Saturday, March 14, 2015


 "Mountain Reflections"  in progress,  20 X 20, Lori LaBerge  2015

This week led to the completion of the light gray background.  The dark triangles show up nicely and the white lines still show on the light grays.  I am contemplating changing out some colors on the top section of the large triangle.  It is funny how color reacts and the oranges on the edge sections seem to be giving the visual effect of the triangle leaning to the right a bit  in the upper peak.  Or maybe it is the darker line on the left side of the peak causing this. 

I've been reading about the use of line in art this week.  It is one of the basic elements of drawing and sometimes we forget how important it is in our work.

Line performs many functions.  It can define a shape, divide or separate out areas, be used to create a look of texture, create depth (think of looking down a railroad track and how the lines seem to come closer together as the track disappears into the distance) and depict movement.

The apple above has a specific shape, yet it has no definitive lines around it in reality.  It is not outlined as in a coloring book.  The apple is round, a 3-D shape. We look at the shape and create lines to define it when we draw the apple.

A good way to study the use of line is to draw the human figure.  It can be intimidating. The human form is complex.  There are many lines.  Curves, angles, hard and soft lines. Vertical lines are used to find the center line of a figure.  There is the line of the torso section where the body bends.  Basic lines are used to give a general form to the body position before creating a finished figure.

These are some drawings I did a few years ago following instructions in a figure drawing book.  Curved lines define muscular areas while sharper angles define the elbow. Textured lines define indentations in the skin.  Darker lines define depth under the arm while lighter, softer lines give less depth.

Line has direction.  Vertical lines tend to be strong, leading one's eye upward.  I always think of cathedrals when I see vertical lines as architecture also uses the vertical to impart strength.  

Horizontal lines give a sense of calmness.  In "Mountain Reflections" at the top of this post I used wide horizontal lines in the background.  Vertical lines would have been too overpowering behind the triangle shapes, detracting from the strength of the triangle itself. 

Diagonal lines are active.  In "Mountain Reflections", they depict the curve of the mountain roads.  In a human figure the diagonal shows movement such as dancing or stretching.

Lines can change the appearance of things.  Horizontal lines on a building will make it look shorter while vertical will make it appear taller.  We can all relate to this with clothing. Wearing a horizontal stripe at the hip or at the shoulder can make those areas appear wider than they actually are, whereas wearing a vertical stripe gives the appearance of us being taller or thinner.

Drapery has always fascinated me.  Standing still, one's clothing may have few wrinkles and fall fairly straight, but sit down and cross your legs and everything changes.  There are more folds and more angles.  And what happens to clothes when they get wet?  They cling forming smooth areas along with strong creases.  

View the lines of the human form along with how the fabric of clothing changes according to your movements.  Try drawing some of these lines (no need to be perfect, just get an idea of how line defines shapes) and have a great day.

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