I love light.
In one of my past theatrical incarnations I designed lights. Whenever I can, as a director, I direct with lights in mind. The lights become another character in my show.
I’ve always been drawn to Thomas Kinkade’s artwork because he is “the Painter of Light.” He also captures within his paintings the stories of lives filled with love, family, honesty, sympathy, and simply life. Even without a single figure, you can picture people strolling along this bridge, sitting at the dinner table talking, perhaps reading a book in one of the bedrooms or warming themselves by a fire.
He tells these stories with light.
When I imagine a dream home, more often than not the image of a cottage filled with warmth and color comes to mind. Of course, sometimes I think of a large Victorian, including a circular turret room where I could hide myself away to write and dream.Whatever form the dream home takes, I always think of a home filled with light.
At this time of year, light especially beckons. I love driving through neighborhoods looking for Christmas lights. It is fun to see the overwhelming craziness of some homes, but I am most drawn to the homes lit simply with tiny twinkling lights of white and candles in the windows. Those are the lights that, too me, speak of love and faith. Those are the lights of magic.
I have been waking up in darkness a lot lately. Not just the darkness of the pre-dawn day, but a darkness of my own making. It’s the darkness of a woman who has lost track of her own inner light.
Last night I watched The Christmas Cottage (because, in addition to light, I love watching schmaltzy holiday specials where Christmas miracles and love abound). This story shares some of the life of Thomas Kinkade, and he even makes an appearance at the end, painting on the screen. The movie is also about art, and love, and the fact that “art isn’t about the artist.” At one point, the character Tom, speaking to his art mentor says something like “you told me you wouldn’t teach me how to paint, but why to paint.” That resonated, as I search myself for a sense of purpose in my life and my work. By the end of the movie, Kinkade has learned to paint the light, to see the light beyond the darkness and paint both. I need to learn how to paint the light in my own life, whether through words or art or theater or something else. This sweet movie has a message worth watching, besides an amazing performance by Peter O’Toole and a cast of old favorites that just made me smile (Bull from Night Court and Mrs. Garret–I know, I should use their real names, but you know who I mean).
This morning I again woke in darkness. Actually, I woke several times during the night, battling alternating insomnia and a horrific dream that kept coming back in different variations. I don’t want to wake up like this anymore.
I am determined to find the light again. This year, when I light the Chanukkah candles (one of my favorite forms of light, I admit) I hope I will also be reigniting the lights in my heart and my dreams.
“Balance, peace, and joy are the fruit of a successful life. It starts with recognizing your talents and finding ways to serve others by using them” Thomas Kinkade