"I want to be in the light, as you are in the light...." This song from the popular contemporary rock band DC Talk describes the desire to be pure and cleansed. Here, we find that the connotation of 'light' pertains to goodness or something holy. For example, God is in the light, of heaven. James Baldwin makes a similar connection in his writing On the Painter Beauford Delaney. He describes the feeling of being humbled from the strong power of the light which "fell down from heaven". Baldwin further expands into the relation of such a light, being present in Delaney's artwork. Baldwin's essay takes the metaphorical meaning of the empowerment of light and connects it to the acclaimed work of Beauford Delaney.
In Alaska the winter days are long, cold and dark. On some days it is only light out for three hours. Alaskans soon learn to be appreciative of the light they have.
Baldwin remarks on Delaney's appreciation for the light. His ability to utilize light as a tool to enhance his artwork, is a skill that Baldwin praises. The light that is available is scarce, like that of Alaska, and Delaney learns to capture the light into his paintings. Baldwin notes how Delaney has the light "trapped in it and struggles upward, rather like grass pushing upward through the cement." Similar to a child playing with a kaleidoscope, hoping to catch the light against the colors, Baldwin explains that maturity of that action, present in Delaney's paintings.
Throughout Baldwin's essay it seems as if he holds such a grasp on the meaning behind the paintings and the corresponding intentions held by Delaney. However, Baldwin reveals to us that he holds a personal relationship with Delaney. This takes away from Baldwin's credibility as a critic. He...