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Old 10-26-2002, 07:23 PM   #1
Enzie Shahmiri Enzie Shahmiri is offline
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Does the background recede far enough?




In my painting the viewer could be considered standing very close to the fruit vendor. I need to know when spacial depth is limited, how do you recede the background? Also is there some sort of rule in creating spacial atmosphere?
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Old 10-27-2002, 03:16 AM   #2
Michael Georges Michael Georges is offline
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Enzie:

It is very late here, but in brief:

The principles of atmospheric perspective can be very helpful in creating depth in your paintings.

They generally dictate that "light objects in recession become darker and grayer" and "dark objects in recession become lighter and grayer".

So, snow on a distant mountain peak is never quite white, and mountains as they recede get lighter and grayer. So, your values closer to the viewer should be stronger and as you recede, lighten your darks and darken your lights and raise the overall values as objects recede and it should appear to have more depth. BTW: It is certainly clear that dark objects go through more value transition than light objects do. So darken your lights just a very little bit, but the effect will be dramatic.

There is no pat formula for this, so you will have to play a little and make your own determinations.

Hope that helps.
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Old 10-27-2002, 11:18 AM   #3
Enzie Shahmiri Enzie Shahmiri is offline
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Michael G.,

Thank you so much for your reply. Last night I went searching through my books and found a reference on how to create a haze to tone down the background. The suggestion was to mix black, white and Pthalo Blue. If I were to mix these three colors into a dark gray/blue tone with the addition of liquin and apply it from right to left (over the two furthest away pumpkins, and only partially over the LF side of the onion bag), would that be the correct way and far enough into the painting?

I tried toning it down once and had to repaint the onions. That was no fun and now I am hesitant to experiment for fear of failure.

I will print out your suggestion and save it for reference. Thank you again.
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Old 10-27-2002, 12:07 PM   #4
Michael Georges Michael Georges is offline
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3D in 2D

Enzie:

You can apply atmospheric perspective in a number of ways using almost any paint as long as generally objects that recede get either darker or lighter based on their initial value, and things get grayer.

I think what may be bothering you is the intensity of the objects in your background. Their bright hues and rich intensity seems to make them come forward too much, yes? I don't know if you want to go to the efforts to address this in this painting, or just apply it to your future works.

You can even apply this in portraiture with a figure up close. If you paint say a gentleman in a 3/4 view in a dark suit, then you would have one shoulder closer to the view than the other. If you made the farther shoulder just 1/2 a value lighter and added just a touch of gray into the paint of that shoulder, then it will appear to recede more than the closer shoulder. You could even do this with the pupils of the eyes.

This same technique is used in painting rounded objects. As the form turns, the value changes and as it nears the edge, it gets slightly grayer. It will help things turn more realistically.
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Old 10-30-2002, 11:08 PM   #5
Karin Wells Karin Wells is offline
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Basically the cool color of blue recedes objects. And the warm color of yellow brings them forward. If you look at a landscape, the color yellow can only appear in the foreground. The yellow will be less intense in the middleground and disappear altogether in the distant background. (i.e., you can see bright green grass at your feet, but it appears blue in the distance).

You can recede your background in many different ways and here are some:

Glaze warmth into the foreground (raw umber, raw sienna, etc.) so that the background is cooler by comparison.

Or glaze cooler color (i.e., French ultramarine blue, etc.) into the background.

Scumbling a lighter color over an object in the background will make it appear cooler.

You can neutralize the bright colors in the background by glazing them with their color wheel opposite. (i.e., glaze orange with blue, glaze red with green, etc.) This will "grey" the colors down and make them appear to recede.
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Old 10-31-2002, 09:43 AM   #6
Peggy Baumgaertner Peggy Baumgaertner is offline
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I use my palette as a toolbox, wherein I have a color available for every need. Do I need a warm middle value orange? There's English Red. Do I need a cool mid value yellow? There's gold ochre. A cool dark transparent green? Viridian. A warm dark transparent green? Sap. Which brings me to the crux of this post. Yellows are not all warm, and blues are not all cool.

Cadmium yellow is a warm yellow, and yellow ochre and gold ochre are cool yellows. The biggest problem arises with blues. All blues are warm. Some are warmer than others, but I found it necessary to add ivory black to my palette as my only cool blue. This, I propose, is the solution to the "blue suit" problem. If you go into a blue suit by using any of the blues, you are off the chart into warm territory, but if you are under the impression the all blues are cool, you are miles away from solving the problem, you need to cool down those warm blues.

