ATMOSPHERIC (or aerial) PERSPECTIVE
Creating the illusion of atmosphere in any painting has a very powerful effect, but it is especially true in landscape painting. Artists have been utilizing the knowledge of painting atmosphere for centuries.
What is atmospheric (or aerial) perspective? Put it simply: it is how we see objects recede into the distance, and how we perceive depth. In atmospheric perspective color hue, intensity, value, and clarityof objects are continuously changing. This is mostly due to the dust and water vapor particles in the atmosphere and how light travels through them. Receding objects also “lose” details which eventually completely disappear.
Different weather conditions can create significantly different atmospheric effects in a landscape. For example on a humid, hazy day, when we have a lot of moisture in the air, the changes in color and value are more visible even within shorter distances.
Below is an example of how a color can change, as a result of atmospheric conditions from close to far, when we look at an “open” landscape.
The painting below demonstrates how we can successfully capture aerial perspective on a canvas.
The time of the day also greatly influences these effects. Monet's haystacks are also great examples of how everything changes in the landscape in different times of the day, as well as in different weather conditions.
Painting landscape and its' multitude of different elements is a very complex subject to master, however mastering atmospheric perspective is absolutely essential for successful landscape painting. Of course, as always, the best way to learn and understand this concept is by regularly painting outdoors, in different times of the day and under a variety of weather conditions. Just like Monet, and many great artists before and after him did.
Hanson Duvall Puthuff (1875-1972) is an early California Impressionist artist who is widely admired for his skillful landscape paintings depicting the state's bucolic rolling hills and canyons and their iconic eucalyptus trees. He is also remembered for his Sierra mountain paintings and desert scenes. His works typically feature bold, loose brushstrokes and subtle lighting and atmospheric effects.
Born in Waverly, Missouri in 1875, his mother died when he was two years old. He was raised by his mother's friend, Elizabeth Stadley Puthuff, and later began using her last name.
His formal art studies were at the Art Institute of Chicago and the University of Denver Art School. Hanson Duvall Puthuff moved to the Los Angeles area in 1903 and found work as a billboard illustrator, a job he would keep for over 20 years.
Concurrently, he would sketch and paint in his free time and received two Silver medals for paintings shown at the Panama-California Exposition in 1915. In 1926 he was able to devote himself entirely to his art.
He was commissioned by the Santa Fe Railroad to create a group of paintings featuring the Grand Canyon, and these artworks were exhibited in 1927. The entire group was eventually purchased by the Fleischer Museum. Puthuff was also hired to design and create the backgrounds for exhibits at the Los Angeles County Museum of History, Science and Art, and the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial in the American Museum of History in New York.
Puthuff occasionally went on trips with fellow artist Edgar Payne, who is regarded as one of the most important Southern California Impressionists. They both particularly enjoyed painting desert scenes including works featuring Canyon de Chelly in Arizona. Hanson Puthuff also helped to found the California Art Club and the Art Students League of Los Angeles, two of the most important artists' organizations of that era. Known as a classic southern California Plein Air artist, he exhibited extensively, including shows at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the San Francisco Art Association and the Paris Salon, where he earned a bronze medal. His paintings are held in the collections of numerous important institutions, including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Fleisher Museum in Scottsdale, Arizona, and the Irvine Museum. (biography credit: Karges Fineart)