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Author Topic: Perspective in your paintings  (Read 2927 times)


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on: July 10, 2010, 11:51:50 PM
When we are painting, we are usually trying to recreate a three dimensional scene on a two dimensional canvas. The way we do this is to create the impression of perspective.

What is perspective ?

Perspective is the effect that distance has on an object, the most obvious is that an object appears smaller the further away it is from you. This is not the only type of perspective though. There are three different types of perspective and you need to get all three right to paint a realistic and convincing painting.

The three different types of perspective are :
1) Linear perspective
2) Aerial or Atmospheric perspective and
3) Colour perspective.

We will be discussing all three in more detail as we go along, but let's get an idea of the effects of each :

1) Linear Perspective - the further away you move from an object, the smaller it appears to become.
2) Aerial Perspective - far off objects appear more faded / duller than they would right next to you. They also seem to have less detail than closer objects.
3) Colour Perspective - goes hand in hand with Aerial Perspective - colours appear more washed out the further away they are from you. Closer objects have more vibrant colours.

Now that we have the background we need we can jump in on the deep end and study these phenomena :

Linear Perspective

In the picture above you can clearly see how the houses appear smaller as they recede into the distance. The same goes for the river, although we know that the river is the same width, it appears to narrow.

Aerial / Atmospheric Perspective

To better demonstrate aerial perspective we have converted the picture into a black and white. Look at points A and you will see how the trees in the background appear more faded than those closer to you. In points B we can see that the closer bushes have more detail than the distant ones. This is caused by vapour, dust, mirage, heat, humidity, polution etc.

Colour Perspective

Points A and B show that you can see a wider variation in colour in the objects closer to us than those farther away. In the objects close to us we can see very dark shadows next to lovely bright highlights. In the distant objects there is only a small variation in the tone of the colours.

We can go much deeper into perspective, but the important thing is that you observe and incorporate perspective into your paintings. When you start doing this you will suddenly find that your paintings are not only starting to look more realistic, but more alive too.

When you are outdoors look around you and observe how perspective changes the way objects look.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2010, 10:47:15 PM by dennis »