The Visual Power of Black & White
2022 is almost at an end and I didn’t want this year to pass without getting around to writing my final journal post of 2022. I wanted to discuss my love of black and white drawings; I didn’t want to jump on the self-reflection bandwagon, but I couldn’t help myself. After all, there’s only one 2022 and it’s nearly come to an end. So, this entry is an intertwining mix of self-reflection versus the power of black and white.
I think like many people this year has been a lot to process mentally. We’ve been overwhelmed with sad news; Putin’s merciless attack on Ukraine, Queen Elizabeth’s death the end of a remarkably long reign, rising gas and electricity prices, just stop oil fighting for zero oil usage bringing the roads to a standstill nationwide, these are but a few of the news stories that have occurred. It’s difficult to remain chirpy when at times the world can seem so bleak; global and national changes which affect all of us on many different, complex levels.
This is where I find myself going into a self-reflection mode more than ever. I know I have no control over others. We ultimately all have free choice to make our own decisions. So, self-reflection for me is not just about giving myself a self-critique it’s about recognising the big changes that occurred over the past year, the positive ones that have helped my character to develop. One of these changes would be public speaking. I now facilitate workshops and I didn’t realise up until now just how much I LOVE sharing and teaching what I know which is -ART. I have found my voice and it likes to talk about art! Now don’t get me wrong I’d still class myself as your typical introvert; this girl loves to spend time on her own! The positive effects I have felt by just giving my voice some space and weight to it has been somewhat life-changing.
It’s in one of these classes that I was asked about colours. I often view black and white as colours, but they are not. Black and white are shades that augment other colours. White is made up of all the colours of the spectrum whereas black is the absence of light. They do not have a specific wavelength so therefore they are not considered a colour.
It’s only in recent times that artists and designers have started to investigate the psychology behind certain colours, using them in an informed way to stir emotions in the viewer.
Black and white have various symbolic meanings within different cultures, religions and history. Black is the absence of colour, whereas white is made up of all colours of the spectrum. This opposition seems to be the perfect balance for two neutrals to compliment and work so well with each other. We can also take into consideration the symbolic meaning behind black and white. In many cultures black symbolises death and mourning whereas white (In Western cultures) is a symbol of purity and cleanliness. In Eastern cultures, white is representative of death and mourning.
At its simplest and most beautiful balance, we can look at a blank piece of white paper and the artist who takes to the paper with a black pen. Creation emerges from the paper. A strong contrast occurs. Black and white are opposites but also a continuum of each other. This presence that black and white have with each other can be likened to yin and yan, day and night, the balance that works constantly to form and shape one another like a continuous never-ending string of events. In contrast, we have the end of a year recognised by a full revolution of the sun, but it’s a lot to take in and a day that marks the start of 2023 can just seem like a carry-on of the previous year. As much as I find it a little self-indulgent to talk about my year, my wins, my losses, I’m really beginning to understand why it’s actually a good idea to carve out what this year has meant to me and how in some way it will shape my 2023. 2022 is nearly closed but 2023 is a whole world of opportunities, giving hope for better days ahead.
Some great articles to read on this are listed below.