I was born and raised in the suburbs, with rural farmland
and city centers nearby so I have an unbiased appreciation for both. I'm
attuned to the natural elements around me and I love to be outdoors, but I also
get so energized by the sights and sounds of the cities I visit or live in. And
sketching a city has certainly helped me hone my perspective drawing skills
because with so many visual elements to contend with, I have to be able to
create a sense of space in which objects look like they share the same
environment relative to one another.
Although one-point perspective is easy to grasp, I'm still
working on using more complex layouts of linear perspective. In the meantime, I have a few workarounds that I use to keep myself
in a perspective mindset but don't necessarily require me to work out all the
Cropping: One thing that I don't think artists use enough is
creative cropping when it comes to settling on a composition. For instance, if
I taper my composition in at the middle, an illusion of distance is created.
Artists often do this in cityscapes where the buildings and roadways, for
instance, veer together at one point in the distance.
|Via Pietro Micca by Valerio D'Ospina, 2010, oil on canvas, 57 x 51.
Color: Over the span of a day, light on a form—a building
façade, let's say—changes consistently, though sometimes subtly, as the hours
tick by. None of us usually have the time to watch that play of color change
minute by minute, but I always try to remind myself of how subtle color changes
can really make an impact. When trying to go from near to far in a painting, I
don't need to drastically alter my colors; minute changes—more like
tinting—will give me the effect I want.
|North Window in Afternoon by Bennett Vadnais, 2010,
acrylic painting on paper, 12 x 16.
What looks right: For me, it all comes down to what looks believable rather than whether or not it falls within the mathematical boundaries of
a more complex perspective drawing. So I stop looking at my subject and just
evaluate my drawing or painting. Does it look believable or does my eye snag on
something not quite right? That assessment is my highest standard and one I
keep in mind no matter what I work on.
|Scrub Free Vessel by Christopher St. Leger, 2008, watercolor painting, 26 x 38.
But that isn't to say that I am not always taking steps to
sharpen my perspective drawing abilities. Using these well means the difference
between having to use a lot of creative workarounds and working exactly the way
I want. I also like contrasting the linearity of perspective with the fluidity and chance of watercolor, which is why Watercolor Artist Magazine is a great resource for me, making linear perspective understandable from
an artist's point of view with painting lessons that I can easily
incorporate into my practice--and plenty of inspiration from practicing artists who are driving me on. And right now the subscription is being offered at a special price, so be sure to check it out. Enjoy!