View Full Version : Haciendia Gate

01-18-2002, 05:17 PM

Title: Haciendia Gate
Year Created: 2002
Medium: Oil
Surface: Canvas
Dimension: 12x16
Allow digital alterations?: Yes!

Help I've been painting for a year and I'm having problems obtaining depth.

how do I create more depth?

01-18-2002, 05:57 PM
To answer your question - how to create more depth...

A painting is in 2 dimensions so depth is an illusion. First must look as they would being in their position closer or further away from the viewer:

- Things closer to us are more defined, harder edges, have more detail, more contrast, stronger color.
- Things further away have softer edges, less, detail, are more gray (less saturated color), and (outdoors) are more blue in hue.

This is not enough in most cases, as it can be very difficult to tell what is infront of another object. The most basic rules here are

- make things overlap
- use cast shadows
- show reflected light - i.e. light shinging on an object will reflect and thus send of light rays in the color of the object
- repeat a structure at various depth; the relative sizes will indicate depth
- establish a foreground, mid ground and distance - and if possible have even more planes.

I have attached an edited image where I used some of these rules. I overdid some of the effects to make them show clearly.

01-18-2002, 07:00 PM
Hi,:) yes I agree with Henrik about overlapping objects to create depth. Generally dark to light or light to dark in tone also helps. Having a gradation in texture can also help.

That doesn't mean that if you have bright colours in the foreground that you cant have bright colours in the background it just means that that the predominance of the brightness needs to be in the area that is meant to be bright. mjk:)

01-19-2002, 01:35 AM
I totally agree with Henrik but what was eating me was the original layout.
He is so much better at the basics of composition than I am but looking at it what struck me was the static quality of using so many horizontals and vertical lines.
Most of what I did with my editor was try to take Henrik's picture and skew it so I could get the sense of some of those very straight lines receeding.
The final composition has been pulled up and down on the right and pushed in on the left.
When I compared to the original, I lost the sense of peace you had, but repositioned and cut and glued in elements of your original.
MY technique uses a lot more lost and found details. Your elegant and thoughtfull rendering of such things as the house in the trees does get lost in mine and my overall composition is really not very strong, but I just wanted to see if you see how those diagonals, even if subtly used, can help push the image into the page.
Perhaps Henrik can take THIS and correct it to show how to strengthen the final composition.
I hope I did not so thoroughly alter this that the attempt was lost.
It is not an amendment of that picture, but more an illustration of how to begin another keeping in mind the use of more diagonals for the sense of perspective.


(I am sweating in this new format. I hope you find it useful!)

01-19-2002, 06:11 AM
dj* !
Good suggestions.

01-19-2002, 07:11 AM
One thing I notice-- the bright red tree/bush on the left attracts the eye, but confuses me because I can't tell if it is on the same plane with the foreground cactus, or behind it-- overlapping the two, even slightly, would solve that problem. Also, the cactus casts a shadow, which henrik has softened the edges on, but the red tree should also cast a shadow-- but further back and less distinct and lighter than the cactus shadow, since it is taller and further from the surface on which the shadow is cast.

01-19-2002, 10:20 AM
Walden, it may be a thing out here in the hotter climes where the cactus grow, but the red tree is definately bougonvilla (which may not be definately spelled right) which is not a tree but a vine and it is attached to the arch. It would not cast a shadow because it is plastered on the adobe.
Which makes for problem:
The green in the foreground in the cactus is a cooler color and the hot red warmer. Because of the natural tendency of warm to advance and cool to receed, it is more important, as henrik said, to strengthen the details and contrasts in the foreground and keep less emphasis on the farther objects. Pure bright high chroma greens (prickly pear often turn pink and red as well.... an idea) in the cactus with more grayed, or more subtle value changes in the reds to make the flowers less forceful

01-19-2002, 11:01 AM
Oh! I see now. Maybe some tendrils out to the right, and going up and back, clearly on the arch would help. And, your suggestions are good too.

01-19-2002, 07:36 PM
Yes the red bush is a bogenvilla . A profusly flowering vine in the West, I do miss their color. Thank you all so much I will print this and go back to work.


01-19-2002, 08:19 PM
Yes, I had problems with the bogenvilla when editing - it was floating in the original, and I don't think I managed to stop if from floating - at first I was a bit confused by which direction the light was coming from - I managed to miss the cast shadow from the catctus - duh... I looked to much on the shadow on the door and the light on top of the wall (looks like light is coming from the right). So, I made the shadows fall in the wrong direction first, then when editing, I did not place them well on the bogenvilla - it is still floating.
Good suggestion to make the cactus overlap the bogenvilla.