The Nightingale Foundation is under development at this time, but it will serve to preserve the history and honor Frank Byron Nightingale. Additionally, it will be a place where those interested can donate money towards the following efforts: preservation of the Nightingale history and the continued advancements for landscape lighting education, innovation, and uncompromising quality.Avalon Lighting Design
Francis Byron Nightingale was born on December 26, 1885 in Deerfield, NY to parents, Thomas P. Nightingale and Harriett Little. His parents had three children together, all boys—Edgar, Thomas and Francis. He was the youngest of the siblings and was always curious in life. Francis (Frank) was fascinated by magic and this became his first true passion.
Frank’s first job was as a paper boy by delivering the Utica Observer, but he spent much of his childhood studying the art of magic. By the time he turned 16 years of age, he performed as a professional at many New York venues, including Vaudeville. His stage name was, “Nightingale the Mystifier” and he was part of the ‘Brotherhood of Magicians’. Magic was his career until about his mid-20’s.
The following is what Frank wrote in his book, “Magic for Magicians” (1964) about a couple of moments during his early days:
“They say that ‘Magicians are born’. How true, how very, very true, seeing that by being born is the only way any of us ever manage to arrive here.
I started in right—fooled them all the very first day. They said I would be a girl, but decidedly was not! They said my arrival would be on Christmas, but I was stubborn—waited until after mid-night. It was now December 26, 1885 in the quiet little village of Deerfield, Oneida County, New York State, U.S.A.
Dad could not blame me on Santa Claus now, and there were no storks about. My yowls gave him an idea—it was brilliant! He chucked me into a bureau drawer in the spare bedroom. The serenade increased awakening my two older brothers. Dad said, ‘Sounds like a bobcat, let’s get the shotgun!’ So armed, they entered the room and Presto-A Magician was discovered!”
“I made another—and very sweet—appearance just a year later. A narrow, dark and very steep flight of stairs led from our upper hall to the big friendly kitchen where the family had gathered for Christmas breakfast. Since no one ever used these stairs Mother had set platters of candy there to harden. Dad and I were late so, to save time, we started down those dark stairs. After he stepped into the first platter of candy we were tobogganing! Gathering both speed and sweetness we crashed through the kitchen door amid a mess of caramels, fudge and chocolate creams. There was no applause, no request for a repeat performance.
From that day on, life as a Magician has continued to be an interesting one. Entering school just increased my opportunities to get into trouble, which—with minor respites—has continued all through life.”
Around 1912, Frank accepted a position with the General Electric company in Schenectady, NY, that relocated him to Los Angeles, CA. After settling into this new environment, Frank was intrigued to live in the wilderness. So, he built his first cabin home north-east of Pasadena, CA in the Sierra Madre mountains.
Frank named his cabin, ‘Wa-wan’, which is believed to be a native American word for “Peace”. He built it between 1914-1915, and was located in a secluded ravine of the mountains north of the town, Sierra Madre, CA. In 1916, he homesteaded a little more than 44-acres further west of this location and just north of what is now considered, Altadena, CA. Frank called it “Golden Valley” and it was here that he built another cabin called, ‘Palawoo’—“Bird’s nest” (a native American word). This cabin was built in one of his adjoining valleys he called, “Valley of the Voices”.
Unfortunately, both cabins burned down from natural fires—Palawoo, on October 23, 1935. Golden Valley was where it all started for Frank and his family. Palawoo was the first structure Frank built on this land and it was here that he courted his wife, Leona. He began construction on their first home in 1923, which he named, “The Citadel”. Frank and Leona were married on May 12, 1924.
In 1920, Frank was assigned to work as a foreign representative and sales engineer for the Anderson-Meyers company LTD. in Shanghai, China. He served in this position for almost two years. Once his contract ended, Frank decided to take ten months off to travel around the world. His travels took him through the S. China seas, Philipines, Borneo, Singapore, Java, Malasia, Burma, India, Tibet, Straits Settlements Arabia, Czecho-Slovakia, British India, Austrailia, Ports of call Italy, Switzerland, Spain, France, Germany, England, Scotland, Belgium, Palestine, Israel, Egypt, Constanople, New Guinea, and Syria. It was quite an amazing journey.
