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Readers Respond: Do You Love or Hate Perspective?

Responses: 12


From the article: Perspective in Paintings
Do you love perspective, or do you hate it? Is it something that comes easily to you, or do you struggle with it? What do you think is the most important thing to remember when learning perspective? What do you wish you'd discovered earlier? Do you have a favorite shortcut or trick? Share your views on perspective, good or bad, here.

Depends on Your Perspective

I've a neutral feel about perspective. It didn't come intuitively, but once explained I enjoyed playing with it as a little puzzle for fun. Knowing it, broadened my abilities, and created fun where I can see "errors" in Old Master works. These "errors," however I read as poetry like in Van Gogh's room painting. It's tidy, yet the perspective changes in each item. I don't know if he knew how or not, but if he'd used proper perspective, I feel it would have distracted from the work's sense of uncontrollablity, as if of life. It's kinetic in a way I think couldn't have been achieved with "proper" perspective. For this reason, I think it's good to know, but not always good to use. It's a great tool to have, but as knives are to peas, it isn't always appropriate.


A very good read, short and to the point with a bit of history. Thanks for as always for making subjects easy to follow.
—Guest behzad


I love perspective. It's like a cosmic mystery, or math. I don't understand it always, but have a warm, fuzzy feeling when I get it right.
—Guest Robin Smith

The Horizon Line

You make a good point when you talk about the horizon line, it's very easy to mix up and forget that it's all about eye line.
—Guest Steve Jones

Views on Perspective

I love solving perspectives by the clock method or by using a pencil or a foot rule as horizon line. Third method is to draw what I see.

Don't Make it Hard

Mention the name perspective to some and they immediately freeze. Take the time to study the basics of perspective and then translate them to angles that are evident in the scene/subject you are painting. Use a measuring stick and view finder as aids. Think of the angles as lying on a grid and duplicate them on the gird you have on the canvas. Do same size sight drawing to move the angles and lines to the canvas. To sum it up, there are a few ways other than technical drawing with a t-square and triangle to draw/paint the angles and forms.

Ahhh Perspective

I love perspective....It allows us to take 3 dimensional objects and create them on 2 dimensional surfaces. Using it we can create the illusion of depth and distance.

Perspective is a Tool

To paraphrase Humpty Dumpty it is a question of who is to be master. It is a tool in your toolbox. Even in representational painting, there are non-Western traditions such as Persian miniatures and Japanese woodcuts to name a couple, where parallel lines can run parallel and do not approach each other. And in icons in the Orthodox churches the traditional icons sometimes use reverse perspective where, say a table is wider at the FAR end. Approaches like these tend to emphasize the surface and deemphasize deep space, and may actually be a better choice for works that emphasize ornamented or highly colored surfaces. Personally, I have a "sick" relationship with perspective as I want to dominate it and make it serve my purposes. This is especially useful in cases where I want to emphasize abstract qualities and not introduce a third dimension that distracts from the qualities of the painting as a physical surface.

Change the Perspective

I have to remind myself to change the perspective in my paintings. The eye is always viewing from a slightly elevated angle, directly at the scene. Seldom have I employed the birds or worms' eye view, and seldom do I allow objects in the foreground to obscure the details in the mid and background. So I need to do a number of varying perspectives of the same scene. Practice perfects.


I hate it, although the "clock" idea seems to help some. I have bought several books on perspective, listened to others teach on it, but I still struggle with it every time I paint!

Jakarta building

On the old building the perspective point was off the reference photograph, so I pasted a page of blank paper to the side of the photo and drew the perspective lines to an intersection point. Then I clamped a second canvas to the side of the intended painting and located the vanishing point on it in order to draw in the building lines correctly.

See It as a Clock

Visualizing the angles of objects as the hour-hand on a clock really works for me. For instance, a vanishing line is coming up to the horizon line at "four o'clock", or down at "one o'clock". It's then easy to 'see' the angle when I draw the line on my paper/canvas.
—Marion BE

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