“A Play of Light and Shadow”


“A Play of Light and Shadow” 30hx24w

Act I: To Draw or Not to Draw

This painting took a couple of years to complete. I had bought our family tickets to see a play produced through the University of California at Santa Cruz. The Shakespearean actors are excellent and the glen they perform in is beautiful. I brought my sketchpad along for fun not knowing what exactly I would draw. To warm up drawing, I started to sketch the audience while waiting for the production to start. I liked what I started and kept working on it as the play progressed.


Drawing continued during the play, but I was having a hard time watching the action on stage and drawing at the same time. I took advantage of scene changes, and monologues to get observations down. Intermission helped too.

Act II: Fortune Favors the Studious

I ended up liking my drawings enough to create a painting from them. I really wanted to get the trees positioned correctly in the glen and returned the following year to do some more studies … and enjoy another play.

treesgroup72 tree72

The shadows on the stage cast interesting patterns during sunset. They showed up briefly before the stage lights were turned on. My drawings of the shadows were “sketchy” and I needed more visual information to paint them. Studies of shadows on walks around my neighborhood were helpful.

Act III: Swear by the Sun, Not the Moon

Here’s a poem for you. It is created in a manner I will call “Fakespeare”. You can skip it if you want, but this was fun to produce. And so it goes:

“The Matinee in the Glen”

Sun, rise! Spread thy witty rays like rascals!

Spin tales between the trees, thus –

A cast of shadows brief before mine eyes.

Sun, shine! Captivate young and old

Illuminate golden love, glittering laughter

Shed light on deception and treachery. Tire you not

Of our human nature which is as constant as thee?

Setting sun, glow orange bright – reflecting life

On the stage; before dusk, fools must answer to folly –

Alas! Night falls, leading our eyes to look upon stars.

Enough said, Globe, continue thy orbit –

Play On, Play On.


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