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Friday, September 23, 2011

Getting To the Point

An adroit artist can focus our attention without our being aware of what's happening. One easy method to make this happen is a visual device called  one-point perspective, an approach artists have been using for centuries.

Photographer unknown
Notice in this photo how all lines converge to  a single point.  That's how one-point perspective works.

Take a look at how artist Joe Paquet uses this device.

"Classic Saint Paul"      8" x 12"     Oil on Canvas

Pretty elementary, right.  One-point perspective works when the artist arranges major shapes or points of emphasis so that our eyes are guided toward a single area called a vanishing point.   It's a natural consequence of how the eye sees parallel lines in real life.  It comes with our natural ability to see depth as when we're looking down a hallway.

Photo by MarvinOS

Just like they do with all of nature's organizing systems, artists find intriguing ways to employ one-point perspective.  Look at how Paquet found it and made it work here.

"Santa Rosa Creek Road"     12' x 16"   Oil on Canvas

 He's a  bit more subtle in this next piece.

Eagles' Nest Stage Stop    8" x 10"   Oil on Canvas

And he does a similar thing here.

"Queen Anne's Lace"       8" x 10"    Oil on Canvas

One-point perspective is not so much a composition principle as a structural device that can guarantee an artist both an eye path and correct visual perspective.  Sometimes a scene will contain exactly what you need; at other times the artist will make a few adjustments to enable the images to fall within the structural intention.

Probably one of the most ingenious one-point perspective painting ever was done more than 600 years ago:   Leonardo da Vinci's "Last Supper."

Have a fun weekend.


Anamaria said...

Dianne, thanks for this valuable lesson! Have a nice weekend

Bumpus McGee said...

Great lesson. Especially love the example of the Last Supper. If it weren't for your detailed explanation there would be no way I could have seen the one-point perspective.