July 14, 2010


In my studies, I’ve been fascinating of late by the use and term of Chiaroscuro. It’s Italian and means the interplay between light and dark. For example, painters use strong contrasts between lightness and darkness to make images stand out or to highlight certain aspects of their paintings. I was thinking a lot about Chiaroscuro today as we walked amid the shadows and light of a beautiful summer day.

Yesterday Gretchen took this photo of a hydrangea in our backyard.

We both liked the way the shade of the old cherry tree cast mottled shadows over the variegated purple blossoms of the hydrangea. So today, as we walked, I looked for similar contrasts in everything we passed.

Our first walk of the day was with Monty who is, if I do say so myself, a contrast in black and white, a walking example of Chiaroscuro. Passersby often stop us and remark on Monty’s interesting markings wondering what kind of dog he might be. His cheerful personality and interesting coat make him quite a conversation piece and since I’m shy about strangers, it’s kind of nice to have Monty there to block the unwanted attention.

Though I didn’t get to go on a walk with Oshi and Perrito, they also saw examples of light and dark on their walk. As the sun rises up over the hill in the east, the trees that line our many parks over interesting interplays between black and white. Of course, Gretchen often finds it difficult to get just the right photo — who’s in the shade, who’s in the light? — sometimes the beauty of the contrasts makes for their own unique photographs.

There are contrasts in energy, too. Monty’s is always light and mine can sometimes be dark and moody. Zoe, on the other hand, is beaming with lighthearted cheerfulness and her ebullience is enough to make me forgo my shadowed disposition and bounce gaily along beside her. I think that’s why Monty is so attracted to her — she shines so brightly!

Gemma and Saber pay no attention to the pondering of art and Italian vocabulary, though today they were filled with light that they got to not only play with each other, but with Monty and me as well in the light and shadows of the backyard.

My life is filled with Chiaroscuro I’ve decided — somedays it illuminates the bright spots of joy in my life and other days it brings me the calm of shadowed happiness. I am a lucky dog!

Until tomorrow,


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