I will be participating in a bazaar at St. Margaret’s Church this Saturday, and I decided to paint a picture of the church. As I looked at my reference photo, I noticed a lot of distortion from the camera lens. So I got out my ruler, string and tape, and worked to put the building back into perspective, an artist’s lesson in geometry.
My first step was to determine the horizon line (orange horizontal line). All the vertical lines (yellow) are perpendicular to this, for which I use the square on my ruler. To make the building sit properly and look like the builders knew what they were doing, I determined the vanishing points, one on each side and located on the horizon line. The left vanishing point is close to the door on the left hand side. The vanishing point on the right side of the picture is outside of the picture, at the edge of my work table. I tape a string to each vanishing point, and use the string to determine the slant of the lines that will appear parallel in the building. I have drawn the lines to the left hand vanishing point in green and to the right hand vanishing point in blue.
Now that the outline is done, I can trace it onto my watercolor paper and begin painting. One advantage of having a drawing like this is that I can trace the building multiple times, perhaps once for each season….