This can be achieved by cooling with your true "cools," alizarin crimson, dioxazine purple, or ivory black. This is why the suggested solution of Phthalo, black, and white would work, because you are cooling down the pthalo blue. But be careful. Phthalo is very very warm. If in this formula, there is too much phthalo, you will only succeed in exacerbating the problem.

Michael's answer is on point, it just needs to be expanded a little. As well as things "going away" (atmosphere) moving towards the middle value, (darks lighter, lights darker and colors becoming more muted/grayer), the edges become softer, and the highlights are a darker value as well. In the time honored tradition, squint. Those onions will mass out into a form, not individual onions. The eggplants in particular are too detailed, too much contrast on the 'highlights." Mass them together, knock them down. I suggest to my students whose backgrounds are too "there" to make a wash with turp and a little burnt umber and dioxazine purple. (Remember that burnt umber is used for gray in the limited palette painting, and ivory black and white are used as your blue). It's more controllable than using Liquin; you just wipe out the wash until it looks right. You can even wipe all the way back to the original painting without incident (if the paint is dry underneath).

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Old 10-31-2002, 10:18 AM   #7
Karin Wells Karin Wells is offline
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Oops!

Quote:
Yellows are not all warm, and blues are not all cool.
Thanks for pointing this out Peggy. I was in a very narrow groove here and thinking only in terms of my own palette (listed elsewhere) in which I have assembled both "warm" and "cool" versions of each color.

For example, by comparison with Prussian blue, ultramarine is "cool." Compared to the blue made by mixing Ivory Black + white, ultramarine blue is then "warm." The same comparisons go for reds, yellows, etc.

In other words, I find that any color is relative to those colors surrounding it and this placement will determine its temperature.

"Warm" and "cool" are relative terms and a concept, which I personally find to be useful when I am manipulating paint.
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Old 10-31-2002, 10:46 AM   #8
Marvin Mattelson Marvin Mattelson is offline
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Back, back, back....home run!

All effects can be achieved by studying nature. Your hero, Gerome, was a master at making things go back into atmosphere. The greatest artists translate the effects they observe in nature to create the results they seek. The same mindset can be used to make an ear go back or a mountain go back.

What makes things come forward, in the order importance:

1- Contrast (from full hi-lites to dark accent)

2- Chroma (pureness or intensity of color)

3- Sharpness

4- Color differentiation

Van Dyke did an incredible portrait of a pale skinned women in a white dress with black trim, standing in front of vibrant red and orange drapery. The figure came forward due to her great contrast. The background receded because the values were relatively close.

Conversely to make things go back you employ:

1- Close values (loose accents, then highlights etc.)

2- Neutrality

3- Softness (al the way to blurs)

4- Color similarities

These effects can be used alone or in concert, whatever works.

Note: all things being equal red will come forward and blue will recede. But why make all things equal?

Gerome used these techniques (study what he does, dissect his approach) to create greatly exaggerated atmosphere in small expanses of space. Look at how he makes figures in crowds go back when in reality they are 2 feet apart or less. The general rule is that all values merge into the value and color of the atmosphere. Indoors at night, the atmosphere may get warmer and darker. Outdoors on a sunny day the atmosphere becomes bluer and more neutral.

Remember: the greatest tool at the disposal of the artist is neither brush nor paint, it is the brain.
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Old 10-31-2002, 01:01 PM   #9
Enzie Shahmiri Enzie Shahmiri is offline
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Karin, Peggy and Marvin, I spent all day yesterday painting my studio and moving around furniture. How great was my surprise to find your wonderfully detailed advise this morning. I have already taken Michael G
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Old 11-04-2002, 11:50 AM   #10
Timothy C. Tyler Timothy C. Tyler is offline
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Marvin's

I think Marvin's thoughts were most useful to your question because you are not really dealing with aerial perspective so much as slight depth of field. I think of Schmid and Dean Cromwell-both use (or used) line and design to help create depth as much as intensity etc. I feel some carefull softening of lines where those intersect your figure will help you greatly. Sacrifice everything for the figure.
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