When is a horizon like a haircut?

No, I am not trying to be Edward Lear. This riddle came to me last week as I sat in the chair at the hairdressing salon. My head was being wrapped in bits of aluminium foil in an effort to create some sort of baked-potato-with-bristles look. The stylist was remembering her early days when it was difficult to cut a level hair-line at the nape of the neck. She was unable to explain how her skill had developed except for practice but she said somehow it works for her every time now.

Philippa Robert, Adelaide South Australia

It reminded me of painting horizons. They are more often level for me these days. As for any line, I think the trick is looking at the target point rather than watching the brush. The most common problem for me is not having enough paint on the brush to reach the other side of the canvas! Some horizons are rougher than others and I like that.

Philippa Robert, Adelaide South Australia

So the answer to the riddle is? Possibly another riddle…?

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16 thoughts on “When is a horizon like a haircut?

  1. Though I don’t know an answer to the riddle, I’m really taken by the beach scene of the three with the kite! When I first saw the white near the sand – I first thought it was just light reflecting on the water; then I enlarged it and saw it’s sea foam – and I love how you’ve rendered that. Something about this painting I could stare at for hours and enjoy. (But I realize this doesn’t help w/ the horizon answer!) Lovely and striking piece, Philippa, as always!

  2. I also enjoy that foreground. A master landscape artist told me this trick: turn the painting so that the horizon line is vertical, then let the brush drop straight down. I don’t know the answer to running out of paint before the end, though.

    1. Aha! I like that idea Aline. Isn’t it strange how much easier it is to sense the vertical than the horizontal? I suppose we don’t see many clear horizons and lots of tables aren’t level! Thanks for the tip – have plans to try it, especially letting the brush drop down. Not sure how a hair-cutter would apply that tip however!

  3. Philippa, everything about a painting is a mystery to me but you have presented a new light on horizons with your interesting riddle! Love both theses paintings!

  4. Philippa – I am so very far behind in my blog reading and commenting. As it often tends to do, life has taken precedence. It’s good to see your paintings but, due to some technological mystery, no text appears in either post or comments.

    1. Good to hear from you John. Email notifications are now off for the blogs I follow so I’ve missed out on a lot. One of my recent posts was a ‘Press This’ which might be the empty one – since removed. Hope all is well with you. Philippa

      1. Good to hear from you too Philippa. Yes, thank you, all is very well this end. That which has taken my time from blogging has given so much more…

  5. Hi Philippa,

    Alex in Crosby Street here! Hope you are well! I saw the painting you have done of Dave, Niamh and Cate flying a kite on the beach. It is FANTASTIC! Love it! Take care,
    Alex

  6. Another giggle at the tin foil hairdressing experience – yes, I’ve had that too! More great paintings, I love the blue you’ve used for the sea! I have dreadful problems with slopey horizons,luckily there’s a ‘straighten’ feature on the picture editing.. more difficult if you’re painting I guess!

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