I chose to do this indoors as I wanted to try to understand the theory (which I thought would work better with books) before I ventured out into the real world and faced the randomness of visual reality. Streets that curve, buildings not true and buildings built on undulating surfaces.
It’s easier to move a book than a building.
Also with books I can arrange them in a way that tests my understanding rather than having to find real viewpoints.
The downside is that my books were all underneath my eye line whereas buildings would be above and below. But as the principle is the same above and below the eye line decided I could live with that.
What I learnt:
What struck me (after working on this for an hour) was that it was the same as parallel perspective in that it unified multiple fields of vision into a single, consistent, viewpoint… which is how our brain works. We may stitch multiple viewpoints together to give us a mental ‘image’ of our surroundings but we can only see a single, narrow, field of vision at anyone one time. We are a bit like a movie camera taking many individual shots (our field of vision) and then stitching them together to give us a visual awareness of our surroundings.
But we ever only see one viewpoint at a time, so any picture that has multiple viewpoints will look unreal.
If I have an object in parallel perspective and turn it, it then has angular perspective.
What hasn’t changed is my eye line!
So, it’s really important to get the eye line right… which is the height of your eyes when you’re looking horizontally.
Then, whether it’s parallel or angular you can plot the perspective.
In drawing this I noticed I was quite accurate in the small books inside my field of vision… but progressively less accurate as the objects got bigger (the table) or were outside my original field of vision.
When I started drawing the lines (and as the textbook said many of them were off my page!) the shapes looked wrong… yet when I persevered and eventually coloured them in so I could see them they looked right.
I almost had to work against my own intuition!!!!
That doesn’t look right…
But it did!
Thinking about this… it would be possible to have a ‘panorama’ (or even a room) which was made up of many points of view each correct within its own field of vision. And somehow join the edges??? But you would have to ‘read’ the painting differently as at any one time only one small section would look ‘right’.
The whole drawing would capture the way we work in the real world constantly glancing around and moving our head but because the whole drawing is inside our field of vision we would intuitively expect it to be from one viewpoint – as when we view a village from the mountainside.
I’m sure some artists will have experimented with this!
Interesting… as paintings which are otherwise very visually unreal – Expressionist paintings for example (which use exaggerated colours and simplified forms) usually, as far as I can tell, still use a ‘single field of vision’ or window onto the world technique… even if what we see through the window is ’emotionally’ real rather than visually real.
Finally it occurred to me there must be a vertical vanishing point as well as a horizontal one – I guess it would be in the sky above our heads or at the centre of the earth beneath our feet?????
But for the moment I’m just going to do it by eye!