There are many stories and documented accounts of these travels, which is amazing in itself. In 1932 and on his 47th birthday, Frank was discharged from G.E. having served a solid 19 years.
1933 was the year to mark as the beginning for garden lighting or landscape lighting, as it is considered today. It should be clearly understood that Frank is the ‘Father of Garden Lighting’. Many in this trade and the lighting industry believed that Bill Locklin was this originator, but that is false. In fact, Locklin was actually trained in how to utilize lights in the landscape by Bill Eppard (son-in-law of Frank) and Nancy Nightingale-Eppard (Frank’s youngest daughter) in the 1950’s. Locklin was the first to utilize low voltage (12-volt) lamps—this was where the misunderstanding occurred in this history.
By this time in Frank’s life, he had developed a powerful relationship with both nature and lighting. He had the vision to illuminate the beauty of these spaces at night. Therefore, he began developing ideas and prototype light fixtures that would mimic plants or things naturally found in these outdoor environments. He did so within his garage work shop until his business venture got off the ground.
Frank established the Kim Manufacturing Co. in 1934 and introduced the first garden lighting catalog to the market. Although all of the lighting equipment utilized 120-volt power, he successfully developed a means for the design and installation of these products. In addition, he established a side-business that provided event lighting for outdoor parties and gatherings. Much of this business served the wealthy, as they spared no expense to entertain in this fashion. If you locate the image in the Museum gallery, you will see a list of many of these famous clients Frank served. You can also find this same list in his book (a rare find) called, “Lighting as an Art”.
Frank and Leona had three young children—Peter, Wanda and Nancy. Each of them ended up working in the business once they reached the appropriate age to do so. However, it was Nancy who continued on after schooling was completed and to ultimately take ownership of it with her husband. After the Citadel was completed and he outgrew his garage shop operation, he built a three-story workshop-studio building. It looked to be a two-story building, but there is a lower section that exists, as it’s built into the side of a hill. This structure had two walk-around viewing decks, a workshop-studio, entertainment patio-courtyard, and living quarters. It also had an outdoor fireplace and grotto setting, which allowed him to feature some of his lighting.
It is very interesting to note that Frank developed his lighting systems into a controlled theatrical production. He scripted every part of his displays and the movement around the property to allow his guests to be enchanted by this lighting experience. All of this was achieved with the use of mechanical timers that would activate zones of lighting, as Frank would be describing the setting. Therefore, it seemed ‘magical’ at how these areas came to life. Obviously, Frank’s abilities as a magician were used here. Not only did he intrigue his guests with the use of light, but sound, too. He would play “Moonlight Sonata” as the lighting came on, which again was timed perfectly to greatly enhance this experience.
Frank operated and built the Kim lighting business from 1934 through 1952, when he retired at the age of 67 years old. He sold the company to his daughter, Nancy and her husband, Bill Eppard. Bill had spent a solid year working side-by-side with Frank to ensure a smooth transition. The Eppards continued the business until 1965 when they finally sold it to Progress Lighting. Bill Eppard was retained on staff until 1970, as president.
After Kim Lighting was sold and the Eppards were no longer involved, it went through several buy-outs and name changes. In 1966, Progress Lighting merged with the Walter-Kidde Co., which later was acquired by United Technologies in 2005. After a few years, it was sold to Hubbell Lighting. The Kim name still remains today and it is still held under the Hubbell structure. However, Kim no longer has the same passion or drive that it once did through the vision of Mr. Nightingale. Landscape lighting and the use of low voltage is considered only a small portion of their focus, which is a shame. In fact, much of this history is lost or forgotten. For this reason alone, the Nightingale Foundation and this website were formed—to preserve and protect this history of Frank B. Nightingale.
Once Frank retired, Leona and he decided to relocate to a property purchased in Skyforest, CA. This was a beautiful cabin home that overlooked part of the Lake Arrowhead. By 1967, they had sold their property in Golden Valley, and Frank spent his remaining years writing his three books.
The first of the three books Frank wrote is called, “Garden Lighting” in 1958, which is what this website is primarily dedicated to—the art, craft and discipline of landscape lighting. Frank’s second book, “Lighting as an Art” (1962), features his event’s lighting business. And lastly is, “Magic for Magicians” (1964), which is dedicated to the art of magic. The wonderful thing about this last book is that he had included an autobiographical section about his early life and some of his travels.
