About Gary Swaim
Gary Swaim is a professor of graduate seminars in the Master of Liberal Studies program at Southern Methodist University of Dallas. He teaches playwriting, the writing of both poetry and fiction, creativity, and studies in diverse interdisciplinary courses. He is a produced playwright, director, and actor. His first creative writing endeavors and successes occurred with poetry, and he was recently selected as the 2011 Texas Senior Poet Laureate. Following poetry came his short stories. He continues writing and teaching in each of these genres. More recently, he has added digital painting to his efforts, professionally. Originally from California, he now resides in Las Colinas of the Dallas, TX. area.
The Artist and the Model
I turn my head away. I can neither look at nor
draw his face . Not for reason of skill. Rather,
because of deep, straight lines of pain that run from forehead to eyes and into lips, like scars. I turn
aside and draw from the top of the canvas, beginning
with only the tip of the strong chin.
As my pen and pastels move just beyond the neck,
I find myself dancing to the black ink and the
sepia color I hold in my hand. His stirring torso
movements counter his frozen face. I hear the music,
unexpectedly, of Rilke's "Archaic Torso of Apollo":
". . .his torso is still infused with brilliance from
inside." And, I know, as Rilke knew, that I must
change my life. I must look at. . .I must look carefully
at, pained faces.