Mike Hyrman Creating an Illusion of Depth


Detail of “Misty Morning Communion”, Golden Open Acrylic on canvas.


The focus of this class will be making the vertical surface of your canvas read as a horizontal surface.  Using a process Mike calls “in-front-of-ness” and standard tricks such converging lines and atmospheric effects, Mike will show how he creates depth in a painting.

Hundreds of Mike’s photos from Northern Michigan can be chosen to use as reference or, with advance permission, you can use your own reference.



Please read the TermsOfUsage document.

My goal in the class is for you to impress yourself. I would like to teach you everything you need to know to create more paintings when you leave the class.




"Helen’s England: Dog Walker” 12 x 16, acrylic


Other topics covered will include:

  • Compositions that work and things to avoid

  • Steering the eyes around your painting

  • Looking closer to find dramatic paintings

  • Getting the desired color every time

  • Tricks to creating the illusion of depth using “In-front-of-ness”

  • Seeing the grain

  • Line and value first, then color

  • The importance of relative temperature

  • Creating consistency across the painting

  • Using a range of values

  • A 3 brush technique

  • Making decisions by:

    • Stepping back frequently

    • Using a mirror

    • Viewing in dim light

    • Using acrylic markers

  • An acrylic method that uses professional quality paints that remain workable for weeks and won’t ruin your brushes

  • Humidity control with sponge strips

  • Using technology (laptops or tablets, digital cameras, cell phones, Dropbox, OneDrive projectors, etc.) as tools

  • Salvaging old watercolors with acrylic












“Snowy Fence” Acrylic 11 x 14

Things to bring to class:   (These are helpful, but not required)

  • It is highly recommended that you bring a laptop or tablet, preferably with a USB port.  I’ve also seen people use their Smart Phones

  • A desk lamp

  • A spritzer (spray bottle)

We will also schedule an optional visit to my local studio after class one night.