Painting Perspective

Painting perspective involves the placement and shape of objects; objects can be stacked or skewed to give the illusion of space and dimension. Often a combination of those techniques works well. In this first example, “City of Savannah” the illusion of perspective is shown mostly through the stacking of objects, to give the appearance that some things are closer to the viewer than others.

The stacked items in the foreground are textured more heavily than those in the background. Heavier weight and greater detail gives the illusion that the viewer can see these foreground objects better because they are “closer” than the objects in the background, when of course the canvas is flat and all objects are the same relative distance from the viewer. In this way, artists are illusionists.

Oil Painting "City of Savannah" by artist Natalie Buske Thomas

In this next example, “Boiled Peanuts for Sale” uses skewed perspective to give the illusion that the body of the old truck is receding into the landscape. Skewed objects not only give paintings perspective, but also personality and character.

In this last example, “House in Savannah“, we see a combination of stacked and skewed perspective. Layering objects to give the illusion of receding back, combined with skewed perspective, gives character to the piece. Skewed perspective may cast strong feelings of nostalgia, such as in “Boiled Peanuts”. While used in a more subtle way in “House in Savannah”, skewing objects (slanting, twisting, and warping slightly) creates a vintage feeling to this art.

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