Music of the Artist – Rhythm, Line, and Mass

Music of the Artist – Rhythm, Line, and Mass


Vladimir Mayakovsky, the poet/critic said in 1907, of a Symbolist group he was associated with,”The Artists are in love with the music of color and line. The word rhythm is used to indicate the power of lines, tones, colors and masses by their arrangement in a painting.
Lines, tones, color and masses are used as different notes and combinations as sound is used in music. Just as in music, sounds appeal directly to our inner life. It’s the same in our paintings. It is an abstract music of lines, tones colors and masses.
Make a study of rhythm. It is a very interesting subject and incorporate this feeling into your paintings. Rhythm can be traced back to primitive man when we view the work he left behind. There are many indications of deep feelings that moved him as he expressed his emotional life on painted walls or carved into stone.
Rhythm, line and mass are tools used as the basis of artistic expression. Without these tools it would be difficult to produce a painting without creating total chaos. When we use principles, we gain experience, and save ourselves needless frustration.
In every painting there is a structure of lines and masses. This may not be obvious, at first, as they will be found in the basis of every painting. We could view this structure of lines as boundaries of the masses, or that masses are the spaces between the lines. However we look at it, there are emotional qualities similar to music that affect us in line, tone and mass arrangements.


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