Wednesday, 17 April 2013

No. 1 Ladies Painting Club

Yesterday I visited a friend's painting group.  I'll call them the No. 1 Ladies Painting Club to protect the innocent.  They asked me to do a primer on perspective.  It was a great refresher for me and I think they benefited also.  I covered the basic concepts and demonstrated 1 and 2 point perspectives.  The upper sheet was done while discussing 2 point perspectives.  As an exercise they drew the classroom we were in.  It was perfect as there was a tile ceiling and floor and the tables were set up in the centre which clearly displayed the concepts of convergence, diminution of size and foreshortening.  The lower sheet is my demonstration of those two views.

I pulled out the classic text "Architectural Graphics" by Frank Ching and brushed up on the main concepts.  I had taught myself how to do measured perspectives as a student and did many large hard-line presentation drawings of proposed buildings, bridges and their landscapes in the early years of my career.  Now of course, with computer drafting programs, the detailed mechanics are unnecessary.

What I realized in preparing for the visit, is that even to draw a real urban scene, an understanding of the laws of perspective is extremely helpful. I call them laws, as they are as clear and relentless as gravity.  Fairly simple once explained, but very frustrating to figure out on one's own.  After all, it took artists and architects several hundred years to fully understand how to construct the perception of three dimensions on a flat plane.

It also served as a good reminder to lay in those imaginary rays to the vanishing points to structure my own drawings.  One of my "Groundhog Day" pitfalls.


  1. It's great to do those reviews, isn't it John? And aren't you glad we got to meet Frank Ching??

    1. I really enjoy any contact around sketching. It's always invigorating. Yes, it was a real treat to meet Frank Ching last summer at the USk symposium. A very unassuming and warm guy. He asked me what kind of pen I used. I showed him my Lamy, and he said, "There are a lot of good lines in that pen".

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