When was the last time to the lines you use in your work or in someone else’s? What are the major lines in art? What do they convey? Try to name the five types of lines in art before reading further.
I confess, I hadn’t consciously thought about it for a long time until I was in the early stages of creating my latest series entitled Colorscapes.
Early in 2020, I began this series for a solo show that was to happen in 2021. (As you may know, it has happened! Visit my portfolio page). After I had completed a couple of paintings, I saw a horizontal line continue to show up. This got me curious to learn more about this line to bring it further up into my consciousness. Below you will notice this horizontal line employed a few different ways in “African Winds,” yet all in one area. There are additional lines incorporated as well.
What are the Five Major Lines in Art?
In “A Place Called Peace,” the horizontal lines are more subtle, inter twined with a soft vertical lines. The horizontal line across the bottom has a little zig-zig to it, but, to me, it still conveys a sense of calm.
What Do These Lines in Art Mean?
- Horizontal lines convey a sense of stability, distance, expansion and calm.
2. Vertical lines can project feelings of strength, possibilities (reaching for the sky) and height. Notice the subtle dark vertical lines in the above painting.
3. Curved lines can convey sensuality, whimsy and comfort. Again in the painting above “Dreamland Express,” you see a thin curved line going across a thick horizontal line. How do you respond to this combination? Does it make the horizontal line less stable or less calming?
4. Zig-zag lines are diagonal lines that are connected. They are employed to convey excitement, restlessness and/or anxiety.
5. Diagonal lines project energy, movement or lack of stability.
From my examples, you can see how there are many variations of lines. The possibilities are endless. The artist also has the option to combine several lines within a piece. From a design perspective, I like to combine but make sure only one line dominates in a painting.
Which line tends to show up in your work more frequently than another? Why? It’s important to know the five types of lines in art, because you may be wanting to communicate a sense of calm, yet you are using lines that contradict this.
What observations have you made when looking at other painters’ work? Are you drawn to particular lines? Or perhaps you like several different lines, but you may want a calm painting in one part of your home, such as “First Light,” and an opposite mood in another part of your home/office.
Please feel free to share this post with fellow painters.
Colorfully and gratefully yours,