Monday, November 22, 2010
Ask the Artist: Placement of Horizon Line
My day off (Bruce was at the bookstore) took me to the wooded dunes for a while and later to Lake Leelanau and home by way of Leland, where I stopped to frame these two shots of the north lake. I kept looking back and forth from one to the other, trying to decide which I preferred, but what I noticed was that, similar as the two images are, my feelings toward them were very different. The first made me sit up straight and feel, if not slightly anxious, certainly alert, while the second gave me a feeling of calm. In the evening I showed them both to David and asked him to explain the emotional difference. He was happy to oblige.
“A higher horizon line indicates that the viewer is looking from an elevated position, also, and a higher position carries with it a sense of risk and danger. When you’re lower in the landscape yourself, you feel sheltered.”
Mountain vs. valley: It made perfect sense. Then the artist confessed that no one had ever asked him the question before and that he’d not been taught this or even thought about it until I asked. He’d made up his answer on the spot. Pretty convincing, though, don’t you think?
These days David is reading Paradise, by Larry McMurtry, and I’m engrossed in Paul Hawken’s The Ecology of Commerce: A Declaration of Sustainability (for one man's synopsis, click here; I will write more about this book sometime soon), but later in the evenings (and probably in the course of our cozy Thanksgiving day at home) we are (and will be) pleasurably immersed in Mark Twain’s Life on the Mississippi. For a couple whose favorite books are Wind in the Willows and Harlan Hubbard’s Shantyboat, Life on the Mississippi is a natural read-aloud choice, and, happily, the season for reading aloud is upon us, one of winter’s soothing joys.