the brightest light is between the shadows
— 9 x 12 inches — oil and mixed media — copyright dawn chandler 2011

First day of spring and I will say I’m ready to put this emotionally wrought winter behind me. I’ve spent a lot of the ‘down time’ these weeks reflecting on my life and work — especially of the past twelve months — rethinking goals and acknowledging desires. Most of my creative energy last year was spent painting landscapes, thanks in large part to the commission piece I posted previously, and the many studies I did in preparation for it. That was good, productive and lucrative studio work, helping me to keep my representational paintings skills sharp. Painting landscapes is fun and often challenging; certainly I’ll continue to paint my landscapes, and will be posting more of them here (and some very soon!)

But the extreme focus on landscape last year kept me from spending much of any time on my mixed media/abstract work. As a result, my soul is feeling a little starved of its voice. Having lived so much emotion already this year, I’m hungering to give voice to all that’s simmering beneath the surface. ‘Feeling an almost nervous need to express my ‘internal landscape.

At the start of this new year I had intended to start developing some new mixed media/abstract pieces — just as soon as I got certain other projects out of the way. Yet just as I was about to begin this exciting new work, my work was interrupted by the sharp edge of Life.

This evening I am cleaning my studio in preparation for renewed creative intensity. While tidying, among the paintings I found was this small oil canvas — one of the few “abstract” pieces I worked on last year. It started as an abandoned traditional landscape, which I painted over here and there whenever the desire struck me. On New Year’s Day of this year I added the final brushstrokes.

I’m pleased to find this piece again; it resonates strongly for me just now. I call it “The Brightest Light is Between the Shadows” — the first of my new “Sanctuary” series.