The Invention of the Light Bulb Did Not Conquer the Night

A Museum Exhibit Explores How Painters Depicted Darkness Even as the World Embraced Artificial Light

For many of us in the modern world, light at the flick of a switch feels so natural that it’s difficult to imagine a time when even the meager flame of a candle was hard won and too precious to waste. But until the late 18th century, the means for lighting up our surroundings had changed little since the Pleistocene Era, when limestone vessels with their nubs of tallow and wicks of moss illuminated the walls of the cave of Lascaux. Almost all lamps, fueled with animal or vegetable oil, …

The Accidental Color That Redirected Human Expression

Discovered by a Chemist, Prussian Blue Gave Painters the Spontaneity They Were Missing

True blue, royal blue, ultramarine: During the Renaissance, these were all names for the most prized of all pigments, lazurite, derived from the semiprecious mineral lapis lazuli. Mined and processed …

Cyndi Lauper Is My Mascot

Muralist Judithe Hernández Also Promised a Friend She’d Read an Introduction to Wittgenstein

Muralist Judithe Hernández was a member of the East Los Angeles artist collective Los Four. Her newest public artwork, L.A. Sonata, will be unveiled at the opening of the new …

From Okinawa to Hawaii and Back Again

A Painter Follows the Currents of Her Family History

I am a hapa, yonsei Uchinanchu (a mixed-race, 4th-generation Okinawan-American) who was born in Riverside, California, in 1973 and raised in the shadow of the Cascade Mountains in Washington state. …

A California Painter Laments the Drying Landscape

As the Drought Rages on, an Artist Struggles to Find Inspiration Among Shriveled Poppies and Ankle-Deep Rivers

As an outdoor landscape and seascape painter, I’m used to seeing places change over the years. I painted a stately cottonwood tree on an Owens Valley country lane in the …

A Dutch Master’s Lessons in How to Love Again

Johannes Vermeer Showed Me What Intimacy Really Looks Like

Ten years ago, I had a life-changing experience with art. I’d been going through a vicious divorce that year, struggling with depression, and frankly was not doing well in any …