Mentors – Les Weisbrich – a lesson in perspective

I had a number of mentors during my young art days who pushed me to attain more refinement in my work than I had before.One was Les Weisbrich, a wonderful illustrator and watercolorist of the realism school. He taught me some things that still awe me and they are so simple. When he said them, I wondered why I had missed observing them on my own. For example, when things are nearer to you, they are more detailed, the colours more discernible in their nuances; when they are further away, the details blur, the colours diminish in intensity.

One example he cited was the clear blue sky. At the horizon, it was pale and hazy; looking up above, it was darker in tone, more saturated in blue. The corollary was that the top of the picture plane would be darker and fade evenly towards the horizon to provide an illusion of depth.

Les Weisbrich did paintings of stands of birch with every detail of the branches,and leaves and bark rendered with a delicacy of colour and a fidelity of form. He illustrated his observation of how distance works in an incredibly detailed painting of a bird’s nest. If you hadn’t seen him paint it, you might think that it was photographed.

He achieved the feeling of space by just this same observation, that the colour in things close to oneself is more saturated and stronger in hue; and those that are farther away are lighter, less saturated in colour. In this instance, since the subject was all so close, in the painting as it would be in real life (from one side of a bird’s nest to the other) the far side of the nest was still very detailed. There was no blurring or softening of the forms. The entire illusion of distance was established by the gentle graduation of the saturation of colour.

Les Weisbrich passed away last year. He was a dear friend and mentor, and his spirit carries on through those so fortunate to have had the gift of his time and knowledge.


4 Responses to “Mentors – Les Weisbrich – a lesson in perspective”

  1. a hrycyszyn Says:

    Every year just before the Holidays I have a charity auction that benefits 2 small charities. This year I received a wrapped picture that was labelled “L’ORAGE” – Weisbrich can you tell me if this means LES WEISBRICH

  2. lookingforbeauty Says:

    Do you have a photo of the work? I could tell by looking. There is also a web site for Les Weisbrich’s work. I’d like to ask another question – what part of the world do you live in? Is it an original or a print?

  3. I Like Les Says:

    I am trying to track down an original painting of Les’ that is a fireweed scene. I know that there are at least two fireweeed paintings, one which is a vertical orientation, the other horizontal. I am looking for the horizontal one.

  4. lookingforbeauty Says:

    Sorry, I can’t help you on that. I suggest that you look up the Les Weisbrich site. It’s managed by members of his family and they might be able to help you.

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