I said I would do a post on perspective and here it is.  For anyone who wants to paint ANY structure,  they MUST be able to get the perspective accurate or the painting will never look right.  Now, by structure I mean a house, city street, a wall, even a road, river or fence going off into the distance.  Actually, anything in your painting must follow the rules of perspective, otherwise the painting will be flat, having no depth.

     If you are painting a house, for example, you must establish a vanishing point where all lines converge. It may or may not be on the canvas.  In fact, it usually is NOT on the canvas, if it were, the house would be very small.  It is helpful to have a yardstick because a 12" ruler is usually too short.  First, you draw the vertical walls closest to you to decide how large you want your house.  Then, starting at the vanishing point you draw light lines radiating outward to those vertical lines.  The end of the house furthest from you is somewhere along those lines.  I have a photo below to illustrate.  There will be lines for each vertical wall, the roof line and the bottom of the house. Even the windows and doors will follow these lines as well, so you may end up with many lines.  Be sure they are drawn LIGHTLY as you will have to erase them later or paint over them.

     Now, if your building is on a corner or you see two sides of a building,  you will need to know and use TWO-POINT perspective. This means you have TWO vanishing points to work from.  They will be on the same plane or line but opposite sides of each other.  The illustration below helps explain the concept.  Just remember that everything has perspective, but it is more obvious in buildings than in nature.  Trees for example, are smaller as they go into the distance and larger as they get closer to you.  That is perspective.  This applies to everything.  Telephone poles, fences, rivers, even birds and animals.  Study a photo or painting, or just look down the street.  The further away an object, the smaller it appears..and those closer to you are larger.  This may be obvious to some, others have never really thought about it.  It becomes to them an AHA moment.  Just putting this into practice makes all the difference in a painting and suddenly your work looks more professional!

     Below is the illustration of one and two-point perspective. I hope it helps you to understand what it is and how to put it into practice.  One very important thing to remember.  A mistake I often see done by students is they will draw the path "up" the canvas instead of diminishing the size. Just as you see the lines below converging into a point, your river, pathway, etc must converge as they go away into the distance,  NEVER just going "up" the canvas. Actually they should go "up" very little! (See my paintings below) So think about it and put it into practice. You will be amazed at how much better your paintings look!  Enjoy and see you next Friday!

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