Perspective in Landscape Drawing – Little Bay NSW 2036

July 22, 2013

Little Bay is a relatively little-known beach in Sydney’s eastern suburbs. It received international notoriety when in 1969, Christo came and  “wrapped” it.

Inspired less by Christo and by more by the fact that I’ve done so few “pure” landscape sketches, here’s one I did last month:

little bay cliffs 1

A fortnight later, I was back on a stormy morning:


A thoroughly Turner moment, I felt like I was tied to the mast of a ship!


little bay cliffs 2little bay cliffs 2a

Milini 150gsm A4 sketchbook, double-page spread

Some time later, I started some of the formal aspects of Landscape Drawing, using an Albertian veil and closer attention to accurate measurement. Like the previous sketch, this was done barely an hour after 7am dawn, but this one was characterised by a rapidly disappearing morning mist/fog and a strong onshore swell giving rise to waves.

little bay cliffs 3

Time now for some hyperfocus sketching of the tree, which will mean getting close to them and distinguishing one from the other. 8am is too early in the morning to make much sense of the cliffs and only later in the day will I be able to differentiate them more clearly.

Issues with this sketch:

  • trees assert foreground, but the foreground plane isn’t reinforced sufficiently (e.g. compared to the mid-ground of the sea behind it);
  • there’s too much silhouetting of the cliffs – the line needs to confirm the tone, not dominate it;
  • try exaggerating the pictorial space slightly by using different grade pencils (softest/darkest for foreground and hardest/faintest for background). Do a sketch which really exaggerates the distance from viewer to far distant cliffs, then do a second one “pulling it back” if necessary. An important part of the artist’s job is to convey distance (distinguishing clearly and obviously between foreground, mid-ground and background), even if to the viewer on location most of the subject matter of interest (here the cliffs) is in the mid-ground.

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