Monday, November 5, 2012

Through A Glass, Dimly

Editor's Note: 
I am so excited to tell you that this post is part of a collaboration with House Beautiful magazine and their very cool (and free) app called HB Connect
For the December/January issue of House Beautiful, Style Director Sabine Rothman invited a few design bloggers to write about a topic pulled from one of their pages. You can read a short excerpt from everyone's post in the magazine and then use your HB Connect app to link to the rest of the post on their respective blogs. 

I can't wait to get my copy and see who else is included!

* * * * *

Not all light is created equal.
(Photo by Thomas Fitzgerald. Here.)

What is it about filtered light that changes absolutely everything?

It gives a room atmosphere.
It alters the way you feel.
It speaks volumes, quietly.

T. F. Simon knew this. He was so taken by the filtered light from his curtains that he made it the subject of his painting.
(T. F. Simon, "Interior of My House in Paris", 1909.)

Stanhope Alexander Forbes knew it too. See how he uses the constricted light from the window to create a sense of being alone in the universe? In this room, the here and now is the only thing that matters.
(Stanhope Alexander Forbes, "The Health of the Bride", 1889)

I feel very partial to this little boudoir. It's so completely serene, isn't it? The indirect sunlight coming in from the window is made more dramatic by the depth of that window ledge. I never realized before that shadows literally take the edge off. You go on reading the rest of the post--I'm going to lie on that fur throw and do some spirited mental wandering.
(Photo by Ivan Terestchenko. Here.)

In this room, the light coming in from the right makes everything practically vibrate with warmth. A sheer muslin or organza curtain in a pale yellow or a dusky pink (depending on what direction your window faces) could help you achieve this same effect at home.
(Maison Malplaquet. Photo by Derry Moore.)

Here, a red-striped awning lends a rosy wash to the room as the sun makes its slow downward descent. Walls are stencilled with leafy silhouettes.
(T. F. Simon, "View from a Café in Fécamp", 1904.)

Filtered light can even make even inanimate objects appear invested with emotion. All I can think about when I look at this photo is the rampant libido of those pears--get a room, wouldja?
(Photo by Olga Roth.)

A brightly lit room sees every detail and every flaw. If you're not undergoing surgery, I don't see why this is necessary. Here, the antique thick-paned glass takes an ordinary room and turns it into a poem. 
(Photo by Ivan Terestchenko. Here.)

How do you prefer your light?
Straight up?
Or with one degree of separation?
(Painter unknown.)


AlwaysMe said...

I never know what I am going to discover on your blog - a new book, a new vacation spot, or today, an artist new to me. Thank you for introducing me to TF Simon - the two paintings you chose to use are beautiful.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Oh, you've hit a nerve.
Light is almost obsessively important to me. I want to shoot out every overhead light in existence.
Candlelight remains my favourite.

Laura said...

I'm pretty sure I inherited my dislike of overhead lighting from both my mother and grandmother. I love indirect light. However, here in the gray, rainy, maritime Northwest autumn and winter, it must mostly be created via table lamps, candles and firelight! I've taken to knitting lace lampshades to get that warm, filtered glow...

Unknown said...

ahhh love this post, i am pretty crazy about having a million little lamps on in my home. I love the ritual of turning them on in the evenings and the only place i enjoy a brighter light is in the kitchen at nighttime. Congrats on the House Beautiful gig, can't wait to read it!

Judith said...

I have just seen that someone on our tiny Spanish island of La Palma,(just a few kilometers from here) is reading this right now in Brena Alta! I am in Los Llanos at the moment. We used to live in central London, and not too far from Bloomsbury. Thankyou for your incredible blog. It is inspiring and beautiful. I will start my machine embroidery again! Thanks!

Shelley said...

I never thought much about light, having grown up in Oklahoma where there is plenty of it. Even more in Salt Lake City where I lived before moving to Britain. Here, people are obsessed with light, natural light. They demand windows, take out interior walls and use interior as well as exterior glass doors, all to encourage light. As we approach winter, having been here 17 years now, I find that I'm a bit obsessed with it myself.

Anonymous said...

I can't stop looking at the pictures in this post. I just love light filtered through the sheerest of voiles. Voile....that's a word to add to the word list!

Unknown said...

There is nothing without light and the mood is created by it, may it be the natural light of a bright winter morning or the warm early spring light falling through a bedroom window. Or the candle light at a summer's night under the trees or my the desk light, creating a small circle, concentrating my energy, writing about light.
Light means so much to me, and so do the graduating shades into darkness...

Veronica Roth said...

I love this post Lisa. Light is the most important to me as a photographer. I usually take photos with sharp sun-shadow content or directly into sharp sunlight but I love to live in soft, filtered light. I hate the overcast twilight of leaden gray days though, and box stores, with their obnoxious, overhead fluorescent lighting, just suck the soul out of one's being, don't they?

pve design said...

Now after two storms, my windows (that need to be cleaned) show sort of a murky film of leaves clinging on yet the bright white snow produces a brightly lit light and casts dancing shadows.
Of course I love all sorts of light but after living without power....I just love switching them on!

Susan S said...

I always notice how light falls in a room or on the landscape and it always triggers memories, some deeply buried.

Unknown said...

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debbie bailey said...

I prefer many degrees of separation, actually! I love taking photos in deep fog and especially in the golden hours of sunrise and sunset. BTW, I adore your blog!

Anonymous said...

I'm sure I inherited I don't like overhead lighting from my mother and grandmother. I love indirect light. However, in gray, rain, maritime northwest autumn and winter, it must create mainly through the desk lamp, candle and fire! I have already will knitting lace chimney let warm, filter glow...
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