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Aerial Perspective Painting TECHNIQUE

 

Color scales with graduating tones

Color scales with graduating tones

Graduating Tone and Color:

  • Before you start painting your landscape, you should practice mixing color scales with graduating tones.
  • Each scale consists of five equal shifts of color from dark to light which help to generate the illusion of spatial depth and distance.
  • Choose one of these scales to use in your landscape painting.

 

Painting Materials:

  • Paper: Use a heavy grade paper that does not buckle too much when painted.
  • Paint: Acrylics, gouache or the type of tempera paint and blocks you get in schools are all suitable for this project.
  • Details: White color pencils, white pastel pencils or a sharpened stick of chalk are suitable materials for adding the detailed highlights and tones to our final image.

 

Painting Technique:

  • When you draw your landscape you work from the front towards the back. When you paint your landscape you should reverse this process and work from the back towards the front.
  • Apply your lightest tones first. It is easier to darken a color than it is to lighten it as you use much less paint to do so. Consequently, it is best to start with your lightest tones and proceed towards the darkest.
  • If you start with your lightest tones it also makes it easier to cover any slip ups in your painting technique as you will be applying darker tones over them.

Aerial Perspective Painting - Step 1

 

The first layer of cloud

The first layer of cloud

  • The sky is generally brighter than the landscape as it is the main source of light in the picture. Therefore, the range of graduating tones used for the sky should be lighter than those used for the landscape. Consequently, if you are using a color scale of five tones, choose the four lightest tones to paint the four layers of cloud.
  • Start painting the sky with your lightest tone and apply it to the lowest layer of cloud just above the skyline.

 

Aerial Perspective Painting - Step 2

 

The second layer of cloud

The second layer of cloud

  • Paint the second layer of cloud using your second lightest tone, paying particular attention to the quality of edge where the layers meet.

 

Aerial Perspective Painting - Step 3

 

The third layer of cloud

The third layer of cloud

  • Paint the third layer of cloud with your third lightest tone, still paying attention to the quality of edge where the layers meet.

 

Aerial Perspective Painting - Step 4

 

The final layer of cloud

The final layer of cloud

  • To complete the painting of the sky, apply the final layer of cloud with your fourth lightest tone.

 

Aerial Perspective Painting - Step 5

 

Paint the most distant skyline first using your third darkest tone

Paint the most distant skyline first using your third darkest tone

  • Using your third darkest tone, start to paint the buildings on the most distant skyline, again paying particular attention to the quality of edge where the sky meets the land.

 

Aerial Perspective Painting - Step 6

 

Paint the middle skyline next using your second darkest tone

Paint the middle skyline next using your second darkest tone

  • Using your second darkest tone, paint the middle skyline, still paying attention to the quality of edge where it overlaps any previous layers.

 

Aerial Perspective Painting - Step 7

 

Complete the painting with your darkest tone.

Complete the painting with your darkest tone.

  • Using your darkest tone, paint the bottom skyline to complete the image.
  • You can now see the full tonal effect that conveys the illusion of aerial perspective.
  • You could consider the work finished at this stage or you could go on to add some tonal detail as illustrated in our next step.

 

Aerial Perspective Painting - Step 8

 

Adding more details to the landscape

Adding more details to the landscape

  • In this final image we have enhanced the detail of our landscape with sharp highlights and softly smudged tones, resulting in a more atmospheric image.
  • We have emphasized the form of the buildings and clouds in following ways:
  1. Highlighting the left-hand edges of the architectural forms and details on the two bottom layers.
  2. Applying a soft light tone which adds a misty depth to all three landscape layers.
  3. Applying a soft dark tone to strengthen the form of the clouds.

 

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