The loveliest distance

child drawing

“A curved line is the loveliest distance between two points.” — unknown. Children’s art class. Image: Su Leslie 2018

Art begins with the line; sketches, paintings, even three dimensional works.

It seems to me that the urge to mark lines on a surface is quite fundamentally human. From paleolithic cave art to toddlers “redecorating” walls with Mum’s lipstick (true story — but it was my brother, honest); in all times and at all ages we seek to explore, document and indeed change our world with lines and all that flows from them.

Or as art historian Sir Kenneth Clark put it:

The difference between what we see and a sheet of white paper with a few thin lines on it is very great. Yet this abstraction is one which we seem to have adopted almost instinctively at an early stage in our development, not only in Neolithic graffiti but in early Egyptian drawings. And in spite of its abstract character, the outline is responsive to the least tremor of sensibility. 

At a cultural level, line-making helps to define humanity.

At a personal level it makes us happy — and sometimes deeply unhappy.

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” — Pablo Picasso

The joy children experience in making art can so quickly be extinguished by external — and internal — critics. “That’s no good” becomes “you’re hopeless at art”, which becomes “I’m not creative.” I actually heard a woman at an art workshop say that while introducing herself to the group.

I started writing this post for Debbie’s One Word Sunday, where this week the word is lines. Then I realised that when I talk about art, and about making art, I am also talking about happiness. So I’m adding the post also to the Lens-Artists challenge | happiness is.

Just what the doctor ordered

There is quite a lot of evidence that engaging in creative activities improves health — mental and physical. Writing, drawing, painting, making crafts or music, even doodling and colouring in — they can all help to focus our thoughts, increase our happiness, boost our immune systems and even help treat dementia.

I’ve experienced periods of depression for most of my adult life. Of all the treatments I’ve tried, what seems to work best is making stuff; focusing my mind and hands and energy on some creative project, however small. At the moment, it’s Christmas cards.

I’m always a bit reluctant to recommend anything, especially for something as serious as mental health, but there is a significant body of research behind this — and it works for me.

Posted to Ragtag Daily Prompt | recommendation

Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge: a spring in his step

Jumping for joy; the boy-child on holiday in the UK. Photo: Tony Gray, 2006

Jumping for joy; the boy-child on holiday in the UK. Photo: Tony Gray, 2006

It’s autumn here in New Zealand and we definitely seem to have reached the end of the golden weather.

The boy-child has been off on Planet Teenager for the past few days — managing to be verbally uncommunicative whilst stomping around in a manner that just screams “not happy.”

It probably won’t last; my funny, loving son should soon emerge from whatever funk he’s in and remind me why I’m so happy to be his mother. In the meantime, I’m reminding myself of the good old days — before he grew into a heavy-footed giant and he always seemed to have a spring in his step.

This post was written for the Daily Post Photo Challenge. Here are some other “spring” posts I’ve enjoyed:

http://cardinalguzman.wordpress.com/2014/05/02/shtreimel-%D7%A9%D7%98%D7%A8%D7%B2%D6%B7%D7%9E%D7%9C-and-a-jewish-family/

http://flickrcomments.wordpress.com/2014/05/02/weekly-photo-challenge-spring-2/

http://brokenlightcollective.wordpress.com/2014/05/02/hope-from-above/

http://deliciousfoodandtravel.wordpress.com/2014/05/05/weekly-photo-challenge-spring/

Weekly Photo Challenge: Spring

Weekly Photo Challenge: Spring

http://vonnscottbair.wordpress.com/2014/05/05/boolean-logic-the-farmers-market-weekly-photo-challenge-spring/

http://treerabold.wordpress.com/2014/05/05/weekly-photo-challenge-spring-chelseas-annual-bluebonnet-picture/

Weekly Photo Challenge: Spring

http://sued51too.wordpress.com/2014/05/05/weekly-photo-challenge-spring-ii/

http://eyecandyvisionz.wordpress.com/2014/05/04/weekly-photo-challenge-spring-shape-up-iii/

http://southernseamuse.wordpress.com/2014/05/04/weekly-photo-challenge-spring/

http://gabimili.wordpress.com/2014/05/04/printemps-pret-a-porter/

http://lrbritton.wordpress.com/2014/05/05/weekly-photo-challenge-autumn/

http://kathaphoto.com/2014/05/04/spring-blossoms/

http://kurtengel18.wordpress.com/2014/05/04/weekly-photo-challengespring/

http://mytripthisyear.wordpress.com/2014/05/04/weekly-photo-challenge-sunset-in-spring/

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/spring-2/

http://mybeautfulthings.wordpress.com/2014/05/04/solitary-walk-through-the-churchyard-in-spring-weekly-photo-challenge/

http://debbiescottphotography.wordpress.com/2014/05/04/weekly-photo-challenge-spring/

http://vsupertramp.wordpress.com/2014/05/04/the-devil-is-in-the-detail/

http://travelsandtrifles.wordpress.com/2014/05/04/weekly-photo-challenge-spring/

http://woollymuses.wordpress.com/2014/05/05/weekly-photo-challenge-spring/

Weekly Photo Challenge | Spring

http://blog.kjphotographer.com/2014/05/04/spring/

http://phrogmom.wordpress.com/2014/05/04/weekly-photo-challenge-spring-2/

http://jejak-bocahilang.com/2014/05/04/weekly-photo-challenge-spring/

Weekly Photo Challenge: Spring

WPC: Spring

http://mardmod.wordpress.com/2014/05/04/playing-in-the-rain-weekly-photo-challenge-spring/

http://bluejbluej.wordpress.com/2014/05/04/spring-hairstyle/

Weekly Photo Challenge: Spring