“In some spheres the shadow condition is the condition of greatest growth. The beautiful Indian corn never grows more rapidly than in the shadow of a warm summer night. The sun curls the leaves in the sultry noon light, but they quickly unfold, if a cloud slips over the sky. There is a service in the shadow that is not in the shine. The world of stellar beauty is never seen at its best till the shadows of night slip over the sky. There are beauties that bloom in the shade that will not bloom in the sun. There is much greenery in lands of fog and clouds and shadow. The florist has “evening glories” now, as well as “morning glories.” The “evening glory” will not shine in the noon’s splendor, but comes to its best as the shadows of evening deepen.”
From Streams in the Desert by Mrs. Charles E. Cowman
The Impressionists brought the idea to the art world that since light is full of color (consider a prism) that shadows too can come alive through the use of colors that are deep but vibrant. This history-changing group of painters challenged us to look again at the visual life going on in the shadows.
Shadows in life and in art are typically synonymous with the idea that the darkened shade is merely a grayed over area that isn’t as pretty as the bright sunshine, and to an extent that is true. In Humboldt County it typically rains so much that we want to run outside and dance around when sunshine appears in the winter. There are many more sunflowers made memorable in paintings than all the shade plants put together. Yet, when we stop and consider the lush ferns, the fabulous begonias and the intensely colored fuchsias we can begin to understand that these magnificent beauties can only be vibrant in the shade. They too, are worth our attention. The shadowed areas on the canvas are to be considered a part of the composition as the sunlit portions if we want a complete picture.
If life is hard today and you feel like you are living in the shadows remember that the place of darker hues can also be a place of vibrance and growth.
In the hands of the Master Gardener and Great Creator every corner of the garden can bloom with meaningful life in its designated season.