On April 18, 1965, Frank quietly passed that day—it was Easter Sunday. Forever, he should be remembered for his great passion and the wonderful contributions he made in this art-form. Truly, there will be no other like him.
‘The Discipline’—a term used to describe the practice of this art-form. It also serves to describe why we do this work and the importance of what and how we perform Landscape Lighting Design-Installation. The most important element to any discipline (the study) is being Passionate about it. This ‘study’ is and should be considered a life-long process, especially if one treats it as an art.
Because this website is dedicated to Mr. Frank B. Nightingale, it serves as a tribute to him and the study of Landscape Lighting. In an attempt to better understand this discipline, we have broken this process down into the following questions—Why, What and How:
When we address the “why” of this effort, one must have an understanding of the ‘whole’—the environment in which we work (nature and exterior landscapes), the science of light, the emotional value of the effects of light through vision to stimulate the brain, and the characteristics of solids and liquids when illuminated. Each of these elements combines to develop the scene—that which is experienced by the viewer.
WHY— The mind allows us the opportunity to ask the question, “why?” As humans, we do this naturally in all activities, but it is easily understood when we enter a new space or encounter a new experience. We will question, why is this here?…..what is the purpose of it?.....is it safe?......how does it feel?....does it make sense? It’s an understanding we gain in survival and keeping ourselves safe. As it applies to landscape lighting, one must have an understanding of the ‘whole’ space—the environment (in this case, natural and man-made within a defined space).
WHAT— Generally speaking, we are illuminating garden spaces or landscapes with man-made light during the night-time hours. But, if we expand upon this we will see that it’s a series of processes in order to achieve this. It will include a vision—to create with light, a design concept that effectively illuminates these spaces. This is the crucial element of this art-form—to identify the elements and characteristics of the physical objects within these spaces. Additionally, it’s the understanding of how “light” works. Light is a form of physical science. This craft applies the ability to combine both physical science and psychological science, which is why it’s an art. It has the ability to emotionally impact one’s state. It can provide peace or calm, happiness or joy, intrigue or awe, and even fear and sadness.
HOW— This seems to be the question which most affects the outcome of a landscape lighting job. Also, it serves to separate the quality and skills of those who practice this craft. The unfortunate thing is that most people don’t understand the full impact of this question, as it relates to this discipline. “How” one performs the design, installation and maintenance of these systems is a true reflection of their dedication to this work.
Another aspect to this question is how much time is dedicated to learning or to one’s skill sets. The “art of landscape lighting” is a life-long learning process—it’s not something that can be learned in a 4-hour distributor training course! It is for this reason why we choose to identify those who perform this trade as, “practitioners”. Only those who do this for a living, dedicated to the trade or the discipline of this craft should ever be considered “experts” or even “artists”. It should also be noted that anyone who designs only needs to have actual field experience installing and aiming/focusing these lighting systems.
Additionally, the “How” question serves to justify what one might charge for services. Experience and time within this study/trade are the key components to this justification. Just as an artist might charge for his/her works—experience, understanding and ability must be properly accounted for in this relevance.
Discipline relates to both experience and study. Only those who perform in a routine manner, the act of learning in order to gain additional experience can truly say they serve ‘The Discipline’ of Landscape Lighting. Learning includes two things: 1) learning knowledge, and 2) learning to “see”—learning to visualize. The ability to visualize what a scene in the daylight might look like at night is the skill we are describing. Mr. Nightingale makes these statements in his “Garden Lighting” book:
“If garden lighting is to become a serious part of your future life work, you must become devoted to it. You will do well to develop an eye that by day sees in terms of night. To succeed in
creating lighting effects of which Alladin might be proud, takes time.”
“You may be asked to design lighting for gardens in other states—even in distant lands—which you will never see. This is quite a challenge, but once you have conquered the art of ‘night-vision’ by day it will not be difficult.”
The most important attribute one can display in their work
Passion is the driving force behind any profession. It’s the fire of life that will allow you to achieve greater success. Passion encourages us to learn more, to do more, and to never give up. Frank B. Nightingale displayed this great passion, and it allowed him to establish the high standards that governed his works. In turn, he identified three key principles for his company:
One should utilize these three principles as a measure in your own work—question yourself:
Although this list is short, it should lend itself in questioning where you personally stand in your own business.
