Monday, March 7

The Look & Feel of Distance in Your Paintings

I Used Perspective and Atmosphere
 to Show Distance
Achieving the look and feel of distance in your paintings is important especially in landscapes. This can be one of those more-than-you-ever-wanted-to-know subjects, but it’s a Monday morning, so I think I will keep it simple by talking about only two aspects of this—perspective and atmosphere.

Perspective is the relative appearance of the size of objects as they recede from the viewer’s distance and position in relation to an object or vista. That is, it’s how things look the farther away they are from the picture plane.

To be frank, there is no way to discuss perspective briefly in a blog (especially on a Monday morning). To get perspective right, you have to know and learn about it. If you go this route, I recommend the book, Mastering Perspective for Beginners by Santiago and Jose Arcas and Isabel Gonzalez. I believe I have referred to this book in a previous blog, but I use it to refresh my memory when I need to know more about a particular perspective issue I’m having with a painting.

Or, if you’re using a reference photo, even easier, you can simply enlarge and draw your motif on your support by free-hand, transfer, or projection.

Secondly, the depiction of atmosphere in your painting also implies distance. Simply put, objects or vistas in the distance appear to recede by becoming less distinct with vanishing edges (not to be confused with vanishing points) and by becoming slightly bluer in appearance at the horizon line.

Of course, as with anything, there is a whole lot more to know and learn about these subjects. However, master these two things, and your paintings will come alive.

Trying to keep it simple on a Monday morning.

Happy Painting!

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