Perspective: The One-Point Fix

Posted by on May 28, 2014 in Perspective | No Comments
Perspective: The One-Point Fix

A friend who was having trouble sent me a painting to see if I couldn’t lend an eye as to where things were getting away from her.


Jason, thx so much for having a look and telling me what’s wrong. Probably a simple fix which Ucello got right 600 yrs ago. This is oil on canvas, 20×30″.



Hi Pam,

You’ve got a pretty simple problem here (hooray!).  You’ve got a one-point perspective drawing, where things that should be pointing at the same VP aren’t.  The objects I’ve marked with the orange lines come close enough (except maybe that leftmost step), it’s the wall on the right that’s giving you real trouble.  The slats are pointing a number of different directions, and implying a VP that’s lower, and waaaaaaaay off to the left.


In the second pic, I’ve placed a red horizon (eye level) line at what seems a pretty good level for the tub and the figures, and pulled green receding lines to a single VP.


Remember that the slats can be kept even just by measuring them with a ruler held vertically.

The second, and more important thing to keep in mind that the horizon is your eye level.  If it’s above the red line, you’re looking up at it, if it’s below, you’re looking down at it.  So your closest bather, we’re looking down at her.  Either we should be seeing the top of her head somewhat, or her head is looking up at the camera.  In which case, try to reflect that in her pose, esp. the relationship between her head and the shoulder girdle, and how the neck makes the transition between the two.

Likewise, in the back, we’re looking up at those women’s heads and shoulders.


wow, Jason, are you fast!

thank you ever so much for your feedback and identification of the problem areas.

I remember that you taught a lot of this basic stuff in the one seminar of yours I got to come to, but I only know about the perspective stuff from some simple examples, eg, Ucello, those grates that some of the 17th century painters used and a little intuition, but am in perspective kindergarten! Already forgot about the horizon line thing.



And here’s Pam’s revisions on the piece:



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