Exercise: Linear perspective


Small canal in Foligno, Umbria, 40 28cm, acrylic on paper

Find a location in which there are hard landscape elements…


A4 sketchbook drawing using multicolour pencil and pastel.

As I had done a quite a bit of sketching  in Umbria and had some good photographs to supplement my drawings, I decided to use this material for both the perspective exercises. The town scenes are strong in terms of linear perspective and the landscapes form  aerial perspective views.




A4 sketchbook — street scene in Spoletto, Umbria, multicolour pencil

I started by doing a series of quick drawings, using the multicolour pencil which is my current favourite fad. These helped to warm me up (I had been putting off this exercise) and after a bit of practice I found I was observing and reproducing those all important angles, which I  often struggle with. I explored a street scene, the canal and also a rooftop vista with a bit of linear perspective.



A4 sketchbook – Foligno rooftops, multicolour pencil

I chose the canal composition because I like the curve of the arches and canal and the pleasing visual pattern these create. This view also offers  linear perspective in terms of walls, paths, windows, and fences. The flags. representing the teams in the Quintana (a medieval tradition in the form of horse races about which the town goes crazy), were another feature of interest and symbolic of the character of this lovely town.

What works

  • The composition is reasonable. I am pleased with the combination of straight and curvy lines.
  • The colour palette is suitably soft and limited – the pale pink stone is characteristic of the area. I used a little yellow-green over the pink of the buildings and a touch in the sky and this has worked. I used very dilute acrylics in several layers and enjoyed painting in this way as there’s  more time to mix before the paints dry.
  • There is a sense of the age and solidity about the buildings. The lines are not too straight – it is easy for a linear perspective picture to look like an architect’s drawing (although in truth this is unlikely to happen in my case!).
  • I feel the linear perspective is OK and there is a sense of receding space. The vanishing point is midway, off to the left, with the eye level about centre.
  • This was a complex scene which I have managed to simplify … I’m getting better at this. I tried very hard not too get too fussy about detail and achieved this to a reasonable extent.

What doesn’t work so well

  • The flags might have been bolder and perhaps I could have re-positioned them to break up sky and stonework a bit more…
  • Perhaps there is too much plain sky top left… but maybe not as there are quite nice negative shapes formed by the diagonals of the rooftop and these contrast with the curves elsewhere.





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