May 14, 2012

Creating Depth with Shape and Form

Sharon Teal Coray

One of the basic lessons an artist needs to learn is how to create a painting that has depth. The secret is to know how to paint a flat surface with light falling on it that will make the viewer conscious of the solidity of the object.

There are no written rules that say solidity must be represented by light and dark, it is simply one of the languages of form.

For instance if you paint a hard, even edge around an apple it would look like a paper cutout.  Creating the impression of contour is created by the way the light falls across the apple or form, thus obliterating the edge towards the light and defining it on the dark side. The painted edge does not stay on the outline and these “lost and found edges” specifies its volume.

It really is not possible for any artist in reality to create three dimensions on a two-dimensional surface. The very best that you can do is achieve an equivalent through the use of tone, the modulation of color and the edges of the shapes. (Tone is a quality of color)

As a color modulates, lit by a direct or reflected light, it moves through one color to another across the form as you can see with this apple. Amateur painters tend to over-model and this can lead to an agitated or broken picture surface.

You must also remember that shadows will also have light and dark colors moving between warm and cool. I love to create these delicate variations by mixing complementaries.

The illusion of depth on the picture plane can be generated in two other ways

The first way is by the scale of the forms themselves and the other is by overlapping the objects.

The pears getting larger to smaller as they recede suggests depth in the picture and makes the eye automatically follow along the line defining shapes and tonal areas.

Overlapping tells the viewer which object is in front or behind one another.


New Free Pattern Blog

New Free Pattern Blog
Sharon Teal Coray has a new blog offering free patterns! Updated often! Check it out!