Sunday, February 26, 2017

Painting Depth

Yellowstone Majesty 2016
24x36 Oil on linen

This painting of Yellowstone’s Grand Canyon was a challenge in depth perception and perspective. I used several tactics of landscape painting and general composition:

- Breaking horizon lines, blurring distant objects, enlarging subjects that are close in proximity, darkening areas along the foreground, etc.
I selected the horizontal format, with the canyon covering the majority of canvas. The forest along the top of the canyon is an obscure block of greenish-brown tones and the foreground trees are larger to scale, with deeper values. Near the bottom of the painting is a glimpse of the Yellowstone River. This hint of blue is also placed in the sky, as I tried to keep the visual interest from top to bottom.
Even with the “tricks” of depth translation, the painting is far from a match to the reality of standing on the edge of a trail cliff and feeling your heart pound with a massive sense of wonder. In my opinion, Thomas Moran's paintings are among the few that will actually take you there.


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