When God created the naral world He did so using various combinations of line, shape, form, value, texture, space, and color. Everything that He created is visually made up of those seven elements which we also refer to as the basic elements of the visual arts.
Romans 1:20 tells us that God’s invisible qualities can be clearly seen and understood by studying the things which He has made. The invisible is revealed in the visible. The artist is unique in that he/she has the inclination, disposition, and training to see the visible from the right side of the brain and to translate it for the rest of mankind. In some regard, the artist is in position to be a prophet of God if so committed.
Last week we looked at SHAPE in art. This week we will look at FORM. You will recall that both SHAPE and FORM have to do with the things of creation—with the specific objects. SHAPE focuses on the outside edge of the object and that focus interprets the object as if it were flat. FORM on the other hand focuses on the volume or the substance of an object. Inherent in FORM, therefore, is a sense of the object as a three-dimensional thing.
The “real world” is visually made up of FORMS – not SHAPES. In a sense, SHAPES are an abstraction of FORM. So the more “real” an artist wants his work to seem, the more he needs to present the objects as FORMS. I would like to suggest that FORM is totally dependent upon a light source. Only when an artist accurately captures the effect of light on the object does it begin to take on an impression of realism and substance. That is presuming that his drawing skills and brush techniques are adequate to begin with.
Now let’s consider the spiritual insight we can draw from this. Do you recall that scriptures say that God is Light? (I John 1:5) Well, if an object is dependent on a light source to be visually recognized as being “real” and having substance and depth, perhaps we, too, and our lives and our activities will only seem real and substantive and meaningful when seen in the light that God’s bestows.
In each of the paintings in this collection, notice the breathtaking effect of the light source on the objects and how important the light is to creating a convincing sense that the objects are real. They have substance and depth. They take up space. While the objects still have definition and boundaries as the paintings did that we looked at last week that is not what impresses us now. It is the sense of realness that they provoke that captivates us. And so it is that when we look at our lives, activities, responsibilities, and relationships in the light of our Creator, we will see significance and meaningfulness that is otherwise lost.
Next week we will look at VALUE.