By skillfully placing figures throughout your landscapes, you balance the major features and emphasize the structure of your paintings, thereby heightening your sense of space. Some things to remember:
- 1. The more active the figures, and the more unexpected and dramatic their poses, the more attention they command. Be sure not to detract from your focusthe landscape.
- 2. Because our eyes are naturally drawn to figures, they tend to become focal points. Use a figure to balance a major feature in the painting, such as a large tree or looming mountain.
- 3. Your figures need to be positioned in logical locations, like roads, pathways or beaches.
- 4. Capture realistic poses. What your figures are doing should correspond to where they are.
- 5. Make sure the people are in proper scale in comparison to your landscape. Unless they are very clearly in the foreground, they should not be taller than a mountain.
Mark Gottsegen is an associate professor of art at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and chair of the American Society of Testing and Materials subcommittee on artists materials.