Using perspective grid for scenery?
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    Using perspective grid for scenery?

    I'm just wondering, does anyone tend to use a perspective grid for pieces with mountains/valleys/trees etc?

    I'd like my landscape paintings to have a decent sense of 3 dimensionality but can't image using a grid with such structures as hills/mountains as they don't tend to orientate themselves like buildings.

    If such a practise is common for less experienced (or experienced for that matter) artists then some tips would be good. I'm just used to using grids for urban/architectural scenes.

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    The only time people will use a grid is when viewing a scene outdoors through one to help with placement painting plein air with architecture. Canaletto and Bellotto were probably the most famous. If you are talking about drawing a grid in perspective on your canvas first I don't know of anyone traditionally of any note that does. Sense of scale and atmosphere come from careful placement of elements and using overlapping forms, value control and saturation control to create depth.

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    Yeah, I understand about atmospheric perspective and using such things for scenic images. Just having trouble making mountains/scenert obey laws of perspective and really look 3 dimensional and wondered if it had anything to do with perspective grids. As long as I know that it's not a normally used tool other than for very geometric shapes/scenes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stayinwonderland View Post
    Yeah, I understand about atmospheric perspective and using such things for scenic images. Just having trouble making mountains/scenert obey laws of perspective and really look 3 dimensional and wondered if it had anything to do with perspective grids. As long as I know that it's not a normally used tool other than for very geometric shapes/scenes.
    No grids but you do have to be aware of your eye level and how the elements in your scene relate to a fixed point of view. Another thing people don't understand is scale. Things that are larger and farther away, you see their general form more and details less. A lot of people paint too much detail in mountains and large objects and structures ruining the sense of scale.

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    I just wanted to say that if you are having problems scaling objects correctly then a perspective grid with horizon line might help. For example, while trees are naturally all different heights, the ones nearer the horizon are going to have a smaller average height than the ones in the midground and foreground, and you would be able to use your perspective grid to understand their respective heights in relation to one another. Also, if you have any man-made structures in your image with uniform height (such as a fence made up of many fence-posts going off into the distance) you would be able to use it to scale that correctly. Once you have a feel for these things and have produced a number of pieces, you will probably find you can stop using it.

    I don't think this would be much use for things like mountains which are all far-off in the distance. You probably just need to study photographs and paintings and use references to help you.

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    That's a good point about detail, yes. I guess what you could do is put in a perspective grid and have people, tree lines and the odd building obeying it and if there is a mountain or large feature, have it follow that perspective line just to re-inforce the overall perspective. Or to help guide the viewer's eye etc.

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    You could just go outside and have a look around.

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    Nature doesn't follow or conform to a grid. Linear perspective is only useful for man-made, architectural environments and subjects. If you are interested in environments you just need to get out there and work from observation to begin to understand light, scale, distance, etc. Two good books that might help are "Drawing Scenery" by Jack Hamm and Carlson't Guide to Landscape Painting. Both directly address environment scale, perspective and volume.

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    Cheers for that. I looked on amazon at the Jack Hamm book. It looks really good

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    Sure thing - I always recommend going through the first 71 pages with a stack of paper and just do what he's doing...plus a page of your own. Every spread is sort of one basic concept so do a spread or two every night...a couple hours. Then report back! Better yet post them in a sketchbook.

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    Yeah that sounds like a plan when I get hold of the book.

    For now, I just noticed something when doing this painting:



    The ground plane and lakes were quite dependant on some basic perspective principles. I didn't need a grid but unless I tweaked the ground plane/placement of the lakes, they didn't seem cohesive and... plane like. I notice that flaw in a few amateur pieces too - the ground plane tends to have a weak perspective.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stayinwonderland View Post
    Yeah that sounds like a plan when I get hold of the book.
    The ground plane and lakes were quite dependant on some basic perspective principles. I didn't need a grid but unless I tweaked the ground plane/placement of the lakes, they didn't seem cohesive and... plane like. I notice that flaw in a few amateur pieces too - the ground plane tends to have a weak perspective.
    That is eye level and scale, people tend to exaggerate features of the ground plane vertically out of proportion to its viewed width. You see it in seascapes where the artist shows a mile across view of sea and the waves are painted 50 feet high out of proportion to the width. It also holds to the idea I mentioned earlier the bigger the object (ground Plane) the less detail, in this case it would be height and angle.

    Last edited by dpaint; October 22nd, 2012 at 12:23 PM.
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