Tuesday, February 19, 2008


I love Alexander Calder's depiction of Charles Lindbergh flying solo over the Atlantic Ocean.

Calder made pictures with wire. His lines hovered in mid-air, set free from paper.

Our last lovely drawing was a major construction project, planned and executed by Orson Lowell with all the craftsmanship of a master bricklayer. For contrast, I thought it would be fun to visit the opposite extreme: Calder's simple, joyful line.

You'll find no dense cross hatching or shading here. No buttons, shoe laces or fingernails. But what Calder loses in detail, he gains in universality. This image is truly Homeric; it could symbolize any human being tempting the gods by braving the unknown.

It is often difficult for artists to remember that there is no connection between seriousness and profundity, just as there is no connection between the number of lines in a drawing and the importance of its message. This lovely little image from Calder is a good reminder.