Unfortunately, there is no governing authority to oversee the standards and practices of this specialty trade. This is, but one of the problems we face today other than, professionalism and advanced thoughts. We are nothing more than a small niche specialty application that has no real voice within the grand scale, lighting industry. And within the lighting industry, we see segmentation and no unified mission. This is troubling for all of us, because it truly hurts the consumer….the public, as we have little understanding of our importance.
Unfortunately, there is little to provide for standardization. The following are general points that address several concerns facing our specialty and the lighting industry, as a whole:
If this profession is to continue and to advance itself, then we have to address two serious problems:
Frank B. Nightingale established this discipline and he did so that it is considered an art-form. He provided the basic structure, principles, and understanding of what, why and how we perform landscape lighting design and installation. As identified earlier, it was because he was passionate about it and this is how everyone acting as a stand-alone business (landscape lighting only) should act.
Although the following could be considered biased, I believe these are good examples that exemplify what Frank B. Nightingale stood for. Each of these people lives in the U.S.A., and they own-operate a landscape lighting-only business. Each of their companies is award-winning and they have served the industry for at least 15 to 20+ years. They are as follows:
Mike is the founder and operator of Gambino Landscape Lighting (www.gambinolighting.com) located in Simi Valley, CA. He also serves as both a contributing partner to this website and as my collaborative partner on large projects. Personally, I consider him the “modern day Nightingale”. No other individual across the America’s has invested more into this trade practice, the industry itself and to the art of this profession.
Mike has been a leader in providing education to both the consumer market and to the trade, primarily through his weekly blog series. He was an original founder of the industry’s only trade association when it was first launched in 2001. Additionally, he is in the top 1% of those performing today—a grand feat in itself.
As far as innovations, Mike has developed his own high-quality brass & copper product line that incorporates state-of-the-art LED modules. All of this is exclusive to him, which provides him with complete control and advantage over that of the competition. To date, I believe he is the only one in our profession doing this. Additionally, he utilizes professional standards that exceed most any other competitor. Also, he developed a new means to cable distributions over what is generally practiced today.
So, in my evaluation of “leaders”, Mike is at the top of the list. He is living proof of the three principles that Mr. Nightingale developed in 1934—Innovation, Education and Uncompromising Quality. It should also be known that Mike and I are preserving much of the Frank B. Nightingale history through this website, a collection of historical items, and social media pages.
Gary is the founder and retiring operator of NiteLiters, Inc. (www.niteliters.com) located in Owensboro, KY. He established his business in 1998 and has one of the most stream-lined operations out there. His original background was that of an accountant, which explains his efficiencies.
I consider Gary a “leader” in this discipline because he has developed proven systems and procedures for every aspect of his business. His company is disciplined to monitor and evaluate every process—a dedication rarely performed by others in this profession. In addition, he is currently implementing a succession plan to allow his working family members and employees to continue on their great works. This is one element that the majority of those who are successful have not fulfilled.
It should be noted that Kentucky is not ‘Hollywood’ or a thriving ‘ski resort’ community. Gary has proven that success can be obtained even in a smaller and average market. NiteLiters is in a select group of the top 5% of the revenue earners in this profession. For this reason alone, Gary’s business model is exceptional.
Gary instills a teamwork philosophy, holding team members accountable, and educating his employees. Each of these standards has proven to aid in his industry position.
Although I feel funny about and am hesitant to list myself in this category, I do believe that I have performed in a manner to elevate the standards and practices for landscape lighting design. Also, it should be noted that I am not in the top 5% of earners in this field. To obtain that level of production has never been my goal.
My goal and passion lies with the advancement and development of the design processes of this ‘Discipline’. I’ve talked with many professionals & practitioners within our trade and I have found one commonality—most do very little when it comes to design preparation, presentation, and As-build documentation.
I am the founder and operator of Avalon Lighting Design (www.avalonlighting.com) located in Orangevale, CA. My business was established in 1999. Due to what I provide my customer base and how I do this, it places me in the top 1% of those performing in a design capacity.
