Artists are profoundly obsessive people. A visual artist can become almost abnormally preoccupied with a single color for weeks or months at a time. It isn’t just the use of the color, but the mere sight of it that enthralls the imagination. At the moment, I’m going through a torrid love affair with — of all possible hues — black.
Black is the absorption of all the colors of the spectrum — the value at the very bottom of a value scale. Black can be warm or cold, depending on its hue. I have become deeply fascinated by its ability to create what we call “vibration” in a composition. All around, black is an extremely powerful color.
All of which is only an introduction to my thought. We have interesting associations with blackness in our mental networks. Darkness is linked to shadows, night, uncertainty, fear… even death.
And all these things have been linked to evil. Halloween approaches and we start to see every fear of humankind celebrated in all manner of ugly representations, from candy made to look like eyeballs, to downright uncompromising Satanic worship.
The intense and powerful beauty of a shadow is easily twisted by Man’s fallen nature into a gross and gory ghoul, because we can’t help being afraid when there is something afoot in the shadows of night.
But I don’t think I am the only human being who is allured to the point of inability to resist by the mysterious. Nights are full of silent stars and the muted rushing of soft invisible wings. Dark pools of shadow hide whispering angels and the smiling eyes of God, for those who choose to find Him there.
The other side has tried to take over darkness as a whole. Fortunately, evil can never claim any kind of beauty as its own.
God is the source of all beauty and the creator of both day and night. He keeps nothing good from us. I, myself, admit to the fact that I sometimes use phrases like “diabolical beauty” or “demonic elegance” to describe a certain kind of aesthetic appeal that would take more words to explain otherwise.
The hard fact is there are no such things as beauty and elegance in true evil.
True evil cannot be embodied or exemplified by Bela Lugosi, for example. The decay of time and human confusion has attributed suave, artistic, shadows to forces it believes to be out of our understanding.
The flaw here is that the concept of the Christian God is so worn down by centuries of people pretending to understand it all. People at large are generally uncomfortable with the idea of mystery, and hidden things. So we gave the devil the night, the darkness, the things we can’t shrug off.
God gave us the intense and absorbing color of black. He gave us strange cold nights with pale staring stars. He gave us shadows and mystery so that seeing eyes could look and we could say, “Clearly, God is in the darkness too.”
Thank you so much for this awe-inspiring article!! I will never be able to look at darkness the same again! I had never realized before today that I really do associate darkness with fear and danger. I know that the Bible refers repeatedly to Jesus being “The Light” and I think we have assumed that the darkness is therefore satanic. But you are so right about it just being another amazing and beautiful thing that God created for us to enjoy! Perhaps if our generation was not so interested (like you said) in wicked and disturbing things and images it would not be so natural for us to label things we do not know about as evil and dangerous. Thanks again for this amazing article!
Interesting take! I love it… Thanks for sharing.
Wow beautifully written. “.The flaw here is that the concept of the Christian God is so worn down by centuries of people pretending to understand it all.” I love how you put it. It goes down to the cell, we still dont know exactly what we are made of. Its based on theory. Our God is magnificent and truly Awesome! We dont know everything but we can trust God!
Thanks for the great comments, guys. I’m glad you catch on so well!
An amazing essay. When I got to the last sentence, I wasn’t ready for it to end. I wonder how you might expand on the idea of the “worn down” concept of God. Perhaps a topic for another essay?
“The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light.”
Amen. As an artist who also loves the mysterious, I agree and identify with this so much. Thank you for putting into words what I have felt for a long while!
So excited to see this article. I have been very interested in this subject ever since I had siblings who are “black.” It is hard for them to be described as “dark skinned” when they also pick up on the cultural connotations of black being associated with evil.
Thanks for this post.
I’ve always thought about this. God made everything for His glory, even the color black.
One very good example I would like to share: when we close our eyes or when we are at the dark, doesn’t it seem that thoughts like images and scenarios in our mind becomes more clearer when it is black or dark…?
Thanks for this, and God bless ya all.
I love your perspective, August! Thanks so much for sharing it – I had never thought about it this way. Your last sentence is especially breathtaking: “‘Clearly, God is in the darkness too.'”
I loved your perspective on this, August! Thanks so much for sharing it – I had never thought about it quite like this before. Your last sentence is especially breathtaking: “‘Clearly, God is in the darkness too.'”
Awesome! I have begun to develop a fascination for darker colors and Tim-Burton like beauty. I have struggled with this, wondering if it is somehow wrong to be drawn to the strange or mysterious. Your article has helped me see that God made all the colors, and that “even darkness is as light to Him.”
Yeah, I never understood why things like night and rain were considered unpleasant, and why black was considered evil. After all, it says in Genesis that God created both day AND night. He didn’t say “oh, well you’re going to enjoy the daytime, but when night falls and all is black, then you better go hide. It’s bad.” No, things like darkness are things of beauty. I think it’s almost superficial to think that evil can be summed up by a color. I always wondered if there was something wrong with me for loving darkness so much. But I think that sometimes darkness is just used as a metaphor for evil because light brings clarity, and so does God. But that doesn’t mean that the minute a thunderstorm hits, we all have to huddle inside. God created all the many hues of nature, so I think we should enjoy all of them.
This is so true. I love writing, particularly fiction, and some of my favorite things to describe are storms and rain and lightning and shadows and dark places. People are always missing the god-given beauty in a raven’s wing or a black, black night with gray clouds covering the stars or the eerie beauty of an owl’s call at night. And isn’t true that some of an artist’s best ideas come at night just before sleep?