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01. Relationship of dot, line and plane
02. Dot
03. Constellations
04. Line
05. Grids & Patterns
06. Shapes
07. Openings (shapes within shapes)
08. Colour
09. The colour wheel & natural order of colours
10. Color Harmony
11. Texture
12. Light & Shade, Shadows
13. Three-dimensional form
14. Voids
15. Space
16. Composition
17. Principles of basic design
18. Proportion and Scale


4. Line

Ancient cave paintings contain the line in its most primitive abstract graphic version. Geometrically speaking a line is nothing but an extension of points in one dimension. The shortest distance between two points is a line. It is the basic visual tool, and therefore any composition and any form can be broken down into lines. The process of drawing a line between any two points creates a system of tension in the design. The points no longer remain free elements in space; they become tight and rigid, responsible for holding the line between them and thus become frozen in time and space. Points fuse and form lines, while lines of different types and having different qualities come together and form images. These images will reflect one or more principles of aesthetics: depending on whether the lines are straight or curved, thick or thin, dark or light, and also where they begin and how they end. The primary characteristic of linear form is that it tends to imply activity and generally a boundary or demarcation. Visual artists use these lines primarily to communicate ideas in a simple, concise manner. Lines can be of following types (partial list):
1. Dynamic lines
2. Spinning lines
3. Curved lines
4. Parallel lines
5. Radiating lines
6. Whirling lines
7. Diagonals
8. Crisscross lines
9. Grids
10. Patterns

The line is an ideal tool for communication, because it has the potential to convey and generate a variety of messages and emotions. But it is also very sensitive, so one needs to have control over its flow - its length, its thickness, its value and its quality.

If a straight line conveys rigidity and discipline, a curvilinear one is graceful and playful. To modify these basic qualities and infuse it with a quality alien to its inherent nature is an artist's greatest challenge.

Of all design elements, the line alone is indispensable. "Line, depending on its use, may recall, inform, describe, amuse, make fantasy, signify subjective forces and arouse deep-lying associations - all with impressive economy. Lines as pictograms, ideograms or words - that is, lines as writing signify things, actions, concepts, qualities and conditions, across the spectrum of civilizations," says Calvin Harlan, in his book "Vision and Invention".

4 - 01 Lines of MF Hussain
MF Hussain, one of the greatest figures in contemporary Indian art is best known for his mastery over the line. Hussain has the knack of breaking up forms into their straight-line components, while retaining the grace of the original finished form. He has a flair for abstracting his subjects by eliminating the details and highlighting their symbolic contents. We, as a people, have applauded his distortion of Mother Teresa and at the same time criticized his disrobed version of Goddess Saraswati. After all, in both the cases, he has used lines and only retained those elements, which are essential to the understanding of the subject of his composition. If it is Mother Teresa's holy garbs that convey her compassion, it is the Goddess' paraphernalia of symbols such as the peacock, the veena and the lotus, which are sure indications of her divine presence. Why do we then consider her nudity as a Muslim's way of showing disrespect to a Hindu Goddess?


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For more details contact - Ar. Shirish Sukhatme
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