I consider myself a “leader” because I have done more to provide for education and the advancement in this aspect of the business. I have taken the time to teach on this subject matter, to write a series of educational articles, and to develop standards for this profession. Also, I have performed at a national and international level. In addition to this, I have co-authored and published a book with Mike Gambino called, “The Original Garden Lighting Book” (a republication of Frank Nightingale’s first book, ‘Garden Lighting’).
As far as innovation, I have developed a series of processes to allow me to engage in complicated designs to ensure their accuracy above 90%. I’ve even done so without visiting the project site in advance of installation, which is truly a challenge with any international endeavor.
Lastly, there is a severe lacking in leadership for landscape lighting design. Janet Moyer-Gruel is realistically the only one to provide for this aspect since the 1970’s. I honestly believe that it is the design component of landscape lighting that will provide for our advancement, as a practice and discipline. Until we, as a trade, can show the lighting industry and the consumer market that we are relevant and respected for this art, we will continued to be lumped in as a blue-collar trade.
“Have you ever watched the yuccas bloom,
In the rays of a setting sun.
Seen the cream of its petals turn to gold,
When the busy day is done.
Sit on a rock, where the grease-wood wastes,
Stretches out upon every side.
You see them dotted, here and there,
With nothing their glory to hide.
God’s candles they call them, and how true,
When you see them in the night.
Beneath the vault of heavens blue,
With the stars their only light.
You bow your head to the God above,
Who makes the green things grow.
Gives them strength, hope and life,
In this paradise here below.”
“Palawoo,---so dear to me,
Remains now but a memory.
Carved by hand from the virgin wild,
Loved and cherished, as an only child.
Palawoo,---I knew some day,
That you might leave me, just this way.
Now without regret, for your time had come,
Memory lingers in the heart of many a one.
The fire-place stands so mute and grim,
No friendly welcome, there is no within.
Just a shaft whose shadow, night and day,
Will mark the hours, the years away.
All signs of man will soon be gone,
Coyotes return with baleful song.
An owl will hoot from a fire-blasted tree,
But only the moon and stars shall see.
This evening and silence, the lower world stilled,
A near-by calling—the Whip-Poor-Will.
There’s a rustle of leaves, in the canyon bed
Of some night prowler, and the fire-grate burns red.
The green, oak forest, and deep, blue skies,
Dotted with stars like a million eyes.
Here perched on the mountain, Palawoo I love,
Twixt valley below and the heavens above.
While lights of the city, in the distance gleam,
An inverted sky, to the watcher it seems.
A hoot-owl calls its absent mate—
A chorus of crickets--, and the hour grows late.
Weird cries of coyote—sharp bark of the fox—
A scramble on the hill side, and a shower of rocks.
Soft, padded foot-falls—tracks on the trail—
A cry in the darkness that ends in a wail.
The wild eat is singing the song that it knows,
Back in the range where the wild yucca blows,
A tall, green spectre, all draped in white,
A silent sentinel, on guard through the night.
While breezes whisper in the grease-wood nearby,
Peace to the soul, rest for the eye.
Clear notes of the kill-deer—sleepy croak of the frog—
Just ‘round the corner near the spring, on a log.
The quails dreamy chirping—dark forms of the bat—
Bright eyes on the tree trunk, of a wandering pack rat.
Ribbons of vapor, transparent and thin,
Than an ocean of mystery as the fog drifts in.
Above it like islands, in this enchanted sea
Great mountain tops, rugged, peep through it to me.
While their imaginary shore are crested with the mass
As the billows roll onward, up the trail o’er the pass.
Sweet odors of fragrance on the balmy night air—
A cave up the canyon—the mountain lion’s lair.
Surrounded here by nature there is health, peace for you
In the mountain cabin of “Palawoo.”
A hopelessly discouraging sense of defeat may sweep over you, but if you are to continue and succeed with your chosen art you must never give up. Never lose faith that something good will happen. If you will persevere—IT WILL! I have never seen it fail.
Dedication to the Art
From many years experience, this much I know. As long as you are a magician you will be dreaming of and practicing new things. Did I say dreaming? Yes, that too is so. You will sleep with a pad, pencil and flashlight beneath your pillow every night. New ideas often come after you have retired and awaken you with their vividness.
Let me speak of something right here that, if you use it, will greatly assist you—assist you not only in working out your magical effects, but in many phases of your life and desires as well.
