Part 3, Project 4, Exercise 3 Aerial or atmospheric perspective



ariel view2060
Bedroom Window Tonal Sketch


This exercise is about tonal gradation and how the horizon becomes lighter and less detailed. I had to use  media such as charcoal, soft graphite, conte sticks, soft chalky pastel oil sticks and ink. I used all but the oil sticks.

First I wast to establish the horizon and then plot the basic forms of objects in the landscape, analyse the gradation of tone and if I wanted I could use monochrome to create atmosphere and tone.

I had a day at a nature reserve and thought it would be a good place to draw. Unfortunately things dont always go as planned. It snowed the day before and although clear the next day it was bitter. Undeterred I still went thinking there had to be something I could draw. Reality was, the weather was bitter and higher ground was  not accessible. It made drawing almost impossible. The first sketch I did was of the buildings which at various angles and surrounded by reeds didnt really look good when roughly sketched, which I did in my small sketchbook. I used charcoal for this but due to the situation I found it didnt suit the subject plus I wasn’t high enough up to sketch any distance.

building063 uni

I moved my place and managed to get a little higher this time setting about a quick sketch in conte sticks. This worked a little better but the area hadn’t enough of interest to work without full colour,  it was so cold I couldn’t stand it especially as I was ill, so I packed up my things and moved to a hide.

reserve uni 2


The hide gave me some protection  but I had no height and it was an expanse of flat mud banks and water. There were only two birds in the distance and nothing again between foreground and horizon to suit the remit. This was done in graphite, I applied the pen and wash when I returned home.

reserve uni


None of my quick sketches gave me inspiration, a little disappointed I returned home.

The next day I decided to draw an aerial  view from the window of one of the bedrooms,  I was able to sit quietly and concentrate on perspective and tone. After having attempted quick sketches the day before I could see this views content was more suited to the exercise, so I decided to work in my A4 sketchbook, but draw in pencil first. I had to have several attempts at the perspective before I felt confident enough to fill with tone. The village is an old one and many houses built in stone so I wanted to give an aged look. I love the drawings and paintings in minimal colour like this one by Harold Riley  especially this one of Peter Rubens and some of the old pastel drawings.  I chose three shades of pastel and charcoal. I loved the affect and felt the tonal gradation worked well but I still have a long way to go with perspective, I find I get bogged down with angles and forget the drawing.

I liked this exercise and found it challenging. I have learned just because things look good by eye they don’t always make a good picture. Plus getting bogged down in perspective can stop you seeing the picture as a whole. Another thing  I learnt was to put in the vertical lines first, as this helps get the perspective correct. I made a mistake of not doing that with the conservatory and made a mess and had to redo it.


roof shot
A difficult picture to get





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