Posted by: Laura Pierce | April 2, 2020

Creating Depth in Landscapes

Mt.Rainier August 2000 photographed by Laura Pierce

To create depth or perspective in a painting or rug, there are several things that cue your eyes and brain to see depth. In this photo of Mt.Rainier, the red flowers in the front are as big as the flag flying in the distance. we know the flag is bigger than the flowers… so our brain knows that the flag is farther back.  The mountain behind is HUGE… but shorter than the flag pole? No, but mountains seem shorter the further away they are, because the earth is curved.

Rock Pillars at Zion September 2004 photographed by Laura Pierce
A lovely visit to Zion; the cliffs are beautifully carved by the Virgin River. This landscape shows the depth by the colour; the trees and stone pillars in front are detailed and vividly coloured, as the pillars behind are more dull in colour and the pillars way behind are pastel. This indicates distance between the stone pillars and our brain knows. Fog or smog can create this softening of colours too.
Mexican Sage at Sundawg Vineyards October 2004 photographed by Laura Pierce

A glorious spray of Mexican Sage competes with the glorious yellow vineyard. Colour also plays a part in creating depth; warm colours advance or come forward, cool colours recede or fall back. Also, light or bright colours advance and dark or dull colours recede. The sage is up front and detailed, while the vineyard is behind and indistinct, but that warm colour of the vineyard grabs your attention and keeps your eyes moving back and forth… never a dull moment!

Nicasio Curve 2019 photographed by Laura Pierce

Another cue is a Vanishing Line; think railroad tracks disappearing into the horizon. Here the curving road leads you into the scene. From there you are lead to look at the cows all pointing to the church, while the hills roll and the sky wisps!

Golden Gate Bridge from Greens Spring 2003 photographed by Laura Pierce

Here the windows lead us into the view outside. The window also frames our view and is quite detailed and vivid. The boats get smaller as they are farther away and Mt.Tamalpias is a very pastel blue in the distance.

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