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Aerial Perspective

Aerial Perspective is the gradual fading of color and tone that we see in the distant landscape. Our step by step painting lessons demonstrate how to create this effect to suggest the illusion of distance in your landscape paintings.

Aerial Perspective Lesson 1

Aerial Perspective Lesson 1

Aerial Perspective Lesson 2

Aerial Perspective Lesson 2

Aerial Perspective, which is also called Atmospheric Perspective, is the result of atmospheric haze. It creates that gradual filtering of tone and color that we see in the distant landscape. Since the early 15th century, artists have used this atmospheric effect, in conjunction with linear perspective, to replicate the illusion of of depth and distance in landscape painting.

 

There are four key elements that are used to create the illusion of aerial perspective:

  • The size of objects become smaller the further they are from the viewer.

  • The details of objects decrease the further they are from the viewer.

  • The tones of objects weaken the further they are from the viewer.

  • The colors of objects begin to fade the further they are from the viewer.

 

In these lessons we demonstrate the effect of aerial perspective in two contrasting paintings:

Aerial Perspective Lesson 1 - The Natural Landscape

aerial-perspective-trees-night
aerial-perspective-trees-morning
 

Drag the arrows across our pastoral landscape to see how different color scales can change the mood from a misty morning to a moonlit night

This is a simple painting lesson that demonstrates the visual impact of aerial perspective on a pastoral landscape.

  • Students learn how to build up a painting in layers, using the graduating tones and colors of aerial perspective to convey the illusion of depth and distance in the landscape.

In preparation for the painting we suggest that you should:

Aerial Perspective Lesson 2 - The Urban Landscape

aerial-perspective-city-sunset
aerial-perspective-sunrise
 

Drag the arrows across our cityscape to see how different color scales can change the mood of our scene from dawn to dusk.

This painting lesson demonstrates the atmospheric qualities of aerial perspective on the urban landscape.

  • Students learn how to build up a painting of the city in layers, using graduating tones and colors to lead our eye from the local rooftops to the distant horizon.

In preparation for the painting we suggest that you should: