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An Element of Art : Space Creating an Illusion of Depth and Space in a Flat Surface.

Space is the area around above and within the objects. Feeling of space in a drawing is always an illusion.

Figure and Ground Relationship:

A figure is an element or shape placed on a canvas or other background. Ground is the space of the picture plane.

Figure-ground theory states that the space that results from placing figure should be considered as carefully as the figures themselves. (See figure-ground relationship)

The space is called negative space if it is unshaped after the placement of figures. It is a positive space if it has a shape.

A: 3 figures arranged randomly with negative space resulting.

B: 3 figures arranged to create a positive space. ( triangle)

C: The same 3 figures arranged to create a positive space. (the letter A)

There are main three types of figure-ground relationships:
 Stable, reversible, ambiguous.

  • Stable It’s clear what’s figure and what’s ground. One or the other usually dominates the composition.

  • Reversible Both figure and ground attract the viewer’s attention equally. This creates tension, whereby either can overtake the other, leading to a dynamic design.

  • Ambiguous Elements can appear to be both figure and ground simultaneously. They form equally interesting shapes, and the viewer is left to find their own entry point into the composition.

Depending on which relationship you set up and how you balance both figure and ground, you direct the audience to look at different parts of the design and interpret what they see in different contexts.

Creating an Illusion of Space in a Flat Surfaces: There are several ways to make our three-dimensional drawings and give them a illusion of depth and space. 1. Overlapping: Overlapping occurs when a figure partially hides an object that's behind it. When you have one object that is closer than another object you can not see part of the object because there is overlapping that occurs.

Also, bear in mind "rule of third" suggests that the best place to put the subject of an image isn't in the centre, but slightly off to the side. The result is naturally well-balanced and look interesing.

2. Value and Colour : Value and Colour are different things. Value is the darkness or lightness of a colour and colour is reflected light but value in colour can affect the illusion of space, light and shadow create the illusion of form and space as well. Objects are closer appear darker in value and warmer in colour. And objects are further away generally appear lighter in value and cooler in colour.

Have a look at the different shades of green trees and the cold and warms shades of sky create an illusion of space with in the picture.

3. Placement on the paper: Elements placed on the top of the picture are appear to be in the distance. The Mountains on the top of the picture creates an illusion of space.When you put objects that are lower on the picture plane than objects that are higher in the picture plane generally speaking it creates an illusion of their being space between those objects.

4. Size: The smaller objects will appear to be further away from the viewer. We have an object that closer to us will be bigger than an object a little but further away. It also has more in detail than objects further away.

The main subject of your painting should be its focal point. Because of this make sure it is magnified and focused. In other words, emphasise your main subject like the tree in front.

5. Volume and focus: Lighter values and less details suggest distant objects. Lighter values and less detail suggest distance; Look at the mountains in the horizon as they have a lighter tones and values and less clear to see.

One of the easiest way to add composition to a landscape is by adding nature. Think mountains, earth, plants, trees, hills and etc.

Therefore, please remember the following;

  1. Perception of details and clarity decrease as things go back into space.

  2. Objects that are further away are cooler in colour temperature, while objects that are closer are warmer. Colour seems to become less intense as it gets further away.

6. Linear Perspective. Parallel lines and edges seem to go toward one more vanishing points. Linear perspective is a drawing method that uses lines to create the illusion of space on a flat surface. Things appear to get smaller as they go back into space.

Repeating objects are a great way to get your point across. Use it to create a one or two vanishing points. Think of a row of trees, apartments, building's windows etc.

Light and Shade:

Exercise 1: Draw an egg with chalk on a on a black /while paper to create light and shades from your observation and use a full range of colour value.