Using Line in Abstract Painting

Example of using line in abstract painting

How do you find your personal vocabulary in line making? 

This exercise is from the first week of Directions in Abstraction where the group begins with an exploration of how to using line in abstract painting.

There are some questions below the exercise for you to think about in this exploration, but first, begin with the task. Immediately below is the teach from Instagram where I demonstrate this exercise and if you haven’t already seen it you might find it useful to watch it first.

For the exercise you will need some cheap drawing paper, or a sketchbook and if you wish some larger pieces of paper for part two. You also need a selection of tools and materials for drawing lines. For example, paint, ink, charcoal, types of dry, oil and water soluble pastels along with brushes of various sizes, drawing implements, like pens, but also sticks, feathers, forks etc.

How Many Lines?

Using as many different ways as you can draw lines on a pieces of cheap drawing paper or in your sketchbook. You can use paint, pen, charcoal, scratch into paint, make use of objects for drawing. Vary your materials and your tools to see what different effects you can create. Use water on water soluble materials and see what that looks like. Smudge, scratch and blur. Press hard into the surface, press lightly. See how many different ways of drawing a line you can come up with. Use your dominant and non dominant hand. Draw straight lines, curvy lines, scribble. Allow yourself free reign with this exercise. When you have finished on the smaller sheets take it to some very large paper, if you have space pin the paper on the wall so that you can make larger more expansive gestures and see how that feels.

Then sit yourself down in a comfortable spot, maybe get a warm drink and work through the questions below.

What are the qualities of your lines? Are they clear and strong or more fluid and soft? Do they become broken at any point? How do they start and finish?

How do they travel across the surface? Is there a point at which they become shapes?

What movement of hand and/or arm feels natural to you?

What are your most used tools and materials?

What do you know about your line making now?

How did you get on? Any questions thoughts or comments?

Published by Lin Cheung

I am an artist and teacher and I love working with people to help them be more creative.

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