For example, you wish to develop a new illusion. You wish to place a lady on a glass-topped table, cover her with a transparent plastic bell. The bell now becomes misty with smoke within. You tip the bell over, smoke billows out, the lady has vaporized…vanished!
My own recipe for a new illusion is this: first think of an impossibility—then discover a way to do it. You must have the fundamentals of what you wish to do; then decide how to do it! Eventually several methods will come to your mind and you select the best. There will however be times when no practical solution can be found. Now it is time to ask for aid. Did you know that you have a very capable built-in adviser? It is called the subconscious mind; you will find it to be a true friend, a reliable and productive servant worth cultivating. At times it may seem to be unpredictable but with patience and understanding it will serve you well.
Let us return to the “Lady to Vapor” illusion. Some evening after the show, when you have regained some measure of quiet and relaxation, you then either in thought or in actual words say, “Hello there, Subconscious, are you listening? I have a problem for you.” Then explain the result you wish to accomplish. Visualize the results you desire in your own mind….SEE the lady turning to vapor! After this detailed description, you say, “Go ahead, Subconscious, work it out for me. When it is ready, just ‘knock’ and I will listen.”
It may be days, weeks or months before you receive a reply. If you are in a hurry, then occasionally in the same manner repeat your desire. Each time explain in detail just what you wish to know; then say, “I’m waiting…!”
Eventually she will work out that problem and flash it to your conscious mind. Often it will come the most inopportune time, but there can be no postponement—you must receive her when she knocks. That is why you will sleep with pad and pencil—and don’t forget the flashlight—beneath your pillow. You have courted her, asked her aid; now you must pay homage to her every whim. She will give you an intensive few minutes with your pad and pencil. Ideas and results will come into your mind almost too fast to record them. They will just tumble over each other in their eagerness to be recognized. When she has finished, you will find your question answered completely in every detail.
Never disappoint her when she knocks. If you are with people, excuse yourself and find a spot to be alone. Just say, “I am listening, “ and she will unfold the plan.
How does she ‘knock’? That is difficult to explain. It is a “feeling” that comes within you that NOW is the time. You may feel almost breathless with its urgency, for an immediate response is necessary. She may call at 3 a.m. when you are dead tired and have a 5 a.m. train to catch. Give her that interview—if you value what you asked for. It may seem strange, but it is a fact that if you do not respond to her call, that idea may be lost forever. I have known times when her plausible explanations seemed so simple and easy that I did not write them down—I couldn’t forget! By the following morning they were completely erased from my memory. No amount of mental effort was ever able to bring them back. Something had been lost, perhaps forever.
Give her one or a dozen problems to work out; she will not confuse them. This strange power will bring other desires to you, but be certain that you wish for only good ones.
At times there is a “consciousness” within you when you are about to originate some entirely new effect. It is a “feel” inside and you will spend much of the day as you go about searching for a clue. Of a sudden, looking at something that has no relation to magic, the new idea is born.
The Importance of Experience & Dedication to the Craft
Many people think that it is only necessary to KNOW the secret of a trick to be able to do it. One night a well known violinist dropped into my dressing room for a few minutes chat. During our conversation, he expressed a desire to learn a few tricks with which to astonish his friends. When I agreed to teach him as many of my tricks as he would teach me to play pieces on the violin, only then did he understand.
Only the people near a magician know the amount of time he devotes to practice. It is something that will always be with you, growing easier with time. Even when you are a professional, you will spend mornings working on the stage of an empty theater perfecting some new idea.
There are many “Mechanical Magicians”, those who only wish to pull a string or push a button to produce some effect BUT, the man who has but eight fingers and two thumbs, PLUS whatever material is available—it is HE who can completely mystify a group and be the “Man of the Hour”. People of both sexes are attracted to him, though possibly never quite understanding him. He holds secrets they will never posses; it sets him quite apart. At times, he seems not quite of this world.
There Is a wonderful satisfaction in painting pictures with light in the garden. It is a living beauty that cannot be created with any other medium.
When entering this field some basic knowledge of illumination is necessary. One should be well acquainted with the various types of electric lamp bulbs and their uses. It is most necessary that you be personally acquainted with all types of garden lighting fixtures in a working sense. This can only come thru experimenting with them at night in the garden.
