A LINE is a point in motion, with only one dimension - length
When the two ends of a line are joined, you create a shape
Lines can also create volume, suggesting forms EXAMPLE
Lines can be combined with other lines to create textures and patterns. This is common in
pen and ink drawings. The use of line in this way can suggest form. EXAMPLE
However, line can exist by implication, as the edge of forms
As young children we usually begin drawing landscapes by making outlines for earth, sky,
and other objects. Gradually we learn that objects do not have such outlines and we let
color changes define the edges of shapes, creating implicit lines. Thus we can speak of a
horizon "line," or the "lines" of a car or a building, even though we know there is no literal
Lines are used to produce floor plans which describe a building. This linear language can
be understood because people have learnt and understood the conventions.
Graphs are another readily recognizable linear device
The information below has been shortened and amended from more comprehensive
information at char.txa.cornell.edu/language/element/element.htm
Line also communicates emotion and states of mind through its character and direction
Horizontal lines suggests a feeling of rest or repose. Objects parallel to the earth are at
rest in relation to gravity. Therefore compositions in which horizontal lines dominate tend
to be quiet and restful in feeling. One of the hallmarks of Frank Lloyd Wright's architectural
style is its use of strong horizontal elements which stress the relationship of the structure
to the land.
Vertical lines communicate a feeling of loftiness and spirituality. Erect lines seem to
extend upwards beyond human reach, toward the sky. They often dominate public
architecture, from cathedrals to corporate headquarters. Extended perpendicular lines
suggest an overpowering grandeur, beyond ordinary human measure.
Diagonal lines suggest a feeling of movement or direction. Since objects in a diagonal
position are unstable in relation to gravity, being neither vertical nor horizontal, they are
either about to fall, or are already in motion, as is certainly the case for this group of
dancers. In a two dimensional composition diagonal lines are also used to indicate depth,
an illusion of perspective that pulls the viewer into the picture-creating an illusion of a
space that one could move about within. Thus if a feeling of movement or speed is
desired, or a feeling of activity, diagonal lines can be used.
Horizontal and vertical lines in combination communicate stability and solidity.
Rectilinear forms stay put in relation to gravity, and are not likely to tip over. This stability
suggests permanence, reliability and safety.
(see below - 'MONDRIAN')
Deep, acute curves, on the other hand, suggest confusion, turbulence, even frenzy, as in
the violence of waves in a storm, the chaos of a tangled thread, or the turmoil of lines
suggested by the forms of a crowd. Curved lines do vary in meaning, however. Soft,
shallow curves suggest comfort, safety, familiarity, relaxation. They recall the curves of
the human body, and therefore have a pleasing, sensual quality.
The quality of the line is in itself a fundamental visual language, to an extent that cannot
be claimed for any other single element. Its use is so universal that we are all profoundly
sensitive to it. Even without an artist's training, we can extract considerable meaning from
the kind of line used in a drawing.
Like many pioneers of abstraction, Mondrian's
impetus was largely spiritual. He aimed to distill
the real world to its pure essence, to represent the
dichotomies of the universe in eternal tension.
To achieve this, he privileged certain principles
- stability, universality, and spirituality - through
the yin/yang balancing of horizontal and vertical
Lines take many forms and may convey emotional qualities
A line is the result of a dot or point moving in space or over a surface. Line has only one
dimension and its most important property is direction.
A line is one of the most important tools that an artist has to use and one of the most
important elements to study when looking at a piece of art. Lines organize an artwork the
way the backbone organizes the body. The direction of the lines pulls our eyes up a tree
or jiggles along a picket fence. Arts use line to move the eye through and along the work.
In almost every picture there is a dominant line that hold interest and stabilizes the
composition. Repetition of line can give a work unity. Variation in line can make it
Lines have character and personality and can communicate emotion.
* Horizontal lines are calm, quiet, restful
* Vertical lines are bold, strong, stable
* Thin lines can be delicate, timid, weak
* Diagonal lines show action, falling, leaning, or
* Pointed or jagged lines can express uncertainty or
* Meandering lines are whimsical and happy
* Flowing lines are graceful and mystical
|Use only lines to show
shape, form, movement
PARTIALLY UPDATED ON 28 APRIL 2015