Look at these images.
It feels as if you could walk into these pictures, and keep walking, or even fly, if you were a bird. There is such a sense of open, distant space in some of them.
How do artists create the illusion of space on a flat surface? Here we will explore aerial perspective.
Go outside into the school grounds, or to a place where you can see far into the distance. Can you see where the horizon line divides the land from the sky? Name the objects you can see.
Look down at the ground near your feet. Describe the details, colours and textures you see there.
Then look at a point as far away as possible. What can you see in the distance? How big is that object? Show the size of a distant object by using your fingers to “measure” it. It appears possible to “hold” even a huge tree or building or mountain between your finger and thumb, if it is far away! Compare that, with your fingers, to the size of quite a small object nearby.
Describe the colours of the things in the distance. Look at the colour of the sky and how it changes, from directly above your head to the horizon. See how the light falls onto different objects. Notice the colour and shape of shadows.
We call this aerial perspective: the air, or atmosphere, causes distant objects (with more air between them and ourselves) to look less distinct, less clear, and sometimes “cooler” in colour – usually more blue.
How have these artists created this sense of great space?
Objects become smaller as they get further away from the viewer.
If one object is in front of another, it will partially overlap or hide what is behind it.
Fine detail, for example, surface texture, becomes less detailed and more generalised as it moves further way from the viewer.
Objects on the edge of the picture are cut off, suggesting that the scene extends beyond the edge of the picture.
The drawing marks themselves get smaller as they depict more distant parts of the scene.
Do you have any more ideas about how artists create the illusion of space?