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Thursday, April 7, 2011

James Galvin

"Let us begin with a simple line,
Drawn as a child would draw it,
To indicate the horizon...."

American Poet
1951 -

In drawing and writing, we almost always begin with the line.  The line turns into letters which turn into words which turn into sentences.  And eventually the sentences become poems, short stories and novels.  The same is often true is art.  The line becomes an eye, then a nose and soon a face.  The drawing begins as a simple line much like what a child starts with.  The artist then transforms that line into a beautiful portrait, landscape or abstract painting.

When we begin the canvas and the paper are blank, empty, without much meaning.  As creative artists our job is transform that paper or that canvas into more.  To create something out of a simple line.  To communicate our vision of the world through a simple line joined with other simple lines — one built on another.

The same can be said about life.  Each moment we live is like a simple line.  We build a life through living each moment to the fullest.  And millions of moments become a life lived.  

Here is the poem, Art Class, by James Galvin.

Art Class
By James Galvin

Let us begin with a simple line,
Drawn as a child would draw it,
To indicate the horizon,

More real than the real horizon,
Which is less than line,
Which is a visible abstraction, a ratio.

The line ravishes the page with implications
Of white earth, white sky!

The horizon moves as we move,
Making us feel central.
But the horizon is an empty shell —

Strange radius whose center is peripheral.
As the horizon draws us on, withdrawing,
The line draws us in,

Requiring further lines,
Engendering curves, verticals, diagonals,
Urging shades, shapes, figures...

What should we place, in all good faith,
On the horizon? A stone?
An empty chair? A submarine?

Take your time.  Take it easy.
The horizon will not stop abstracting us.