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Control VS Letting Go – TAO LP 2

Control VS Letting Go – TAO LP 2

Here is a good mind bender.

Light painting is in great part about motion, movement. We, light painter, in most case, have to move our bodies to create our art. We can use control to do this or just allowed it to happen by letting go.

Some people believe that being in control is the way to create and nothing else exist than controlling your light, your movements and the outcome. If you do, please go ahead and keep going, it isn’t wrong and does give some good results. But if you are a little bit curious by the mysteries of life, the other layers that make this universe possible, the dimensions of your body and if you want to go deeper into art, then you must go deeper into yourself and open up to other possibilities. Ready for a good ride?

Let’s start with our modern day story telling and the great magician archetype we repeatedly see in our culture.
Notice one thing; the magician is never in control. He can only do the magic when the magic is available. If you take the stories of any magician, like in Lord Of The Ring, for example, Gandalf only does the magic at certain key moments. If he were in full control of his powers, and not the other way around, he would be zapping his magic wand all the way through the film. From the beginning to the end, like changing channels on television with a remote. If the magician had unlimited full access to power, there would be no stories, no struggles, no adventure, no learning; it would get way too easy, and all the other heroes would be useless. Same with Harry Potter or any of the Jedis. The force, the magic, our creative powers come and go. Even if we try our best, sometimes, it just not happening at that moment while others days, we rock it, we kick ass; we are in the zone and on a roll making one great move after the other.

From observing your process; you discover that everything is influencing everything at every moment. Looking at your result, you can tell if you are aligned or misaligned with your self, your art at the present moment. I started observing this years ago with portrait and understood that the model was influencing my light directly. If the model is inspiring and open, feeding my process, there is a greater chance of a magical result, the energy flows. If the music is right and worries are out of the way, it frees up space for the creative mind to come in, for the genius to show up. It goes for everything inside and outside of ourselves. It all influences us and makes a difference.
We are not the only one responsible for our light painting, everything and everyone are, in a way. Ok, while we are at it, let’s push this, the whole universe is responsible for what we are living right now.
See the TED talk from Elisabeth Gilbert; she explains about the Genius as something outside of us that comes to us. It’s a fascinating idea and her book The Big Magic also talks about that. I recommend to read it.


I practice on a daily basis the light painting kata. It’s just myself on a black background with my light blades. This way I’m just facing myself with the same environment. It’s the simplest and purest form I found to teach and deepen my art.
I have done thousand and thousand of light paintings this way. From what I observe, the special ones, the magical pieces, the chef d’oeuvre, come out of me when they do, and I don’t get to chose on what day and at what time it happens. It just does. Someday everything lines up perfectly and boom the magic happens, can’t explain it, but I can make it work for myself, by accepting this and being conscious of this.
As soon as an other pair of eyes is focused in my direction, I feel it, and it does influence my light.
So I do believe that we are not in control and have to dance with it all, moving in flow and let the light happen as it does.

I learn to let go and trust the “physical intelligence”. The same force that makes us grow from an invisible point in the womb to this fully developed human with a light tool in hand ready to light up the world.

Did we control the sperm and the egg and all the process that grew us into this massive walking-talking eco system that has the power to destroy and create? It just happened somehow and wasn’t controlled by what you call YOU or your brain; you existed before your brain did. Do you tell your finger how to heal when you get a cut? “Hey yo, place some red cells here, and we need stable atoms there, don’t forget to coagulate properly…” No, it just happens, there is a greater force built in us, maybe we can call it consciousness? See the great intelligence at work here?
What if we can light paint with that force. What if we can allow this to take over and make some amazing thing happen this way.

What if the most powerful way to create was by allowing instead of controlling. Observing that control is base on fear, limits contraction and the need to be important in the mind so we can say, “I did this”. Control is ego based. Allowing, on the other hand, relies on acceptance, trust, expansion, and love from the heart. If the mind is always in the way, do we get the chance to feel ourselves, our creation? What is your body is a big sophisticated sensor and feelings are the primary language, will control listen and respond?
Consciously we can move our attention, literally from the mind, the brain into the heart, in the center of the self. Reconnecting with breathing and clearing up the mental clutter of things distracting us from connecting with our center, therefore restraining from connecting with the others and our first nature.
If you optimize yourself and clear up the clutter, moving away from fears into the heart, your art, your light painting will take a quantum leap forward, and your super powers will rise to create in a new way utilizing your full magician Jedi powers.
By all means, if you have doubts in my words, just look at some of my images and ask yourself, how did he do those? Well, now you know. This is what I’ve been practicing for decades now.

In art, we must allow the unknown to come in. We must make mistakes and observe what door this opens.

And BTW, mistakes are the best teacher. It paves the way to discovery. So many scientific discoveries and technologies that came to be “by accident”.


So when I do practice my light painting kata with my light sword in hand, I let my body move, freely and it learns by itself, “ME” out of the way. It’s very clever you know this walking-talking eco system that hosts us. My art comes from allowing, that is the school I go to every day, that is what teaches me about so many parts of myself and being a creator of this world.

In light we trust, in ourselves, we must.


TAO LP  (The Art Of Light Painting).

About The Author

Patrick Rochon

Painting with actual light has been a fascination for two and a half decades now. Having explored many techniques, created many different light tools and light painted thousand of pieces, I’ve come to a place of finding beauty in simplicity, opening a world of small details within a line that contains it all. To me, that is where fine art begins. Patrick is an award-winning Light Painting photographer with over 24 years of experience. First prize winner of the Nikon photo contest in Japan, Patrick has done light painting photography for various fashion, rock magazines, CD jackets, DVD covers, posters, and international ad campaigns. Clients also include Toyota and Honda. Born in Montreal, Canada, Patrick has lived mainly in Tokyo, New York and Paris for 15 years.


  1. Sergey Churkin

    Can’t say better, than you, Patrick. I feel the same. And this knowledge is the power which drive me and make understandable every light painter in the univeverse. Light, Beat, Eat, Repeat :))))))

    • Patrick Rochon

      It can be frightening to explore to more unconscious and intuitive parts of ourselves, but they are still parts of ourselves and can only enrich us and deepen our life meaningfully.

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