"ART is a word which summarizes THE QUALITY OF COMMUNICATION. "
L. Ron Hubbard

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Using line as a visual element

The simplest element for defining space on the flat surface is line. Line, the simple line, is how we sketch. It is the basis of calligraphy. Egyptian hieroglyphics and early drawings on Greek pottery used line as their primary tool. Line is very much linked to communication of language. Line is an element that is vital to the artist, and it is too often ignored. We want to get on to the richness of color. But line can be an important descriptive element in a composition. You should get used to sketching. Carry a sketchbook with you. The book The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron advised writers to “journal” at least 6 pages each day. I would advise visual artists to sketch at least 15 minute a day.

In this workbook, (the one that I am writing, I hope) I am not going to speak of how you should hold the brush or pen, how to stretch paper, how to sit or stand, or methods of translating the dimensions of what you see onto the paper. There are books that do that and that do a good job of it. What I’d like to teach you is to LOOK. There is a value to looking at what is in front of you and putting marks on a surface. There is also a value to achieving accuracy, but it can be over-rated. I’ve noticed that many of today’s watercolorists use overhead projectors to cast an exact image of a still life or landscape onto a surface and then carefully “stay within the lines.” To me (and this is personal philosophy) there is a value in the distortions that a painter may add to a painting. If you want a representation of what the camera shows you, use a camera.

1 comment:

Dave King said...

Absolutely! It sounds like it's going to be a most interesting book.