A few years ago, in a life-drawing class, a teacher said to me: “I like how you’re searching the line”.
That sentence stuck.
To this day I still vividly remember her saying it while I sketch every new piece. I’m not sure if the phrase stuck because it made me feel a lot better about the unrecognisable figure I had plonked on paper or because she successfully put into words what I had been frantically trying to charcoal on for a good 30 minutes. I had indeed been looking for the right line to depict the model’s lovely popo. Thankfully he never saw the result.
Regardless, it stuck, and it has been with me ever since. Recently, I noticed I was applying the concept subconsciously to more situations in my life than just art. While jogging, I search for the right line on the pavement that will get me through the moving obstacle that is the crowd. While looking at my shapely bod in the mirror, I involuntarily plot where the right line should be that will tell me the fitness and dieting efforts are paying off. While sewing, I can’t help but trim at the fabric millimeter by millimeter for fear of missing the right curvature line.
If I had let myself, I know for a fact that this line-searching would have dominated my everything, everyday, to the point of exhaustion. I cannot put into words how frustrating it is for me not to get the “right line” on paper. I physically sweat. An approximation won’t do so I use ingenuity in any way I can. In retrospect, some of my best ideas have come from this need to find the right line.
Why didn’t I let this potential obsessive disorder control me? It definitely wasn’t a conscious decision as I only recently became truly aware of the latent compulsion. I don’t know the reason why I am not prey to OCD but a potential clue as to why is in the title.
Conceptually thinking of a line as a series of dots, demystifies it for me.
It is easier to draw a line if I squint and plot the dots on paper where I can see the line resides. It is easier for me to dodge other pedestrians if I think of where to step with my left and right (I do this too… does anyone else?). I can focus my fitness exercises on one bodily area by zooming in on one flaw and concentrating on getting that “dot to line up”.
“Life is one […] beauty contest after another” and a constant search for the right lines. The key to a harmonious evolution is perhaps to find the right balance between what we aim to achieve and the environment in which we live, rationally plotting the dots that will accommodate ourselves, our environment and what we deem to represent perfection.