April 14, 2012
There were no lines, not a single one in existence here. He looked at his model, the dips and curves of her face and cheeks. The lights and shadows followed them, creating the shades of her features, separating the depth of her eyes from the full curve of her cheek bones.
She was a shifting, ever flowing cascade of light and dark. Every breath and every slight movement making the light strike her just a little differently. The light that was diffused and softened as it glanced down through the many window panes. He could see every angle and slope of her as he committed his vision to the permanence of charcoal and paper. But not a single line did he ever see.
Sfumato is what he called it in his letter, a technique of painting without hard edges or visible lines. She liked the word, as she did most words. But it made her laugh when she thought of how he needed lines themselves to form the words that explained the idea to her.
She couldn’t help but see lines though. That was always what she saw. Row upon row of lines and slashes formed one word after another. Marching down her page like little brush masters, each one painting a tiny sweep of shadow or glancing beam of light. And underneath it all, she saw the lines that held it together.
It was fun to share a studio sometimes. The soft shuffling and scraping of her pencil across the paper, and the gentle batting and sweeping of his brush on the canvas. He, always striving to give his picture life by burying the lines, and She, calling her images into existence by their very presence. Their juxtaposition always made her smile. And her smile always made his pictures come to life.