The brief for this exercise was to focus on creating an illusion of space to gain an understanding of linear perspective.
Based on my initial sketches I liked the potential of the drawing of the armchair. The chair sits in front of the doors that lead to the dining area and kitchen.
In the sketch I had cropped in on the chair but, on re-reading the brief, felt that this wouldn’t convey enough sense of space. I did a larger line drawing in A3 taking in more of the door and showing the dining area and, beyond that, the doors to the back garden.
As the brief was to work with a limited range of colours I chose burnt sienna, cadmium red, cadmium yellow and phthalocyanine blue as the main colours with ultramarine blue and titanium white used in smaller quantities to lighten or darken tones:
- Carpet – phthalocyanine blue and cadmium yellow
- Chair – as carpet but with more yellow to blue
- Doors – burnt sienna, cadmium red and cadmium yellow – adding ultramarine blue for darker tones
- Cushions – burnt sienna and cadmium red and cadmium yellow (for orange/red cushions) and burnt sienna, cadmium red and ultramarine blue (for purple cushion).
Brushes: Daler Rowney System 3 – Size 4 round, Daler Rowney System 3 – ½” short flat, Daler Rowney System 3 – ¾” long flat.
For the initial session I worked on a charcoal line drawing and then drew this in paint. I made a slight adjustment to the position of the footstool by moving it to the right as, having widened the scope of the picture, the right-hand side looked out of balance.
While I had researched linear perspective it was quite different trying to actually apply it to this exercise. In the end I started with the chair and the door on the left trying to make sure that I had the proportion, and relationship, of objects to one another correctly assigned. At this stage I felt that the drawing had gone well though it had taken me a bit of time.
I blocked in the colours having decided to use the acrylic as watercolour and apply thin washes of tranparent colour. Reviewing the painting at this stage I felt that the lines and angles in the dining area made the room look as if it was going uphill. Despite numerous adjustments I couldn’t get it to look right and the painting was starting to get messy. In the end I decided to paint out the right-hand side using white acrylic paint and start the drawing again.
Reworking of right-hand side
I reworked the right-hand side, checking and double-checking objects against one another. In this version you see less of the right-hand door and I wasn’t sure if this worked as well as my first drawing but, finally, I felt that the dining area looked less on an incline and started to block in colour.
Development of dining area
Having covered this area with white acrylic paint to rework it I now found that the paint that I added to this area was streaky and proving difficult to handle. I decided not to continue with the watercolour technique to see if the paint would cover the paper more consistently. This helped to a point though the paint was still a little streaky. In the end I managed to use this to advantage with the furniture as it gave a wood-effect.
As this was an exercise in showing depth and spatial relationships I wanted to focus on the structure and not be too detailed with other objects. I did add in patterns on some of the cushions.
In the background I blocked in the garden fence and left the space above as sky. In reality this is another building but, against the horizontals and verticals of the glass panes on the left-hand door, I felt that it was starting to look too busy and cluttered.
For the final session I concentrated on adding in the shadows on the carpet, cushions, chair and footstool.
I toyed with the idea of adding more detail to the glass panes as they are angled at the edges and show a lot of reflections. In the end I decided against it as this is an exercise on structure and it wasn’t going to add anything to that.
Overall the painting has worked out better that I thought it might do. It’s not great and, even having adjusted the right-hand side, there was a point where I wasn’t sure if I had corrected it or not. Adding shadows did help and I think that it does have a sense of depth – though I’m still not 100% about the perspective in the dining area or the frame of the right-hand door.
- I need practice in linear perspective and just an idea of how to tackle this type of painting – where do you start?
- Again, try to get initial drawing right – though, in this exercise, I did feel the drawing was okay to begin with. It was only as I progressed that some aspects seemed out of kilter.
- For a big re-work it might be better to start again as covering with acrylic paint created its own issues.