Mountain Scene painted like the example in the book 50 Small Paintings, 6" x 6", acrylic on canvas
Mountain Scene painted like the example in the book, 6″ x 6″

The painting above is my 44th painting exercise from the book Learn to Paint in Acrylics with 50 Small Paintings by Mark Daniel Nelson. This lesson is about advanced landscape painting with emphasis on atmospheric perspective.  Dust particles and vapor in our atmosphere obscure details and color. The practical application is that if you want to create spacial depth, paint the things in the foreground with brighter colors and the things that are far away with softer colors and less detail.  That’s how atmospheric perspective works.

For further practice, I decided to use a picture I took at Cathedral Rock in Sedona, AZ last fall.  I have suggested distance by painting the far away rock formation blue.

Deanna Williamson, Cathedral Rock, 7" x 5", acrylic on canvas, 2016
Deanna Williamson, Cathedral Rock, 7″ x 5″, acrylic on canvas, 2016

If you look closely you will see my son standing on a ledge near the center of the painting. He was trying to find a way around to the other side of the main rock formation but the path had ended in a drop off.  He actually appears tinier and farther away in the photo but I couldn’t get him any smaller for this painting even though I used an itty bitty paint brush and a magnifying glass.  That’s one of the problems with these small paintings. Maybe I’ll revisit this scene later with a bigger canvas and try to do a better job of capturing the distance.