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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Get in the Zone with Aerial Perspective

'Lupine Magic'           8x10         pastel    ©Karen Margulis
available for purchase $95
It is really like magic! When I finally figured out how to use the principles of aerial or atmospheric perspective, it made all the difference in my paintings.  For the longest time I knew what aerial perspective was. I read John Carlson's book on painting the landscape. I could tell you what it was. But I didn't always use it well.  I found there are two keys that helped me the most:
  1. We often have to exaggerate the effects of aerial perspective. Aerial perspective deals with  way things appear to change as they go back into space....they tend to get lighter, cooler, duller, less detailed, less contrast. We don't always notice thhese changes and often they are subtle. Especially if we are working from photos in which everything is crisp and clear with no color shifts. So when I realized that I would have to push or exaggerate these  effects I was able to create more space/distance in my landscapes.
  2. Remember to change your pastel stick as you go into the distance.  What I mean by this is to be sure that you don't use the exact same stick of pastel in the foreground and the background if you are trying to get atmospheric perspective. For example if you are painting a green field the green you use in the foreground needs to change as you go into the will be cooler and lighter in the distance. If you use the exact same pastel stick of green all over the field it will look flat.
Zones help me remember the effects of aerial perspective
 So how do I remember to make the changes due to the effects of aerial perspective?  I divide my scene into four zones: foreground, middle ground, background and sky/ground transition zone.  I then know that in each zone I will need to make changes to the color temperatures,values,detail level, color intensity.  I just need to be sure that my transitions between the zones are blended. I don't want an aerial perspective parfait!
**remember that the effects of aerial perspective occur most of the time...there are always exceptions that you will have to deal with **
To read more about aerial perspective you might like my recent post. Read HERE


Bonnie said...

well put Karen and great illustration

Karen said...

Thanks Bonnie!