Class Notes; From Soup to Nuts

On this cold and blustery night at class I had something warm and comforting on my mind: Soup and another look at PERSPECTIVE - in cylindrical objects. The red jar and the soup can are slightly below our eye level so the tops appear as shallow ellipses - not too hard. Hmm . .
Those stacked bowls however, YIKES! Every painter in the room struggled to make them nest and appear correctly in perspective. We were concentrating too much to even whine.
One key to drawing success here would be to establish the axis of each ellipse then refine the shape and direction by comparing the positive shapes against the negative shapes - almost like the shapes were 2 dimensional jigsaw puzzle pieces. If we train our eyes to see and correctly fit together those shapes the result will appear 3 dimensional.
Knowledge of PERSPECTIVE is important to show spacial depth in a drawing but sometimes we can get a better result by throwing out what our brain thinks it KNOWS and trusting our eyes.
Now, what about those darn crackers?


It's All In Your Perspective

At this moment the wind is HOWLing around my house. It was about 12 degrees out when I got up and this is the day our plumber could install a new water heater; so the back door is wide open and both water and gas are off. If my thoughts are somewhat erratic it is because they are coming out of my brain in frozen chunks and my fingers are slightly blue- not a nice shade.The very idea of learning PERSPECTIVE can make students nervous but every still life set up involves some perspective. Recognizing and understanding basic concepts in front of you can go a long way toward improving your drawing skills - or build confidence when you realize that you have been using PERSPECTIVE with out knowing it.
The dictionary says this on the subject of PERSPECTIVE: "the art of drawing solid objects on a two-dimensional surface so as to give the right impression of their height, width, depth, and position in relation to each other when viewed from a particular point."

In the set up above, our "point of view" is above the scene - we are looking down on it. In PERSPECTIVE terms, we could say that it is below our "horizon line/eye level"- eye level being straight ahead. Because it is below our horizon line/eye level, we see the tops of the books, oranges and even a wee bit of the top of the bottle cap. If this set up was positioned above our eye level/horizon line (and on a glass table top) we would see the bottoms of the objects.
A good way to start a drawing is to first ask yourself: "Is this set up above my eye level/horizon line or below it? From any ONE point of view, you won't see both the top of objects AND the underside.

Thank Heaven, it has started to snow. Now temps will go up a bit. If not, I may contemplate a bon fire in the living room.

Class Notes Continued

This version of the above still life was done by Patrick Myers an acrylic painter of note in the San Luis Valley.
I posted his piece because of its dynamic color and exciting brushwork. WOW!
Patrick has a distinctive Point of view that has nothing to do with perspective. Click on the painting to view it larger - the paint is just YUMMY!
Patrick works as a ranger at one of the natural gems of this valley - The Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. He is an accomplished artist/painter and curates art at the Park as well as art about the Park, both in Colorado and nationally.