If you are interested in buying or commisioning artwork, or would like to  know about upcoming art workshops, please feel free to drop me a line.

Instagram feed

Warning: count(): Parameter must be an array or an object that implements Countable in /home/customer/www/shevaundoherty.com/public_html/wp-content/plugins/eltdf-instagram-feed/lib/eltdf-instagram-api.php on line 242


HomeAgaveExpressive Lines

Expressive Lines

Watercolour painting of a red and purple leaf and flower, Jacob's Coat Plant, by Shevaun Doherty
“The song of the curved line is called happiness.”
Rene Crevel
What is a line, and how can we use it to improve our art?
Art begins with a line.
Sometimes it’s tentative, thoughtful, exploring. 
Sometimes it’s quick, bold and confident.
Line can hit the page in an explosion of vigorous energy
Feather and sand dollar graphite drawing by Shevaun Doherty
Or caress it in a gentle, delicate whisper.

Dierama pulcherrimum angel's fishing rod watercolour painting by Shevaun Doherty
It can dance across the page with the fluid grace of a ballerina, leading the eye from one point to the next.
Sketchbook studies in ink and watercolour of a Spider Orchid by Shevaun Doherty
Brassia arania verde, Spider orchid watercolour study by Shevaun Doherty
Line is a universal language that we all understand, regardless of age or culture.

To be fluent in line, we need to see it as an expression of  subconscious thought.

Graphite drawing of curling leaves by Shevaun Doherty
Understanding the expressive power of line can lead to better art.
 Ophiopogon planiscapus, black grass and fruit watercolour painting by Shevaun Doherty
A curving line will bring elegance to any painting. 
Think of the beautiful movement of a calligraphic flourish.
Agave coloured pencil drawing in sketchbook by Shevaun Doherty
Jagged lines have a rhythmic visual movement, but overdoing the staccato 
effect can sometimes be disquieting.   
Graphite drawing of Cyperus prolifer Lam by Shevaun Doherty
Soft lines are quiet and subdued, suggesting distance and recession. 
Strong heavy lines demand our attention, and bring things closer to the viewer.
watercolour painting of Egyptian pastoral scene, date trees and buffaloes
Horizontal lines convey a sense of tranquility and peace

Graphite and watercolour studies of Aloe succotrina cactus flowers by Shevaun Doherty
Whilst vertical lines suggest stability and strength.
Sketchbook study chrysanthemum flower in graphite with colour notes, Shevaun Doherty
Lines can also be quirky and fun. 
Reading about the expressive quality of line this week has given me food for thought. 
Here are some of  my favourite quotes-
 “A line is a shared edge”
I don’t know who wrote this, but how true this is. 
When drawing something, it is important to consider the negative shapes that surround the subject. They are of equal importance and will balance your painting.
“Every line tells its own story, even the very tentative ones.” 
Gillian Redwood
Before you begin, think of the story that you want to tell.
“Line can exist without color and tone. 
Tone can exist without colour, but not without line.
Colour cannot exist without line or tone.” 
Harold Speed 

Expressive line a powerful tool. Are you using lines in your art effectively?

I’d love to hear what you think in the comments below.
If you have a favourite ‘Line Quote’, I’d love to hear that too!
I will be giving my ‘Top Tips for Better Lines’ in my next blogpost.
Coloured pencil drawing of two white leaves, Centaurea cineraria on orange paper by Shevaun Doherty

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.