Thursday, September 13, 2012

Diagonally receding perspective in a landscape

I generally don't show a lot of my own paintings on this blog. But today I will do that. I have a design lesson that I can teach using it. This is a new painting that will be in the New England Landscapes show at the Old Lyme Art Association.

  • The painting is a 26 by 30, so it is by most peoples plein air standards, rather large. I  don't make my paintings by enlarging small studies in the studio, the paintings I exhibit are started on location, and then finished in the studio.
  • I  painted almost all of this one outside in one shot. I worked on it in the studio for only a few hours.
  • Virtually the entire painting was done using a number 10 flat, a big brush. That brush was made of nylon and came out of a package of 10 that cost 9.99.
  • In the studio I only worked on the top and bottom of the painting. I invented the shadow shapes on the left and leveled out the foreground  field which actually  dropped down to the right. That dip that I removed gave a sagging line across the front of the painting and took the viewer downward and out of the painting at the right hand corner, rather than allowing the observer  to follow the line of bushes back to the  barn.
  • In the illustration  below  you can see that I put the foreground shadows  into the lower left hand corner and the line of the bushes  is over on the right hand  side of the passage. We look out from the shadows on the lower left, across to the line of bushes over on the right. This  was not observed but INSTALLED into the image.
  • I have arranged , that is, forced the elements of the landscape into a diagonal recession back into the picture plane. The nearest planes are on the left and as they go away from the viewer they are behind the first plane and to the right. The receding planes are "stacked obliquely into the picture plane.
  •   The  receding elements of the landscape are not stacked horizontally back into space, and progressing like a frieze, level with the bottom of the canvas from one side of the painting to the other. The elements are arranged  to progress diagonally back into the painting starting in the lower left. Each of the elements of the painting are arranged on diagonal lines, so that as they recede into space they also march obliquely up and to the right.
  • I  did this because it is more dynamic than the somewhat static arrangement based on receding horizontal lines.
  • But it also does another thing, it embeds the perspective more deeply in the drawing. Each layer of the scene is more visibly behind the layer in front of it. I sure hope what I mean is explained by the planar boxes drawn on the illustration above, when I explain this in person  I am able to make chopping movements with my hands and wiggle my eyebrows up  and down.

  •  I did the same thing in  the sky, see how the clouds recede backwards into space diagonally as well.

 Above is an illustration of the planar boxes as they would be arranged receding not as diagonals but one behind another parallel to the bottom of  the image.

That wasn't easy to explain, I hope you caught that!


Philip Koch said...

Stape- great color and foliage in this one!

Steve Baker said...

I was puzzled until I made slashing motions with my hands and pictured your eyebrows going up and down. Then it made perfect sense. Thanks for another great lesson.

Judy P. said...

If I get confused during the workshop, I will look to your eyebrows for clarification!

Poppy Balser said...

Stape, Hello from Nova Scotia. The boxes that you drew made it all clear. Thanks for this illustration and for sharing one of your recent works. The design lessons that you share are what keeps me coming back to your blog. Thanks for keepin' on.

Robert J. Simone said...

Great explanation of a simple, yet effective concept. I'm already telling myself to look for opportunities to use it. Thank you.

jimserrettstudio said...

I always learn something on your blog. Great lesson.

Diane Mannion said...

Although I'm an eye-roller, not a brow-raiser... I love the way you explained this design process. The foreground shadow also works to increase the light effects in the painting.

Judy P. said...

What's with this guy above leaving an ad; can you imagine Stape with a foam roller?
"It ain't in the foam roller" - that just rolls off the tongue.

Barbara DuBois Hageman, Artist said...

Can't wait to see this in the real at LAA. When are you going to run another workshop in Old Lyme???

Snow camp isn't a good option, but up the road from Lyme is Colchester, CT with an outstanding marsh: the Raymond Marsh, and a stunning woodland with waterfalls and lots of painting spots.

Barbara DuBois Hageman, Artist said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TomKinley said...

You share some nice landscape painting in this blog. I found this type landscape painting and all painting are amazing. I really appreciate very much.

Toronto painters

Stapleton Kearns said...

My mother used to put foam rollers in her hair.,....,...........Stape

Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing this with us! Some really amazing features.
OGradys Landscape

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this lesson. The boxes helped.
I had foam hair rollers years ago which I purchased at a local Ben Franklin store in here in northern VT. It came with a hard plastic 'roller box.' It was quite thrilling back then as the boxes came in different colors.

Anonymous said...

You can't use compositional hindsight to analyze a great painting... Lines, boxes, and arrows, black and white conversions never get at what makes a great painting work, and generally fails in translating to one's own work.

Compositional strategy is not a hanger on which to drape a picture, rather it can slightly guide the painter who has the inspiration to express something important to him. If you are just cruising on technique and inbred thinking that good composition=good painting, then you are in the wrong line of 'work'.
Btw, why would anyone call themselves a professional painter? That title works for house or sign painters.