Themes & Style

Spirit Lines

In looking at an artist’s work, it helps to consider recurring elements. You will find that Quinton often uses what we call “spirit lines”. What do they contribute to the canvas and how are they done?

Spirit lines are the finest of lines which have been deliberately applied with a steady hand to the surface of the canvas. They seem to suggest a psychic dimension to the painting, a premonition, or an emotion.  They may express an idea for something unseen or perhaps an invisible energy.

Among Quinton’s paintbrushes, there are several on which he had cut away half or more of the bristles, enabling him to create a very narrow sweep of line.

Oil painting showing crowd of anxious people watching spirit lines moving overhead

“The Apparition”

Here the spirit lines convey a sense of impending chaos. The figures below seem to collectively fear that which may be yet to come. 

Painting of a young girl approaching a dark house while musical notes and spirit lines float in the wind

“Largo Sensibile Allemande Apoco Apoco”

Here we see blue, white, and yellow lines suggesting emotion or anxiety. A young girl approaches a mysterious gray house cautiously, yet with curiosity.

“Cotton Mather and the Witch of Endor”

In this dramatic painting a spirit line is used to identify the Devil who causes this otherwise-dignified cleric to dance immodestly. Mather’s sermon about witches in Boston is said to have been the root of the witch hysteria in Salem.

Painting of Peter looking anxiously over his shoulder as spirit lines float over a red sunset sky

“Peter Followed Afar”

Spirit lines fly across the canvas in “Peter followed Afar” which may suggest a strong wind and Peter’s emotional state of shame and unrest.

Let us know what you think about these images!

*Please fill in all required fields.

By clicking the Submit button, you are indicating that you have read and agree to our Terms of Use/Privacy Policy.