Now when you think of a fixture you ‘see’ mentally what you may expect from it. You have developed that sense of knowing when to locate—what—where--. When this is combined with vision and imagination it is surprising to see how your latent ability will come to your aid when designing the lighting layout.
The lighting of each garden is a challenge to one’s knowledge, ability and most of all, ‘vision’. Each garden will be different, not only in shape and size but also in the use to which the owner wishes to put it. You will find it a most fascinating study.
Even after becoming proficient in the art make it a practice to re-visit every garden you have lighted at least once a year; once by day to see if any mechanical defect has developed, then by night to be certain all lamps are burning and properly directed. These visits will be found very much worthwhile. There will always be unforeseen developments which cannot be anticipated. All this adds to your knowledge and helps you to reduce errors elsewhere. It also shows the client the continued interest and pride you take in your work.
If garden lighting is to become a serious part of your future life work, you must become devoted to it. You will do well to develop an eye that by day sees in terms of night. To succeed in creating lighting effects of which Alladin might be proud, takes time.
While this book may answer many of your questions, you too must spend some part of the “Thousand-and-one-nights” in the garden. Even my wife, knowing that she married a Nightingale did not expect him to live in the garden,--song singing, but lighting.
At present this lighting art is an open field. It belongs to him who has the ‘know-how’ regardless of his profession.
Over-lighting vs. Under-lighting
If an individual enters the garden lighting field with the thought to sell as many lights as possible to each client, then he has chosen the wrong profession. On the other hand if he is timid, tries to ‘save-the-customer-money!’, afraid to recommend a really adequate installation to his client or himself.
A garden should be lighted to bring out the beauty which is there. Price or the number of fixtures required should never enter his thoughts. He is NOT a fixture salesman, he is bringing something out of the night that is beautiful to see. Enjoy your work, forget about ‘selling’. If your work is well done, that will take care of itself. Take your work seriously, designing the lighting of each garden to the best of your knowledge and ability. Not only will that give you happiness from within, but you will leave much of it, a part of your very self, with your client, thru your vision of beauty. This he will subconsciously feel and appreciate for many years to come.
It is just as possible to ‘over-light’ a garden as to ‘under-light’ one. Many gardens are ‘over-glared’, as well as ‘over-lighted’ caused usually by the use of fixtures from which you cannot control the light. This can be a source of irritation for you and very often for your neighbor as well.
On the other hand, to look out over an ‘under-lighted’ garden, has all the feeling of gazing at an unfinished painting, which in reality it is. Do not consider doing just a half-way job for a client. Once you start lighting an area, follow it thru consistently in detail to its conclusion.
The one exception to the above rule is the ‘budget’ customer. He wishes eventually to have a completely lighted garden but wishes to take two or three years to do it.
Lighting Layout of the Garden
With a sheet of paper thumb-tacked to a plywood board, you enter the garden to draw up the lighting plan—it is not necessary to draw to scale. Indicate the locations of trees, shrubs, lawn area, paths, pools, flower-beds, steps, etc.—the physical things that are there. When completed, find a spot overlooking the garden, relax, and weave your fabric of light.
After a general study of the garden’s features, start ‘mentally’ to locate various lights here and there. Visualize each light in its location. If your ‘night-sense’ has been developed, you have forgotten it is day-time and the ‘night-feel’ of the lighted scene comes to you.
Photography and Lighting
Photographs have a great influence in selling garden lighting equipment. It was Confucius who said, “A picture is worth 10,000 words”—and that is just as true today.
Photograph every ‘demonstration’ you make, give an enlargement of it to your prospective client, it will remind him of the beauty possible in his garden.
Photograph every permanent installation with both a day and night view. These photographs greatly assist you when calling on new prospects. They show what ‘HAS’ been done right in their own city. It also shows what ‘YOU’ can do with light in gardens.
As we stood in his patio one night, he spoke with all the enthusiasm of a small boy, discovering something for the first time. “You’d never think that flower pot…that hanging basket….that cat tail….was a light, would you?” And as he spoke, it was like a command. That particular light flashed on, without Mr. Nightingale, apparently, moving a finger!
