost got me in this contemplative mood where I'm just soaking it in because it's some deep stuff. And it's deep, not only in relation to our art and our skill of understanding light and painting the values, but in our message, in our own stories. And you kind of went deep there, and even just grief and um, and knowing that there's hope and that, you know, there's a new day, the sun rises again. And we can, we can face, um, we can face what's in front of us in the light.
There's so much there. And, and, um,
And there's so much, and it's your individual journey that makes it so powerful because.
there's no story of grief or loss that is the same. And even within your own life, you could lose a person and have an experience and three years later lose somebody else. And your experience of that loss will be completely different. So, you can bring what you experienced, the hope that you found from that into your work in all your experiences, and give that to somebody else. Like,
You have something to share, is the thing because my friend experienced loss doesn't mean that they have the answer to this person that's standing in front of you. It could be you that holds the answer to them. So, we have to put that into our work. We have to get that into the world.
I would love, just as the host of the Bold Artist podcast to know that when Friday morning comes, and this show is alerted on your device, that you feel a sense of hope, that you just know that you can tune in, and that we uplift you, we let you know you're not alone. That was one of the big, the big goals we had when we started this show was Charla and I said, we want artists to know that they're not alone. But that isn't only about you as an artist, it's about you as a person. Whatever you're going through personally, there is light to shine in your darkness. Um, both Charla and I hold fast to the truth that there is hope. And we'll be here to say it every single week,
We're not here just talking to each other, talking about ourselves. We know that you are out there listening.
You're there, you're there. And you're really real part of the show for us.
And so, so today, as we've talked about twinkly lights and how my husband and I fight about what color Christmas light to have. and, you know, we've, we've shared about, you know, everything from something as silly as that to the deep, deep matters of the heart where we, we grieve losses and go through tragedy. Um, there is hope, and there is light to shine in the darkness. So
Yeah. So hopefully that's what you, you think about when you see the Christmas lights this year.
Is how you're gonna make your art actually look better in skill, with value, and how you're gonna make your art even more profound and impactful with the messages of hope and light that you've experienced. Um, and maybe learned from us listening to us a little bit.
You know, light always overcomes the dark and there's power in that, both visually and metaphorically and in, in our heart and in our lives every day. Really. My son and I remember we were sitting in the hospital one day, and we were talking about this, I don't know how it came up, but we started joking around about all these little shadows that were like hiding. There's like little shadow hiding under the chair and hiding behind the table. And we're like, you're so scared.
Look at them. They're like, Oh no. I hope that light doesn't come over here.
We started just like, my son was a bit older at the time, but we were just killing ourselves, laughing, making up the stories that these shadows would tell. I mean, we were bored. We're sitting in hospitals for hours on end, but these shadows are so scared of the light because it's powerful. And I think being at Christmas time, we can even delve deeper into that, that it's, it's the spirit of Christmas and what is Christmas about? It's about celebrating the birth of Jesus. And the scripture, or the Bible talks about that he was the light of the world. So, when you think about God coming to earth as man, he's the light of the world and light overcomes the darkness. I mean, for me personally, there's no other greater hope than that. And because of that, I know we have hope, and I know there's always hope in the world and in the despair and the darkness that we have. It's just sometimes hard to get out from under where the shadows and darknesses are. So, anyways, come hang out with us, 'cuz we're gonna be here every Friday during Christmas. So
Yeah. And hopefully today's show has brought you something to think about, something to reflect on as you see all the lights twinkling about for the holiday season. Thank you for joining us on this episode of The Bold Artist Podcast. Find us on boldschool.com. Make sure you're on our newsletter. And visit our website there. Hop on Instagram and right here on the Bold School YouTube channel. Thanks for being here. And until next time, keep creating.
And Merry Christmas.