In the comments after my last post, I was asked;
"I think I know what you mean by, "So don't stand trees, little guys, houses or whatever, on the frame." But would you explain a little more what you mean by:
"Throw those footlights, the beginning of the picture, out far enough that you don't have this problem. Foregrounds are tricky and the further from your feet yours begins, the easier it will be to make a convincing job of it."
Here are some recently discovered paintings of a Dutch artist buried up to his nose in a landscape. I will use those to explain what I mean.
Here is the tyro's field of vision, he intends to paint everything in his purview from the tips of his mottled brogans to the azure zenith! The lower line of his vision reaches the ground at his feet, this point is the footlights. Imagine if you and I were sitting in a theater perhaps twenty rows back from the stage. The stage represents for us the picture plane, that imaginary sheet of limpid glass between ourselves and the world, where world leaves off, and representation begins. Our tyro will fill his foreground with lots of stuff, often carefully observed and real close in.
This can be OK, and there are good paintings that do it, particularly studio paintings and Hudson River school work, often done from drawings made on location rather than painted on the location.
The problem arises when the viewer feels as if they must move their head on its stalk in order to apprehend your picture. That tends to make em uncomfortable, and also gives you the problem of representing the whole bottom third of your canvas with baroque little twisty twineys and whatnot. How much better then, to
The footlights are further from the half buried artist's eyes!
Now you are able to represent a world that appears larger and is more believably on the canvas. Your detail in the bottom third of the painting now has spacing between the elements and they are fewer. Of course we must pick and choose from natures offerings, the takings are better at this range.
Please now, turn to your pamphlets and see for yourselves the thousands of wonderful landscapes where this principle of establishing our FOOTLIGHTS somewhat further forward (than his been our natural inclination for so long,) has provided great landscape paintings. Surely, with so much, really too much, world before us to represent, we can spare the closest parts if it gains us a commensurate space for the larger view.