Exercise: Linear perspective

Revisit earlier exercises and consider what you learned from Part 3 with regard to linear perspective. Return to your chosen place to make studies. Look at Van Gogh’s landscape drawings. Using a pencil or pen complete a larger drawing in which you attempt to map accurately the scale of receding objects and record converging lines that convey a sense of receding space.

It was useful to go back to Part 3 and remind myself about vanishing points and eye level. It reminded me that I found  linear perspective quite difficult at the time but I’m pleased that the concepts feel  more natural now.

I found it beneficial to look at Vincent van Gogh’s landscape drawings and made a few notes here.

The landscape views I have in mind for this assignment are not abundant with features such as winding lanes, paths and tracks so there are only a limited number of linear perspective elements for me to work with but I did two large drawings which were useful explorations.

View across the fields from Robin Hood’s Hut, Goathurst, Somerset


View from Robin Hood’s Hut, Somerset (A3), drawing pen, water wash, Conte crayons and pencils

This exercise enabled me to focus in on  the ploughed lines of the field, the grass verge alongside, the fence and the field shapes themselves.  In fact there was lot more linear perspective going on than I first realised. I started by using drawing pen, then put a water wash over and added  colour with Conté pencils and crayons.

I am satisfied that this drawing conveys a sense of receding space. It looks right, although if I was to do it again, I would aim for lighter touch with the plough lines  (I was stuck with the dark lines of the water wash / drawing pen which I had rather over-enthusiastically applied. This started out as a line drawing with pen and that’s why there are dark outlines for the distant hills. I don’t mind this but it means they don’t conform to the rules of linear perspective.

I thought it was an odd combination of media at first, but having looked at Van Gogh’s drawings he sometimes used chalk with watercolour and ink so perhaps it is not so strange after all. I feel this is reasonably successful drawing. It captures the scene and atmosphere quite well.

East Quantoxhead, Somerset – looking down at the limestone rock platform


East Quantoxhead (A2 trimmed to square), drawing pen, ink, wax

While a natural  formation, the limestone platform on the beach is roughly linear  and recedes into the distance. I drew the picture with drawing pen, added some white candle wax, water and a light wash of coloured ink. It’s a more abstract image than my Robin Hood’s Hut drawing and it does not have quite the same sense of receding landscape, mostly I think because there is not a very clear definition between the foreground foliage and the rock. I don’t mind that though.

 What did I gain from this exercise?

A useful reminder about linear perspective and how getting this right (or reasonably right in my case) helps to make pictures look believable. And as always, the drawing practice, working on a larger scale outside of my sketchbook and the experimentation with different media was valuable.


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