Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Important Element of Direction

Look at these two paintings and you will discover the importance of direction in creating mood, energy and movement.

Horizontal lines create a feeling of peace, restfulness, and calm.  The farm scene has a predominance of horizontal lines, especially in the area leading to the focal point. 

Vertical lines suggest dignity, solidity, and stability.

If you are trying to suggest movement, excitement and  energy, the use of oblique (aka diagonal) lines is essential.  Oblique lines create tension.  I once heard an instructor state,  "Which would you rather look at if you wanted to feel a sense of excitement?  A British soldier standing guard at Buckingham Palace, or a drunk staggering down the street?"  Obliques make us feel tension.

Other elements work to create peace or tension:  long, quiet, uninterrupted areas with a marked absence of texture vs. lots of texture and smaller, disrupted shapes.  But line direction is critical in determining mood.

Knowing what you want the viewer to feel is a critical decision to be made before the first brush stroke is made.

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