Virtual Art Academy

Using Brushwork To Create Atmospheric Perspective


Two types of brushwork in atmospheric perspective

After a most spectacular display of spring wildflowers in California, I spent a week camped out in the country trying to capture some of the color. It was important to create a sense of depth in the painting so I used both brushwork and atmospheric perspective to achieve this. I varied the size of the brushwork from the foreground to the far distance and put much more calligraphy in the foreground flowers. I cooled and grayed the colors as you move into the distance in the painting to give the feeling of atmosphere. Compare the brushwork in the near and far distance.

To learn more about atmospheric perspective, see my Guide to Atmospheric Perspective and the online painting classes: D08 Atmospheric Value Changes and D09 Atmospheric Hue Changes.

Close brushwork

  • large brushstrokes and impasto (thick) treatment. In watercolor you would not use the impasto technique but could add more texture to give a feeling of distance.
  • high level of detail
  • high saturation in the color

Far brushwork

  • smaller brushstrokes and thinner paint
  • low level of detail
  • low saturation in the color

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