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The Creative Palette of Light and Darkness.

The collective use of light and darkness within an artist’s palette adds depth and clarity to an artist’s vision through the use of color or sound, but can also be demonstrated in the spectrum of ideas. Renowned art legend Jean-Michel Basquiat regularly used language within his palette—crossing out words to further define and enhance his work, as seen in such paintings such as Hollywood Africans—and Charles The First and Horn Players—the latter were both created in tribute to saxophone great, Charlie Parker. Basquiat explained the purpose of his technique: “I cross out words so you will see them more; the fact that they are obscured makes you want to read them.” In the same way, the palette of ideas can be used to illuminate the audience’s understanding of an artist’s message.

As seen within scripture, Christ used the same methodology in articulating his message to humanity. He regularly used the light of truth within the metaphors of his messaging against the darkness of human circumstance in the form of miracles to bring clarity to his teaching—as seen in his healing of a man who had been born blind. At the outset of Christ’s encounter with the blind man, his disciples asked about the cause of the man’s blindness—whether it had been due to the man’s sin or his parents’. Christ confirmed that neither circumstance had been the origin, but that: “He is blind so that God’s power might be seen at work in him. As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me; night is coming when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light for the world.”

Christ then healed the man of his blindness, literally and figuratively bringing light into the man’s darkness, but in turn, his act of healing caused a controversy due to the fact that the man had been healed on the Sabbath, which was against religious laws. But in the layering of the light of his teaching against the darkness of the man’s circumstance and the resulting controversy, the truth of his message was revealed, as Christ concluded: “I came to the world to provide judgment—so that the blind should see and that those who see should become blind.” The juxtaposition of the light of Christ's truth against human darkness allowed for spiritual illumination of the man he healed, as well as his disciples and those who followed him.

The use of the creative palette of light and darkness by the Creator was also demonstrated in the story of Paul the Apostle, who at his point of conversion, was on his way to Damascus with the goal of eliminating the light of truth of Christ’s message that he once perceived as darkness. Before he could reach his destination, Paul—then named Saul, was blinded by a light of intervention, after previously observing a perceived life of religious perfection, according to cultural standards of purity and righteousness as a Pharisee. He was effectively made blind, amidst the darkness of his limited perception, so that he would be able to clearly discern the truth.

An artist’s palette of light and darkness in the form of ideas and experience can usher in a truth that can serve to provide illumination for each prospective audience. The light of truth and beauty counterbalanced against the darkness of human experience can serve to elevate perception beyond the limits of marred human philosophy and limiting prejudice towards a higher level of spiritual, emotional and human awareness.

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