Why do some parts of this watercolor look farther away than others? The paint lies on a flat piece of paper, but our visual cortex creates depth for us, just like in the real world.

Mainly the effect comes from painting “distant” objects hazier, bluer, and grayer. I brushed more water into the background near the end of the trail in this painting. i also used a combination of opposites on the color wheel –ultramarine blue and burnt sienna (a variant of orange)–to form a grayish-blue misty look. The technique is familiarly known as aerial perspective. The figures appearing to walk “into” the painting also heightens the effect of depth. In contrast, I dry-brushed in more intense¬†darker color in the foreground to form strong contrast with the white snow which would “push forward”¬† that area.

In spite of its being Spring I find myself painting “snow pictures” in deference to Seattle’s winter-like weather. This painting will be at the Northwest Watercolor Society International Open Exhibition at Mercer View Gallery, Mercer Island Community Center, through June 1st.