9/18/2012 5:50:23 PM

Distance, Understanding and Finally, Seeing

Jolyn Wells-Moran / Comment on this

norrissglasses.comThe eye can be surprisingly incorrect when faced with distances, as is true in other situations too. As most artists know, the brain tends to make up fictions to fill in gaps in our sight -- until we know better. Painting this landscape, I had to push against those fictions to make the right shapes of the quilt-like fields. I could see that most of it consisted of rectangles, but rectangles laying down. I was looking down on an angle at those shapes and it took a few tries to make the fields look flat. I was right back again to lessons in perpective.

norrissglasses.comThere was a slight mistiness in the distances in the scene, probably caused by the proximity of water on a hot day in the late afternoon/early evening of a late summer day. It distorted the colors, even when I had adjusted for loss of yellow and other phenomena of viewing far objects. I was back again to what I've learned about color in distances -- and sorting through the color changes caused by that particular mist, season and time of day.

norrissglasses.comThe values were also affected by the mist and time of day, although just the fact that it was a vista I was looking at had the usual, basic challenges of distances. If I had gone with one part of my thinking, I would have painted them darker and more colorfully. After all, my eye saw that darkness and color, but it was seeing in relation to what was immediately around it. I had to ignore my eye in order to understand  and paint in relation to what was next closest to the foreground. Colors gradually disappear, of course, but some disappear more quickly than others, leaving blue and then violet. They also grey out and become lighter. 

If you're an artist, you likely know all of this. Knowing helps us paint better, often until our eye learns.


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