Personal Art Blog

Sharing the lessons I teach at the Artist Guild and the personal discoveries in my art.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Roses #2 Plus Picasso and the Lyrical Line

Roses #2

6x8in oil on canvas panel  $135. SOLD

This is the second rose painting 
I have painted using the foundation 
of this month's focus at the Guild
 - using LINE in painting.
The base is underneath - trust me!

Artist Note.

The continuation of 
 the value of LINE
is for a few artists I mentor
who are interested in adding some 
power to their work. 
Hope you find it interesting.

Notice the lines Picasso used in
Woman In White
(Metropolitan Museum NTC)

Unlike Cezanne, who mostly used his lines 
to turn the form,
(darker at edges as they turned from the light) 
Picasso used both the lyrical and form line.
I have stood in front of this painting
and marveled at the beautiful layering, 
but mostly at   
the fluidity of the lines for the hair
in comparison to the structure lines of the face.
So simple and they describe so much.
 (close-up below.)

In Picasso's Blue Period, 
The Old Guitarist

You can see the lines are clear
and used beautifully. 
 He needed the eye to 
flow around the painting
so "value" was important 
along with line. Notice how the 
head and one hand are lighter -
 legs and other hand drop a value 
and the clothed torso disappears
 by keeping it in the same value 
and color family as the background.
The simple line around the guitar
plus the warm color 
moves it to center stage.

Two years earlier he painted
Le Gourmet
When I saw this painting I was fascinated.
 Picasso had skipped around 
with form, lyrical, and 
crosshatching line work..
 You can see the different quality lines
almost everywhere, but none appear on
 the top edge of the tablecloth 
where he played around with 
a lost edge on her cuff by
making it the same value 
as the cloth, 
creating a beautiful flow
from tablecloth into her arm 
and up to her face.

Only 6-7 years after the 
stylized painting of the guitarist,
Picasso painted
Portrait of Ambroise Vollard
I have not seen this one in life,
(it is in Russia)
but it is the force of movement 
that line and value can achieve
together which knocks my socks off.
We see artists today losing edges
with deliberately smooshed strokes 
of the brush, breaking up edges
 - me included -
in an attempt to be 'loose"
and here is Picasso with pure
control and logic, 
fracturing the image. 
Not all of the cubist paintings 
Picasso painted
achieved this effect 
to the same degree.

If you are not bored silly by now
 look again at the 
Woman In White
painted 12 years after this one.
Examine his use of line 
and your personal response to it.
You may find it very contemporary.
Neat eh?



  1. I do love line in paintings; those paintings tend to be the ones that stick in my head for sure. Your painting is beautiful, Julie, but no surprise to me. Your textures and fracturing make each piece unique but always beautiful. And I wish you lived nearby to help me too. I'm becoming frozen with the overwhelmingness of it all.

    1. I think "variety" helps keep the eye entertained so maybe that is why they stick more. I see so many what I call - walk on by - paintings. Usually they have no spark to catch my eye, and they can be very well done paintings. Just all sameness. Does that make sense? Art is unique to each of us though and that is what makes the subject so compelling.
      Thinking of you and all the work of moving ahead. Oh boy!

  2. Good morning Julie, you continue to instruct and inspire. Where would I be without this blog I ask? Love your painting.

    1. What a lovely thing to say...thanks, Blanche.
      I miss your postings. You went flat out for the challenge and kind of ground to a halt. Hope all is well.

  3. I LOVE this post Julie! Thinking about line, values, edges...all 100% where I am at right now. I have studied the Woman in White several times since you told me about her. Oh my's just so perfect, but yet so clean and simple-looking. Amazing. We've been discussing Picasso's work a lot in class. I love what you have written here. Such a good teacher...thank you for taking the time!

    I see the line you achieved in your beautiful rose painting. The soft pink color makes me want to plant a huge rose garden. But I've never had much luck with roses, so I will just keep working on my line.

    1. The way you do storytelling with your paintings is truly wonderful and I love your use of line. You have always had it. A natural.
      Great to hear you have been talking about Picasso in class. So many artist who come to painting a bit later brush him off because his later period did not appeal to them, but he was an adventurer with all things creative and when they really take the time to explore his work, everyone can usually find something they like in what he did.
      Planting and cultivating things can take time away from your art so if you feel you have to, only plant things which require no maintenance.
      Take it from one who knows!
      Thasnks for the neat comment, sweet friend.

  4. Fascinating. Not bored and loving looking closely. Great post. And I do see some of your lines and find them effective. Subtle strength.

    1. Hi Helen, Glad you were not bored...Good to hear from you and hope you are still improving health wise. I bet you are itching to be back into the paint!

  5. Follow concept of Lyrical line is not easy but you made it clear with your words and Picasso artwork pictures.
      Combine your beautiful roses painting and these important issues, in a post, it is very interesting for a reader like me.
    I hope that you will continue this series of reflections. Without knowing how Line was the theme of the month of April I was working on the issue ... what empathy!
    I feel lucky !!!

  6. Lyrical Line is described in the dictionary as "having an artistically beautiful or expressive quality" I see it used by many artists to enhance parts of their paintings. Different from a form line ( outline) I guess it is all in the semanticsI You have a lovely lyrical flow to your watercolors and here you are using line so we are in perfect sync, dear Rita. Thanks for the visit.

  7. Your roses are almost tridimensional, they seem to pop out of the painting , really love the big fat texture and the lining ! Thanks for your ever so generous teaching !

    1. Hi Jane - love your description. Big fat texture indeed. LOL!
      Your abstract painting is absolutely fabulous, Jane.

  8. Thanks for sharing...fascinating!

    1. Ho Kathleen, good to hear from you.
      I love your painting from the Paint New Mexico blog, and
      am so happy you are painting.

  9. You tranform your line into such a fluid end. It's magic. And, I love re-visiting woman in White particularly. Thanks

    1. Thanks, Mary.
      Fluid is the word I would use for your wonderful Falls painting. I felt I could almost hear the water rushing along.

  10. A wonderful post Julie! and this painting is fantastic. The flowers almost appear to be 3D. Excellent work as always!!

    1. A lovely complement - thanks Hilda. Looking forward to you next painting.

  11. Wonderful post Julie! You really got me thinking about "line" today! Thanks for sharing the Picasso comparisons!

    1. good to hear from you, Kim. Thanks. I enjoyed looking at the way the exhibition was hung but have to tell you I adore your mushroom series. Pure eye candy!,

  12. Julie, this is a great post! And your painting is shimmery and lovely!

  13. Thank you Nancy. Nice of you to say that as I consider you a master painter of roses!
    Your new posts has beautiful examples of them.

  14. Outstanding work!!! and thank you for the lesson!!!


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