Humans are creatures of habit. We get up and do the same things we did yesterday. That’s true for babies, teenagers, old people, and everybody in between. Some of us like to think that we’re different and unique, but our parents thought that too, and so did their parents. Everything and everybody is on a perennial cycle. I’m rather inclined to being philosophical today, but it’s too hot in Ohio for that today. I think I’ll talk about the perennial nature of light instead.
I said I might write something about reflected light when I made my lesson on shadows, but I think I need to talk about the nature of light first. Let’s just consider this a serial proposition. It worked for Charles Dickens, maybe it will work for blogging too?
Rule #1: Light travels in straight lines. We could talk about bending light with gravity or other cool things scientists talk about, but for our purposes, light travels in straight lines.
Rule #2: Light gets interrupted if things get in the way.
Rule #3: Light reflects. Light colors reflect more light than dark things. Yeah, I know, I just said I’m not getting into reflected light yet, but bear with me.
Imagine you’ve got a flashlight. You turn it on, and the light is brightest by the light bulb, and disintegrates the farther away it gets from the bulb. The light spreads out and gets fainter the farther away it gets from you. If you’re standing in dark woods, you may not be able to see what broke that twig in the distance, but maybe you can see the reflection of the gleaming eyes of whatever is lurking out there. (This would be a cool place to insert a ghost story, but I’m just not that good at that kind of thing, so try this out instead.)
Okay, after someone has dealt with the ghost looking for her golden arm or the hungry bear, what happened to the light from the flashlight? Remember rule #2? Light gets interrupted. Even though we don’t think about air getting in the way of things, it’s full of dust, campfire smoke, and bugs. Each dust mote can interrupt some of that light. When enough of that crud has gotten in the way, our light from the flashlight has been so diverted, it runs out of steam – but it might have just enough life left in it to reflect against those shiny eyes hidden in the dark.
These same ideas hold true in daylight. The reason that mountains or trees look bluer and foggier in the distance is because of all the crud in the air between us and them. Things closest to us will have a lot more details than things far away.
You can use these principles to enhance the mood of your art. If there’s a campfire, the smoke will affect the light. In fact, that’s a good reason to have a bonfire tonight. Once the logs have caught, look around. Sing some campfire songs too. If you’ve got someone with a guitar, even better. Who says research needs to be boring?
These are my tv time doodles, scribbled with a ball point pen on bond paper. I suppose it’s completely uncool to mention that I got into a whole side trip thinking about the nature of atoms and light while I was waiting for commercials to end, isn’t it? Ah well, that’s just part of my perennial nature of contemplating stuff that really isn’t going to get me anywhere. I also like drawing flowers. Seems like that would’ve made so much more sense to post for “perennial”, doesn’t it?