Monday, November 5, 2007

Aerial Perspective

Maui Hills
9 x 2 soft pastels on Art Spectrum Colourfix
Miki Willa
I heard it again from Maggie Price, but it has taken a long time for it to sink in that when it comes to values, cameras lie. Aerial perspective is based on the notion that as we move farther away from something, the makeup of the atmosphere interferes with the colors and intensity of what we are seeing. Distant mountains are much paler in color than the tree in front of us. If you stand at the top of a mountain in the middle of a mountain range, each successive ridge gets less distinct with distance. In painting, value is one way to indicate this. That is fine if you are painting en plein air. If, however, you rely on photographs, you have to be careful about the values you are seeing. A camera will show a distant line of trees as dark as the trees in the foreground. Cloud shadows on the mountains will show up as dark as the shadows under a nearby bush. If you paint it that way, you will loose important depth. It is a hard lesson to learn. This is the third time I have painted this scene. I think I finally have the depth, or aerial perspective, I want. I really like this area in Maui. One day, I would like to visit it again.

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