Exercise: Linear Perspective

6&7/11/15

Exercise: Linear Perspective

Now find a location in which there are hard landscape elements… Or you could find a location inside a large public space, such as a railway station or shopping mall, or work from a bench in the street… Note the outlines of buildings, roofing and guttering that can be represented as lines receding to achieve linear perspective… In this exercise, the use of line by drawing with a brush or a drawing medium will be more important than your use of colour and tonal contrast.

Linear perspective. Sketch onsite using liner pens. A5 drawing in A4 sketchbook.

Linear perspective.
Sketch on site using liner pens.
A5 drawing in A4 sketchbook.

Again the weather was against me, incessant rain and windy conditions prohibited me from sitting outside to draw. Instead I sat in the car after choosing a parking space on the side of road giving me a view down the street.  Other cars were coming and going all the time so I firstly concentrated on the roof line I could see. From the Drawing 1 course, I was aware that I should establish the eye level first in order to visualise the linear perspective lines. Unfortunately, I had to have three goes at this before I got it right. By coincidence, I had received my copy of Artists & Illustrators magazine, (November issue I believe), where there was an article on perspective. I remembered the advice given, that if you hold a piece of card level with your pupils and hold it flat so that all you see is a straight line, the corresponding point in your view is the eye level.  Once I used this technique, I was away. I had decided to use pen to avoid erasing lines of the actual drawing, although, I found it useful to draw perspective lines in pencil using a ruler as a guide. Once I was happy with the roof line and general direction of the street, I sketched in the cars parked along the road in front of me to further assist the perspective.

My initial intention was to make a preliminary sketch and then make a painting using Sharpie pen and watercolour on site.  However, my car battery had other ideas as it disliked my having the windscreen wipers on whilst the engine was off and slowly died a death, resulting in my having to wait for the breakdown guys to bring a new one! My enthusiasm for painting died with it! Before leaving, I took a quick reference photo for colour and placement comparisons to go with my drawing to enable me to make the painting at home.

Linear perspective. Painting using Sharpie marker pen and watercolour. A3 paper.

Linear perspective.
Painting using Sharpie marker pen and watercolour.
A3 paper.

Review your finished painting and make notes in your learning log. Have you been successful in creating a sense of receding space? Is there any part of your painting that doesn’t work as well as the rest? What could you do you put this right?

  • I think there is a sense of receding space due to the diminishing scale of the buildings and cars as they go away to the background.
  • Looking at the pavement on the right, it gives a sense of going uphill rather than flat and going round the corner. The drawing of the front car is not accurate enough compared to the sketch, I have tried to rectify this to some extent but not enough. The corner building in the distance with the triple aspect roof was particularly challenging especially as I hadn’t made my drawing quite clear enough to reproduce away from the view.
  • To put this right, I could have made more of the kerb of the pavement by indicating the kerb-stones (they being another set of parallel lines). The paving was cobbled not slabs so more tricky to show as they may have become overly detailed. Had the drawing of the car been more accurate (widening of the windscreen and making it less tall), the foreground would have been a better scale to show the illusion of items closer being bigger etc.
  • I’m convinced that, had I stayed in situ and made the painting, it would have been more successful.

Other than these things, the general feeling is of a street receding into the distance and my husband recognised immediately the place from where I had been drawing. I also enjoyed the looseness of the watercolour painting.

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