Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Eye Line, An Assist to Drawing

We were out painting the other day with a few other painters, one of whom was new to it.  She asked about perspective.  I summoned Vic to do his atelier thing.  Everyone gathered round.  He explained that he starts his paintings by indicating where the eye line is.  The questions came.  "Is that the horizon?"  The response, "It could be".  Questions ??? "Could be?"  Response, "If the land is flat, as in the desert of on a large body of water".  Question, "Isn't it where you are looking?"  Answer, "No, it is your look ahead eye line".  "Your eye line could be at the base of a hill or mountain, or looking off over something in a valley."

Here is an example.

Barn From the Road

Here the eye line indicated is below the foundation of the barn.  I was standing on the road.  The barn was on the top of a small hill.

Vic continued to demonstrate that the linear perspective lines always go down (or up, depending on where the eye line is) to the eye line.  

Linear Perspective Lines Indicated

Here the linear perspective lines are shown as they approach the eye line.  The point at which they meet the eye line in this case is off the page.  Note that the two perspective lines to the left would meet the eye line at the same spot.

In this painting I was playing with the structure, distorting it on purpose to make a picture more interesting.  But, I still have to understand the principles to make it believable as opposed to a comic.  In many paintings the perspectives lines are not so obvious.

Alton Shed

Vic proceeded to say that there is perspective involved pretty much everywhere.  In the clouds, roads, fields and so forth.  "Why didn't anyone teach me this in art school?"  Who knows.  It can be used in abstracts as a method of indicating depth, even when flattening the picture plane.  You don't have to be formal about it.  Merely indicate it.

Our beginner than ran off the evaluate the juried art show next to the coffee shop.  Running back she exclaimed "every painting in the show has major errors, come look, tell me if I get it."  She got it.  Everyone began to understand why some of their paintings lacked structure and why their drawing looked unbelievable.  Now to practice.....

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