The real voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes. - Marcel Proust

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Creating Depth, Part 3

3.    Reduce the size of objects as they recede. AKA “Linear perspective.” This is the one that scares people but it’s helpful to know, especially if including man-made objects in your landscape.

I won’t attempt to explain one-, two-, and three-point perspective in this blog (not unless I can paint it lovely shades of green!).  Forget the math and geometry aspect of this and make your life simpler. (I’m all for forgetting the math *and* making things simple, not just in painting).  This is not the place, and I am definitely not the person, to explain vanishing points and foreshortening and nerdy things like Cartesian coordinates.

So, I like to keep it simple. Things get smaller the farther back in the picture plane they get. If you have two rocks, and one is in the foreground and one is in the middle ground, the one farthest away is a little smaller.  The degree of difference in the size depends on how far apart they are.

Here’s an example by Dan Young (“Late Summer on Crystal”).  You can see the bushes in the middle ground are the same kind as the one in the foreground.  Try measuring them. The one in front is bigger than the middle ground bushes. This helps create depth.

So what happens if there are man-made things with straight lines involved in your composition? Do you have to worry about things like vanishing points? Well, yes, I’m sorry, but you do.  If it helps, just call it the horizon line instead of vanishing point.  Make the lines of your object point toward the horizon. Here’s an illustrative example by Joseph Paquet (Roman Ruins,

To all you drawing teachers out there, pulling out your hair in frustration, I apologize. I guess I’ll never be an architect. I’m ok with that. There’s too much math involved anyway. ;-)

To be continued.....

No comments:

Post a Comment