Artichoke © Jen Norton

“Artichoke” by Jen Norton, 5x5

My Irish grandmother used to say, “Into every life a little rain must fall.” She wasn’t just stating the obvious. She was speaking a necessary truth.

You can’t have “happy” all the time, no matter how much you wish it. But then, without the darker times, would we know happy when it came our way? Would we appreciate the spring sun without the contrast of dark winter days?

The same is true in art…negative spaces and dark shadows are necessary to give reference to light and color. They are essential. A deep blue sea appears much deeper blue when black has been used in the underpainting. A glowing window or flower will not appear to glow unless surrounded by duller neutral tones. And an artwork with a strong pattern of lights and darks can move your soul like the drum beat at a rock concert.

My inspiration, Amy Grant, says it best when retelling a story by one of her inspirations, Minnie Pearl: