Some qualities of a drawn line (in no particular order and not necessarily distinct):




Curvature – straight/simple/wavering

Speed of gesture


Regularity of tone/variation of tone

Scale of variation in curvature (see speed)





Possible combinations of qualities:


A straight fine, dark line

A simple smooth curve, varying from dark to light

A soft pale wavering line

A hard, dark, jagged, fast scribble

A complicated curve of varying intensity


Each combination suggests/implies a different bodily action or feeling: a tight or a loose grip of the drawing tool, a fine movement of the fingers or a large movement of the arm, a slow or a fast gesture, considered or unplanned mark-making, a gentle stroke or an angry scrawl …

It’s a good thing we aren’t consciously thinking about all these things when we draw. Here are some recent abstract-ish drawings, starting from fairly random lines and seeing what happens:

Ripples – lines generate surfaces – surfaces imply depth
Fissure – pencil and Chinese white on tinted paper
Unidentified fragmentary object

Yellow Door and brown paper

The Yellow Door gallery in Dumfries is exhibiting entries to its portrait competition at the moment. Last week I had a lovely surprise when they awarded my self-portrait first prize! The exhibition is on until Saturday 1 September.

Self-scrutiny, oil on canvas

And here is an irrelevant drawing on brown wrapping paper photographed from a flattering angle. Still experimenting/playing with non-representational drawing, and the way lines can create apparent depth.

Mixed media


Growth: the process of increasing in size; development to maturity

Growth, infinite: the premise of capitalism

Growth, malignant: uncontrolled abnormal cell division that can invade and destroy nearby tissue and may spread to other parts of the body