I live on a blind corner. Cars speed round it terrifyingly fast and often. Parking here is a bit of a lottery — and daft since there’s a long strait just ahead. Parking like this (if you can call it parking) is just mental. I watched in dismay this afternoon as one car after another swerved to avoid this stupidly parked vehicle; and am still shaken by how narrowly a neighbour avoided a head-on collision.
Inconsiderate driving behaviour seems to be on the increase — a sign of a wider malaise perhaps?
Ferry terminal, Auckland. Designed by Alexander Wiseman and completed in 1912. Image: Su Leslie 2018
Not old by international standards — nor even amongst the earliest buildings in Auckland — but the Ferry Terminal is one of the few remaining stone buildings in a CBD increasingly crowded with steel and glass towers.
“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.