Blog: Straight Lines

Christine Alfery

Posted on January 29 2021

Blog: Straight Lines

Featured image: Engineered Landscape, Water media on paper, 30 x 40

When I woke up to the new year, as always, the year began with hope, rebirth and renewal, and new ideas. I again began thinking about space. Space dominated my thinking over coffee. Watching the sun come up on the first morning of the new year, feeling hopeful, and yes, thinking about how I could create space in my work. Not just outer space, but space like the space in between things.

I immediately came to a roadblock. Would I have to work with straight lines and rulers and numbers? That is how I was visualizing space. It was based on a program I watched on the science channel a couple of days ago. Most of the scientists in the program were visualizing how things would work, how a spaceship would work, how a rocket would work. There was one who ended up building a very successful spaceship. He had started with parts from the local junk yard as he was visualizing his spaceship. He was using what he had and visualizing them differently.

I could not help but wonder if once humans begin to live on another planet, will they have to visualize things differently? Wait. Everything will be new and they will be in a constant state of creating. I could not visualize art as we know it in their environment, but I could visualize creativity. I am sure Da Vinci had no idea how art would be today when he was creating.
The idea of creating is necessary when trying to think about things differently.

Thinking differently. So, why did I think that space wouldn’t’t have gestural lines and it would only have straight lines? And why could I not create many straight lines? This science episode on the Discovery channel illustrated to me that straight lines are quite innovative, progressive and full of discovery.

So, I began to think about lines in space and how to use lines to create space. There are so many kinds of lines and creative folks can use all of them. One line is not better than another. For me, creating space was difficult if I was going to think of it as straight lines and rulers and measurements. For me, straight lines don’t offer me the freedom that gestural lines do. But, I could paint the contrast, gestural versus straight. And Engineered Landscape happened. The piece is all about mechanical controls of our environments, like bridges, dams, and skyscrapers.

I learned in this piece how to be comfortable with things I was uncomfortable with – without giving up the things that I was comfortable with, like gestural lines.
I have learned that an idea, concept, thinking is a creative tool that will always let you be you if you just use it. And this tool makes life very exciting.

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