|Kurt Plinke, Artist and Naturalist|
Between the Waters
life, Art and The Nature of things Between the Atlantic and the Chesapeake
The special workshop we had today in the studio, looking at composition to make good-looking watercolor paintings was a great success. We learned about the concepts of design, compositional methods in creating a painting, and planning a soundly put-together watercolor. It looked to me as though everyone who attended learned a lot, and planned some great paintings. While no one finished a painting, a lot of thinking occurred. (actually, very little painting was done, because everyone was so intent upon creating movement in their work, looking for unity and a little variety, and placing their focal point. They just ran out of time. It was a great day!
While we were together, one of the participants asked about a workshop on perspective. She complained that she could never make her landscapes look like they had any depth. Last year about this time, we held a perspective workshop here at the studio, and it was very well received. But almost everyone at at today's workshop said that they would love to have another perspective day int he studio. So, I checked the calendar and we scheduled another perspective workshop for April 9th here at Sewell Mills Studio.
We spent a lot of time at the last workshop looking mainly at classic linear perspective, using one-point and two-point perspective to make buildings appear to back in space. This time, we're going to do look at linear perspective again, but also spend more time on the ideas of atmospheric, or visual, perspective as well.
LINEAR PERSPECTIVE was developed during the early Italian Renaissance, using mathematical principals to allow painters to dive their paintings the illusion of three dimensions.
Artists like Perugino created paintings like The Delivery of the Keys (in this case using one-point perspective), almost to show off their new-found understanding of how we see things. When we see paintings like this, we can begin to understand that it is not impossible to make our own work seem to go back in space. Perugino's use of a grid in this painting show us the way to complete our own paintings using his methods.
Hopper painted this using two-point perspective to show us a view of the lighthouse at an angle, and from below. At first, as you explore linear perspective, you'll feel the need to lightly draw a horizon line, add vanishing points and carefully render lines before you begin to paint. Soon, however, linear perspective will become second nature. You will find it easier and easier the more you practice.
Atmospheric perspective, however, is not quite so geometric, and easier for some to understand. Atmospheric perspective is just a series of observations that seem to be true in most cases. These observations include,
As things go back in space:
Once we understand these observations, we can include these ideas in our work. One of the obvious mistakes I see in so many watercolors is the misuse of the ideas of atmospheric perspective.
I'm looking forward to April's workshop. It should be a great refresher for many, and new information for some who attend. I think I'll try my hand at making a video of parts of the day, and posting the video here on my blog. We'll see how it works.
See you soon in the studio.
Kurt Plinke: About Life, Art and the Nature of Things on the Eastern Shore
I write about things I've noticed, places I've been, plans I've made and paintings I've finished or am thinking about.
See recent naturalist observations I have posted on iNaturalist: