Three Ways to Create Depth in a Painting

There are three ways to create depth in a painting.

1. Linear Perspective
2. Aerial Perspective
3. Separation of Planes

Linear perspective is the use of intersecting lines drawn vertically and horizontally that radiate from one point (one-point perstpective, two points (two-point perspective)  or several points on a horizon line from a viewers  position. These lines create three dimensional space and depth on a two-dimensional surface.

Aerial perspective or atmospheric perspective is the effect the atmosphere has on the appearance of an object as it is viewed from a distance.  As the distance increases between the foreground and the background, the distance becomes cooler in temperature, less contrast between light and dark and less saturated in color (grayer). The colors in the foreground are warmer, more contrast and more saturated in color.

birds of a feather

© 2013 Becky Joy    Birds of a Feather    oil     16 x 20 inches

Separation of planes is the overlapping of shapes and their relationship to each other. They will become progressively smaller as they recede. If you overlap shapes instead of placing them side-by-side, you will automatically see depth.


I’m still painting at the Celebration of Fine Art. If you are Scottsdale this spring, stop by to see the show and me. It is fantastic!

I have a new workshop scheduled in Troy, OH for 3 days, Aug 15, 16, 17. For more info click here.

One more thing! I was featured on the Outdoor Painter email newsletter for the Plein Air Convention that I will demo for in April!

Becky Joy

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