“The land is always there…it is you who has to return”
― Munia Khan

Black and White Friday returns with this first Friday in January. Several years ago, following a challenging time in my life, the theme of my first open studio was Return to Light. So I thought with this first post of the New Year as the Northern Hemisphere returns to longer, warmer, light-filled days, it only fitting to choose Return as the theme.

The image is a disintegrating leaf returning to the earth, its shadow and the traveling light and shadow of a Venetian blind cast on a wall in my studio. The theme of returning is a powerful one in our psyche and in contemplative and artistic practice. We return to sleep and we return to wakefulness in one of our daily rhythms. We wander away from ourselves, and the meditation cushion and our breath bring us back. We restore our creativity through avenues like drawing, painting, camera, dance, and song; returning our artistic soul into the light of the visible, however long it stays. With dance, the form arises and dissolves like a sand mandala. Whatever the avenue, its permanence is not the most important thing. It is our expression.

Return to Light 2 © Kathryn Van Aernum

Return To Light 2

I derive inspiration, insights, answers to problems, and sheer pleasure through many mediums, but I always return to the camera and the immediacy of the moment. My daily return to the meditation cushion and yoga are the foundation of these expressions, creating a rich synergy of their own rhythms of departing and returning.

In addition to our personal mediums, we may be called to return to certain themes. I often cycle through themes of “reclamation,” “black and white,” “pathways” and others. Because they have been a part of my psyche and practice for so long, they return like old friends for a visit. Similarly, one can return to familiar locations, such as the beach, mountains or a busy cosmopolitan city to feed the creative spark. However our creativity manifests we are called, like the prodigal son, to return to the light that feeds us.

What ways have you found the theme of Return playing out in your life? I’d like to hear from you.


Kathryn Van Aernum is a photographer, mixed-media artist and helps people reclaim their creative soul. To find out more about coaching, visit her other location on the web: kathrynvanaernum.com