This week’s piece, “Scarlet Light,” is one of David’s smaller pieces. The canvas is a mere 11” x 15”, but despite its petite size, David manages to create a work with plenty to ponder. The piece is titled after the scarlet tone of the light illuminating the landscape. In his characteristic fashion, David uses lighting to define the artistic mood of the piece and everything about this piece exudes warmth, albeit an eerie sort of warmth.
It’s improbable that the trees dotting the fields in this piece are actually red, but rather the light being cast upon them tints them red. This red light is a rare hue of light that can only be found at sunset and, interestingly, in areas with heavy aerosol pollution. While often thought of as man-made spray can propellants, The Scientific American states that aerosols can actually be created by natural processes such as “forest fires, mineral dust kicked up by sandstorms, sea spray and volcanic eruptions, among other things.”
Before anyone gets carried away, David does not claim this piece makes any environmental statements; however, David does endorse the idea that art will and should be interpreted. Because of this belief, he intentionally leaves the details to the imagination so that minds are free to wander will they will. Often times, others’ interpretations lead an artist to new understandings of their own works. So while it is unlikely that David had pollution on the mind when painting this piece, after reading this he may never be able to look at it again in the same light.