And just like an an awkward teenage girl, when a line grows up it can get curvy.

I had written before about compound curves, and how curves “changing directions” can be so useful.

Curves can tell the story of form and especially space. And again, they can get pretty repetitious and feel rather boring if there isn’t variety.

Why is DaVinci so unforgettable? One of the reasons is his use of curves. Expressive and defined. Weighted and yet airy.

A sophisticated line- now a curve- tells a story.

And not just where something starts and stops, but how it sits in space. How the bones protrude out from under the skin. How a form turns away from the light. Using lines to tell those stories is what we need to master.

In this detail from my painting “Cold” I tried to incorporate so many different types of lines and curves. The twist and pull method was used a lot in the hair. Some lines are thin and “wavery.” Some are “dashed in” with bravado. If you look closely at the face, it is entirely made up of curves too… tiny and layered. Sculpted and soft. The lines in his eyebrows are so different from the curves used in his hair.

In this more current painting, “Impact” the lines are even more diverse. You would think this would be an easy thing to do… but it is not. Hang in there! So much brain power needs to get involved. Move away from your photos and THINK! What are you painting? What does it feel like? How can you represent that? The dreds are tiny, scumbling curves. The face is softer and sculpted. Tiny curves wind around and around the highlights and the bottom dreds are slashed in and almost scribbled. His beard are prickly lines. His lips are soft curves. The variety is deliberate.

So if you paint from photos, remember you are in charge of what you put down on your image. HOW you put it down is the art. It is the grace. Tell a story and use lines to do it.

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