Saturday, July 13, 2013

Shadow-Ghosting -- A Technique that Helps to Create Flawless Line Drawings

"India Rising -- the Found" mixed media on canvas (50% off)
I like to put people in my paintings. When a canvas or landscape doesn't include people, something is missing in my book.  I find that peoples' expressions and body language not only contribute to a scene but “round out" a painting's story.

The more I paint, the more this holds true for me. I find I’m more engaged in the painting and have more passion for doing it when a few lines and shapes form a character and become real before my eyes.

"Fish Market" 18 x 24 acrylic on canvas
Design also fascinates me, although, I’m not very good at it. I like to incorporate unusual background designs that have a subtle impact on the story I’m trying to create. The secret is to make them compliment the subject or center of interest without dominating it. Sometimes I succeed and sometimes I fail.

A painting should also have magnetism; a component that draws the viewer’s eye into the scene and around the composition. Once, I got so carried away with this principle that I led the viewer right off the canvas and into LaLa Land. I didn’t recognize my mistake until someone pointed it out to me.

"Serena Shines" 9 x 12 Pastel on Bristol
I recently took a class on “letting go.” The purpose was to encourage “loose” brush strokes and to allow your imagination to fly. My imagination flew, all right. Right off the page! There’s something to be said for “control,” and knowing what you want to see on canvas.

Portraits especially require a steady hand and even strokes of brush or pencil. Scratchy, broken lines make a drawing look weak and tentative. Lines that give the appearance that they know where they’re going and where they’ve been, are strong and definitive.

"Does this hat make me look fat?"  11 x 14 pencil on bristol
If you’re not sure if a line is accurate, don’t put it down on paper. Wait until you’re sure the placement is correct. Wave or draw a shadow line over the paper to test the distance and the dimensions without making a mark. If your shadow or “ghost” line seems accurate, place your unbroken line with confidence and freedom.

 Learning a new technique or genre takes time and patience. Making mistakes and recognizing them is just as important as being perfect. Sometimes we get lucky the first time, but continued practice is certain to improve your work over time.

"First Daffodil" 16 x 20 acrylic on canvas

Featured Artist:  Dorina Costras is an artist who seems to have mastered the art of drawing and color. Please enjoy her work and explore her web site at the following link: