Light and Perspective in a Landscape Painting

A very critical aspect of getting a landscape to look legitimate and realistic is to have the light’s direction consistent in all the elements within the painting. This rule applies to all painting subjects and not limited to landscape paintings.

While still composing or visualizing the piece of art, you need to decide where you would like the light to come from, or where you would like the shadows to fall.

If you are painting outdoors, you may consider the sun’s direction, while when painting from a studio, you will need to use a lamp and decide the direction of the light.

Using aerial perspective

When objects move further away from the eye, they seem to become small and they tend to lose detail. This results in loss in contrast as the colors also become less intense and the edges distinct. One of the atmospheric components is water vapor which adds a semi transparent fog between the eyes and far off objects.

Consequently, the more distant an object is, the more fuzzy and pastel like they seem to appear. This is the reason that distant objects become more blue and lighter as they move further away from the eye.

This kind of a landscape view in a painting looks like scumbled over using white paint. In a perspective, the atmosphere gets more opaque and whiter, hence a mountain in a far off distance will look more bluish or whitish. This is because the air above it is thinner making the sky above it darker more blue and clearer.

Achieving an aerial perspective

You achieve this using the scumbling technique. You can apply a thin layer of white paint over a coat of dried paint or mix paler versions of the colors you have used by adding white to reduce the color intensity. Adjust the amount of white to avoid making it look too pale or chalky.

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