It was late, and we confessed we had to leave….so Mr. Nightingale asked us if we could spare five minutes to hear Paderewski play the “Moonlight Sonata” by request (by transcription) and we nodded, not knowing what to expect. He took us out on the “boat deck” of his studio, which faced the mountain and canyon. It was dark and still.
Out of that mountain, clear and sparkling, came the “Moonlight Sonata” and slowly, imperceptibly came the moonlight….where there had been blackness before. The mountain was all yellow and gold. This experience is indescribable….it’s something you feel, deep inside of you….the night, the music, and the moonlight. Lovers beware!
It's important to note that Michael Gambino and I (Mark Carlson) have dedicated this site to the preservation of Mr. Nightingale's history. We share in the continuous collection of information and have an inventory of Nightingale personal items. Please contact us, or Mark (site administrator) for any items you would like to share or contribute to this effort.
Painting by Loknath Yadav
Subject: Composition of Life
Medium: Mixed media
Size: 38 cm X 59 CM
Light is a necessary component to life—it is energy and it defines our world. It can lift our spirit, as well as capture our imagination. Light becomes part of everything we see and we respond it emotionally. Just as light brings life to nature and our surroundings, so does it to a painting. At first glance, we see only the vibrant colors, specifically the shades of red and green. Additionally, we see the layers of geometric images that create both chaos and calm to the eyes. But, when the eyes adjust one will find an unplugged table lamp and two broken eggs cloaked within the colors, in a 3D effect. The unplugged table lamp is perhaps the epitome of hope of a modern individual or it is saying that anytime the lamp can be lit….it identifies with a ray of hope in life, which never ends. The eggs have different forms, but share a core meaning in post-modern art. Inside the eggs, there is blood. Most of the time blood represents pain. But here, if we consider the broken eggs as the creation of life, the red color inside these eggs would be considered as joy after pain. Looking into the broken egg’s image also could be understood to be merely a destroyed life. But in post-modern art, it never allows for one single meaning of an object. So, the broken eggs could be taken as either the creation of life or the evolution of life, which we evolve in a new way. This was an intellectual experiment within the post-modern art structure to provide thought on life and light. Note from the artist: Loknath Yadav (India)—artist, painter and web designer. “I am thankful to Mark Carlson, owner of Avalon Lighting Design, who gave me the opportunity to design this wonderful website, based on the history of Frank B. Nightingale. I am dedicating one of my paintings, “Composition of Life” to this project, as I share in a great respect for the appreciation of knowledge, light, art and nature. This painting is plane geometrical art, based on life and light, as it reflects and glows. In my early twenties, I was experimenting mostly in this geometric style. I was in search of understanding these abstract images and their hidden solutions. This study then progressed into cubism art and later into being inspired by both Pablo Picasso and M.F. Hussain.”
Painting by Pravat Manna
Subject: Life in Light
Medium: Acrylic on paper
Size: 34.30 cm X 28 cm
This painting is based on a time when light completely drives away darkness. This is one of the greatest gifts we have or can see when lighting is restored to the garden—it can completely change the shades of all its gravity. Nature’s fictional and non-fictional relationship is observed in this painting through its proportioned aesthetic value. The colors provide a sense of arousal to experience the hidden potential within this natural space. Every color has a story to fit the periodic table, so that the dark night disappears within the vertex of light that illuminates the garden. A combination of yellow and green is used to inspire hope, generosity of spirit and emotional calm. It provides mental clarity and optimism. The attraction to this painting is the subject to the warmth and happiness of the color yellow, which allows for confidence, persistence and good judgment against the dark background.
Painting by Pravat Manna
Subject: Nightingale the Mystifier
Medium: Acrylic on paper
Size: 26 cm X 26 cm
This art work is dedicated to Mr. Nightingale’s life, as a magician—one that performs magic tricks for entertainment and enchantment. Again, color identifies with meaning, as seen through this artist. The power of black reflects his quality and professionalism and exhibits gracefulness and style to those who appear or perform with magical ability. The bluish-white hand, book and pigeon are each associated with depth and stability. This symbolizes trust, wisdom and confidence. It is considered the color of perfection. Green is the color associated with the meaning of growth, harmony and freshness. This surrounds Mr. Nightingale’s body, which indicates his upcoming love towards nature and his passions within the garden.