And the Lord said, Genesis 1:3

“Let there be light.” And then there was light. Genesis 1:3

The Lord said, “Let there be Light.”  And there was light.  (Genesis 1:3).

We depend on light for lots of reasons. You can probably name five right now. Like:  the grass, the flowers, the trees, vitamin D, good mental health. Light, the fulfillment of life.

Section of my studio. the space is 30'x14'

Section of my studio. the space is 30’x14′

I am writing this in my studio, and there is light. North light, with which to paint by. So, what does  that mean? Does it mean if I am doing something other than painting, the room’s light is worthless? No . . . this is a functional, beautiful space. This is where I work all day. I write, design, paint, listen to music. I just took this photo from my messy desk. I usually keep that back wall open for art that I am working on. Right now, I am writing my book.

North light facing room

North light facing room

Light is not a mystery, it is an awareness. We are addressing the light of nature, from outside, that would penetrate the house, the building, the bodega,  not to be mixed up  with artificial light, like lamps and recessed lighting. But what happens when a room suffers from no natural light or north light?

Do you have a room with little light, except for a few lamps? Darn, you say, what do I do with that room, it is so depressing? Right? Okay, so let’s talk about this natural light, where it comes from, and what it does. AND, what to do with your dark, gloomy room.

Colors good for a room facing north light

Colors good for a room facing north light

A north light room is perfect for art painting because there are no reflections to distort the picture. It is the truest light that an artist can have. North light is a constant cool, soft light, never sunshiny. So even on a rainy day, we love it. Sunlight creates reflection and light bounce, so even if the north light doesn’t have the sun in it, the light does have a reflected brightness, except when stormy. Without going into artificial light, the way to bring life to the space is with color and texture. Paint the walls a deep warm color, like Benjamin Moore’s “Designer Selective Colors: #861 or similar, (warm grays work), in an Eggshell finish (not flat), ceilings, bright white (flat finish) and all trim, bright white (satin or glossy finish). Use other reflective objects and finishes, like leather upholstery, or coffee table in leather, or glass, if you don’t have little kids. Something stainless steel or shiny chrome. Tile floor, with area rugs. Smaller reflective objects, like porcelain, small mirrors. Go for it, those implants will bring light into the space.

We have not yet discussed artificial light that do other types of brightening to a space. We can do wonders with ambient, task and accent lighting. Maybe next week?

Have you ever noticed how lighting is used on stage. Last night’s “American Idol” did some clever lighting, as they always do. Especially with Kree’s  performance. Her stage set appeared as though she was in space.

What do you think? How much would you like to learn about lighting up your life?




Gail's Christmas angel on her angel tree

Twinkling lights hung on fragrant boughs, laced with golden antiquities; garlands strung from the mantle, framing a glowing fire of crackling pinecones, the family Bible prominently displayed on a table, opened to the greatest story ever told. Walking from room to room, the heavenly scents of fir, pine, hemlock, sweet spices of cinnamon, cranberry, and apple fill the air. Windows are frosted and the walls faintly shudder with the howl of the snow-laden winds outside. Guests filter in and leave their calling cards at the foyer desk, each one a brightly decorated token of the season.

Fireplace in the dining room at the Biltmore

Names are crisply spelled out in fine script, surrounded by pictures and designs in bright, cheery colors. The mail basket is overflowing with cards lavishly printed with the lithographs of Currier & Ives and Louis Prang.  A scrapbook in the parlor, another in the children’s playroom, announce with appropriately selected pages, that Christmas is here in all its spectrum and splendor.

Currier & Ives winter scene

When we celebrate Christmas with family and friends, we have the Victorians to thank for many of its joyful festivities and delightful customs. They revived old traditions, such as caroling, and invented new ones such as sending Christmas cards.

The Victorians also promoted church-going, gift-giving, and charity to the poor as essential parts of the holiday. They transformed the folk figures of Father Christmas and Santa Claus into symbols of holiday generosity, and they greatly popularized Germany’s traditional Christmas tree or Christbaum.

A Christmas Carol

Most of all, the Victorians made Christmas a family celebration, with its primary focus on the Christ Child and children. A Victorian Christmas entailed the exchange of gifts between parents and children; attendance together at Church services; a multi-course family dinner; and visits with friends, relatives, and other families.

Lockwood Mathews Mansion Museum Victorian Christmas


Christmas was certainly celebrated in this Victorian Mansion. Lockwood Mathews Mansion Museum welcomes guests to enjoy the decor of a true Victorian Christmas. For hours and information please go to: Those of us involved with the mansion are working towards complete restoration. Will you get involved?

Pine tree aromas pine cones all around

From our house to yours-Greetings of the Season







Christmas evening on the grounds at The Biltmore - I could not pass this image up, it is too beautiful.

The Christmas Tree

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