Saturday, January 2, 2010

Break That Line

One of Ed Whitney's mantras was, "Avoidance of monotony en route." A straight, unbroken line with no relief creates monotony. And the shapes on either side of that line will take on a rather monotonous character. So look for ways to interrupt a line or leave gaps in it. The eye will fill in the missing links.

Roof lines that are straight can be broken or interrupted by chimneys. Horizon lines can be broken by trees, figures or objects in the middle ground. And a distant tree line needs one or two taller trees or stunted ones so that the treetops don't form a straight line.

In this painting of an elderly couple, the line where beach meets ledge is interrupted by the figures. It is also a broken line to the right. The man's sun hat pokes into the line where trees meet ledge. And the top of the tree shape could very well have been a straight line if I hadn't forced a few trees upward.

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