Depth Of Field

The human eye, like the camera, has a limited depth of field. In other words we focus on one level and the objects in front or behind are often blurred. When Deigo Velazquez painted Las Meninas he, along with many artists (pre-photography), painted everything in focus. This was part of the magic of painting as the viewers perception was thereby expanded - rather like a hologram. Today wide angle lens may produce something similar but unless you intend to spend hours in a darkroom it is an all or nothing solution.

There are good lessons to be learned here and this painting by Deigo Velazquez will serve us well as it has a defined foreground, middle ground and background. Let's experiment then ...

Depth Field Fairy Lights

First I will separate the fore, middle and back grounds then utilise three focal depths and observe the results. The essential question I ask is one of choice - what do you like most?

Fore Gore Middle Ground Background

Ahh... you say - and why not! But don't you find the blurring unsettling? The artist would have.

This particular painting is huge and designed as a feast or as a complete visual experience. I am merely toying with the work and I hereby apologise to the master for doing so. Today we may find no magic in multi-focused paintings but the lessons in design and emphasis are worth considering. The example in the abstract lesson is essentially a similar manipulation. Note: the artist painted so well that the dwarfed figure in the foreground has recently been diagnosed as a victim of congenital syphilis.

STUDENT ACTIVITY: There is a painting to be made by focusing on the girl directly behind the dog as her head and body in this composition is located on a diagonal and in a premier design position. Find a copy of this painting and try it (see lesson on design and proportion for hints).

Canvas Painting For Beginners

Canvas Painting For Beginners

Become the artist you want to be Canvas Painting for the Beginner. Have you always wanted to paint but did not know the first thing about it? Have you sketched thousands of pictures in your sketch book and wanted to put them on canvas? Now you can with the help of this book. We teach you everything to get you started in the wonderful world of fine arts. You can learn to express yourself with color.

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