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Friday, December 8, 2017


I finished another painting.  Woo hoo!  This one went faster than the last, though it still took considerably longer than it feels like it should.  Maybe it would go quicker if I didn't spend hours staring at it and pondering?  Whatever.  It is what it is, and the process was the point in this case.

I wanted a beer bottle in my box, but didn't want it to dominate.  I knew it should stand in the corner, but that involved perspective and foreshortening, and I really didn't want to get into that.  I spent a few days procrastinating, avoiding, and plea bargaining with myself.  Eventually, the beer bottle ended up where it was always meant to be.

It's been a while since I actually had to map out such things correctly, and the process made me think that it was a good tutorial, especially since this piece is comparatively simple perspective with only one vanishing point.  I'm also aware some people have nightmares about perspective.  (Yeah, I know, that's a stretch for this week's word.)  You can click on the pics to make them larger to see details.

1. Establish the vanishing point by following the corners of the box until all the lines meet.  (I changed the vanishing point later, so don't get confused by that.  I also broke the rules in one area for my own reasons, but that's why we get artistic license.)

2. In one-point perspective, all vertical lines (things that move away from the viewer) will go to the vanishing point.  All things facing the viewer will be flat circles and rectangles.

3. For the beer bottle, draw a circle where it will sit, then draw a square around the circle because it's easier to plot squares in perspective than circles.  Draw lines from the vanishing point to the corners of the square.

4. Draw another square where the bottle is fattest near the top.  Line up the corners of the square with the same vanishing points as used for the first square.  Put a circle in the square, and draw lines from the vanishing point to the edges of the circles.  Congratulations!  You've just drawn a cylinder in space!

5. The process is the same for the bottle neck.  Find the center of your first circle and draw a line to the vanishing point.  This will be the center of your neck too.  Of course, beer bottles aren't quite as simple as 2 cylinders floating in space.  They're full of curves, but after placing the cylinders you can tidy it up within a framework of logic.

In reality, I made this all harder than it needed to be when I was actually painting the bottle.  I made the tutorial afterwards and could smack myself for all extra work I put into it.  But, my extra work is an opportunity for a lesson.  Don't get caught up with the details.  What is the basic form of what you're trying to reproduce?  Start there.  It's like drawing a face.  Don't start with an eyelash.  Start with an oval and figure out where the eyes go first.  Maybe I should do a tutorial on faces sometime?  This painting was a whole lot of itsy bitsy portraits on bumpy canvas.  The finished painting is 18" x 24".


  1. Wow Linda, such a cool painting and I loved your art lesson..brilliant! Have a great weekend xxx

  2. Thanks Jane. I hope you have a great weekend too!

  3. At first glance of your painting, I thought, "Wow, what a good exercise in perspective" - and then it followed, complete with tutorial :D

  4. Really like this Linda, lots of lovely detail.

  5. I know the principle of perspective and vanishing points, but I still admire the work you have done here. It's a beautiful painting. One can really get lost in all the details in the box.

  6. Wow, Linda, fantastic detail all around! You are so disciplined and a phenomenal artist. I've been drawing something with perspective, but was abysmally lazy so made liberal use of artistic license. :) I bow down to you!

    1. Aw thanks Bella! I'll admit that I started lazy on this piece, but I couldn't get away with approximations and had to do things right. Once I started doing things right I enjoyed it.

  7. Perspective as a nightmare sounds perfect to me! Your painting is very engaging and skillful. Bravissimo!