Painting Without Perspective

 A Personal Perspective

Firstly to clarify things, I am blind in one eye and suffer with tonal opposite colour blindness. I say this merely to qualify my work rather than justify it. I don’t expect to be judged any different and have never used it as an excuse. A good drawing is always a good drawing and the not so good will always stand out.

 What this means is I do not have a traditional appreciation for perspective and see the world through totally different eyes. Colours constantly swap and are interchangeable and distance has a complete life of its own. I know when things are near or far, flat or round but I often have a different point of reference to those of you who are more visually aware.

Perspective Old Style

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 While I do not have a problem seeing things in three dimensions, I have, over time, learnt to love the methods our ancestors used to indicate space and distance. And it is these devices that I employ within my work to convey the three-dimensional quality of the world in which we live.

In old Germanic woodcut prints, the buildings are painted flat, two dimensionally on purpose and given shading to indicate direction. Size, as in traditional Byzantine iconographic paintings is used to convey i

 mportance and status. In my own works the more memorable attractions are larger than their surroundings, as the angels and bishops are in 12th century frescoes.

Mean Composition

Citta di Castello

I also like to use the rule of the Golden Mean in compositions; by dividing of space into thirds give compositions a balanced, natural and pleasing feel. The paintings are set out to meet this criteria, with the hills filling 2/3 of the central space, a third of the foot of the painting is left for some feature or other and there is normally 1/3 of sky at the top. Some of the works also play on the diagonals creating strong lines through the pictures or harmony by using repeated patters such as hill shapes etc to balance the composition.

Painting Theme

The idea within the current pieces was to get away from mindless attempts at recreating the world, especially when I rarely see it that way and to produce paintings which have a dreamlike quality, painting places as an edited version of reality. When we recall places of our childhood, we don’t remember all the details, just the important aspects, shapes, singular building or features in the landscape. Hills have a generic rolling feel and mountains are the childlike renditions we produced in our youth. The idea is to leave the viewer with an essence of the destination, its colours, shape and landmarks. After all, if you want a picture, take a camera.

Hopefully this explanation serves to make the allusions used in the pictures more obvious and therefore more interesting as a result. It’s not that I can’t draw a tree but its more fun finding ways not to draw one. I enjoy interpreting the landscape as it feels, as a semblance of the countryside’s of a more technically innocent time.

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One response to “Painting Without Perspective

  1. Thanks so much for this insight into your art, which I already love in the first place, but now understanding your approach makes it even more special.

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