The Theatre of Night

“I’m not a night person; actually, I’m a morning person,” says Barbara Kastner, “but I love the effects of light at night: what lights do to and in the darkness. I like the way the light travels in a certain way. My night landscapes start out with sketches and photographs. Then I invent and reinvent.”

Following an early fascination with the works of Winslow Homer, Kastner was attracted to broad areas of color and flat planes characteristic of the works of Will Barnett. “When we moved to Colorado, however, I started enjoying the feeling of depth. I’ve always loved the works of Caravaggio, Velasquez and de la Tour. I like the high contrasts of chiaroscuro, but in a more contemporary mode; I especially respond to the theater—stage sets and lighting for opera and plays. In the theater, lighting focuses attention and seemingly stops time. My goal in the night paintings is similar: to capture a suspended moment, a sense of silence and isolation.

“When I was a child, my father designated me as the artist, my sister as the writer, and my brother as the future attorney in the family. As the artist, I was required to copy comic strips, particularly Prince Valiant. My father believed that if you produced a realistic, recognizable image, you were an artist. By that definition, I became one early in life; however, it took me until I was in my late 20s to attempt to be an expressive, creative person—what an artist is in reality,” says Carolyn Epperly from her home in historic Charleston, South Carolina.

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