For many years I have struggled with light. Or rather the lack of it. Living so far up the Northern Hemisphere can be difficult. Summer is glorious, if there is one. But winter, that's another story. I don't have a problem with the cold, but I do struggle with the darkness.
I feel a sense of impending panic as the dark evenings draw ever nearer and the days become increasingly shorter.
I know I'm far from alone in suffering low mood when Mother Nature's lights are dimmed but for me it can be catastrophic. Without those long days of natural light my creativity plummets. My soul needs light.
Maybe it is because I spent so many years living in Africa or it may be something that I have always struggled with. I can't recall. But being able to turn the lights back on in my world is critical to my sense of wellbeing and subsequently my creativity.
My studio is always lit by anything up to 2000 watts of daylight bulbs. I do prefer to paint in corrected light. It's critical that I know that the colours I'm mixing are the right ones. But more importantly, the daylight bulbs help to lift my mood.
I am undoubtedly at my most productive during the summer months. Being outside most days, I can feel the light. I can absorb it deep inside.
As the year rolls on I spend more time painting summer in the studio. Trying to perfect that feeling of light and warmth. When I paint a summer sky it provides me with the light I need for that day. The blades of green grasses, the movement and life fill my studio.
With the approach of autumn I start to find it difficult to paint the right shade of blue for the sky. Storms start to move in to the clean skies. Grasses start to fade. I start to darken. Eventually I have to step away from painting summer. I simply can't feel it anymore. So i can't paint that feeling.
I have managed to keep painting through a few winters and those works were dark, brooding, and at times just black.
So I have developed other ways to create during those darker months. It is in winter that I sculpt; I experiment with new techniques for future work I want to create and I paint with fire. The colder temperature works well with the paint I've developed for fire painting and it makes sharper, more defined marks on the canvas.
But even then, it all has to be created under my ceiling of artificial light. Light is central to everything that I do and everything that I am. Without it I simply don't function.