Homework & Horizons

This morning, I’m still in bed, one arm flung over my face, I hear C’s voice:

“Mom, what is the horizon? Mom, what is the vanishing point? Mom, how many points of perspective can an artist have?”

“Uh you wanna bring me some coffee?” I know there is a tinge of pleading in my voice. The boys have a break from school today, and of course C decided to wake up extra early.


I feel a mug pressed into my hand; cold black coffee leftover from yesterday’s pot. That’ll work.

“Mom, what is the horizon? Mom, where is the vanishing point? Mom, how many points of perspective can an artist have?”

Sipping at the bitterness, one eye opens, then the other, “Need some context, please, what is this for?”


tick tick tick, I’m waiting for the cogs to start spinning… Sip.

“In a landscape drawing the horizon is the line where the sky meets the ground…” sip.


“The vanishing point is when a line or object goes beyond the horizon…” sip.


“One point perspective means one vanishing point on the horizon, two point perspective means two horizons, and each object has two vanishing points to connect with…” sip.


“An artist can have as many perspectives as their skill level allows.” Sip.

scribble scribble scribble, “K, thanks.”



Of course, now I’m awake and left to my own thoughts. I didn’t tell C what I really think and feel about horizons; those imaginary lines boxing us in. The unreachable, untouchable plateaus that are supposed to tell us when we’ve arrived. Horizons mark the ‘there’ in ‘over there’. I didn’t tell him how often I feel hemmed in by horizons even though I know it’s all an illusion.

Vanishing points, to me, are the moments of heartbreak. The moment when what you want is no longer sustainable and you turn your back on something or someone you would have made the center of your world, but now must fade into the unreachable distance.

Perspective… I meant what I said about the skill level. You can see as many points of view as you have the patience and tolerance to stand. There is a mastery to broadening one’s perspective, built upon experiences and the confrontation of fears, a process repeatable and reliable.



Homework & Horizons